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The Paul Cram Creation Award

The Upstream Music Association is honoured to create the Paul Cram Creation Award. With this initiative, Upstream sustains the memory of Paul Cram and his seminal work in developing Upstream’s activities in Halifax and furthering the performance of the music he loved.

By encouraging new compositions, we are confident that the legacy of Paul’s unique contribution, his boundless energy and his infectious enthusiasm for the genre will not be forgotten. Upstream has created an annual award that supports a composition to be performed by the Upstream Ensemble and orchestral musicians. The selection of a successful composer takes place on an annual basis and is curated by the artistic director of Upstream under the oversight of the Upstream Board of Directors.

Explore Paul's music at the Canadian Music Centre. Past winners of the Paul Cram Creation Award include James Shaw (2024) India Gailey (2023), Behrooz Mihankhah (2022), Samantha Wilson (2021), Andrew MacKelvie (2020)

Donations by cheque gratefully received at Upstream Music Association (Paul Cram Creation Award)
PO Box 36040, Halifax, NS, B3J 3S9.

Donate to the award

About Paul Cram

Paul Cram was an artistic visionary and dedicated explorer of music beyond boundaries. Inspired by jazz, classical and world music traditions, especially the potentials of “Third-Stream” composition uniting the powers of composers and performers, he envisioned a culture that celebrated and was transformed by new music. Always curious about untapped potential, he formed many ensembles with a range of artists who would otherwise likely never have co-created together, often taking chances on emerging musicians and pairing them with celebrated professionals. When encouraging performers to try their hand at composing or improvising, he would often say:
“Come on in, the water’s fine…”

Paul Cram was Artistic Director and member of the Upstream Music Association since 1990. A composer and musician, Paul was born in Victoria, B.C. and grew up in Vancouver  playing saxophone and clarinet professionally before earning a Bachelor of Music from the University of British Columbia. Paul toured Canada extensively and co-founded several cutting-edge orchestras including the New Orchestra Workshop in Vancouver, Hemispheres in Toronto and Upstream in Halifax. The Globe and Mail music critic Mark Miller described Paul as “one of the rare musicians around whom ‘scenes’ seem to coalesce—his contribution as a leader, saxophonist and composer to creative music across Canada is immeasurable.” In 1990, Paul settled on the East Coast with his wife Mary Vingoe where he co-founded Upstream Music Association, dedicated  to new and improvised music. A prolific composer, he led ensembles and the Paul Cram Orchestra to festivals across Canada and abroad. Paul also wrote for television, film, theatre and dance. In addition to winning the prestigious FIPA D’OR (France)  for his work in film, (One Heart Broken Into Song) and several nominations and a Merritt award (Refuge) for his theatre work, he was nominated many times for Juno and National Jazz Awards. His recordings include Blue Tales in Time, Beyond Benghazi, Campin Out and Live in Lisbon.

Donors to Paul Cram Creation Award since 2018

$1000.00 +
Oceans of support from:
Tim Brady, Carol Cram, Ruby Cram, Linda Hodgins, Laura Hoffman, Susan Hunter, Stephen Osler, Mary Vingoe

$100 +
Rivers of support from:
Bob Bauer, Marilynne Bell, Jerome Blais, Tom Donovan and Elizabeth Beale, Lyle Ellis, Chris Elson, Mary Evans, Peter Guildford, Karen Janigan, Langley Leblanc Medical Services, Wendy Lill, Mark Miller, Steven Naylor, Karen Nieuwland, Rebekah Powell, Gay Osler, Lukas Pearse, Norma Smith, Dave Staples, John and Lois Thompson, Ian Vingoe, Carol Ann Wien

$25 +
Tributaries of support from:
David Aaron, Anonymous, Gina Brown, Brian Bartlett, Roberta Carter, Stephen Cooke, Kay Crinean, Michael Fuller, Geordie Haley, Jay Heisler, Steven Jamieson, David MacDonald, Christopher Morel, Lelland Reed, Jeff Reilly, Sarah Wakely