Each year as part of our mission to nurture local talent, we bring remarkable young musicians to our audience in High River. In 2025, this tradition continues as we present two incredible emerging artists, cellist Sofia Fakeley and pianist Charlotte Giraudeau.

High River Gift of Music is pleased to play even a small role in helping to launch the exceptional talents of our Young Musicians Extraordinaire.  

 

Charlotte Giraudeau

piano

Charlotte Girardeau, piano | High River Gift of Music 2024-25 Young Musicians Extraordinaire
This high school student has assembled a list of accomplishments that musicians twice her age would envy. At age nine, Charlotte was the youngest student to be admitted into the Academy Program for Gifted Young Artists at Mount Royal University. In addition to studying piano, Charlotte plays the flute and enjoys performing in chamber groups. She is bright in mathematics, placing in the top percentiles in many of the CEMC Waterloo math competitions and receiving a bronze medal for the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (2020).

Charlotte is the organizer of the Capriccio International Young Artists Society and an active member of the Back to Bach Foundation. When she’s not making music, Charlotte enjoys downhill skiing, cycling in Calgary, and learning new languages.

Accomplishments
  • First Prize at the Franz Liszt Center Piano Competition and the Beecham International Piano Competition, and Overall Winner at the Steinway Piano Competition Canada (2023)
  • Young Soloist Award and Absolute First Prize at the Franz Liszt Centre International Piano Competition and the San Francisco Articiál International Piano Competition (2022)
  • First Place/Special Prize, 14th International Vladimir Krainev Young Pianists Competition, Romantic selection (2021)
  • Gold Award, Steinway Canada Young Artist Virtual Piano Competition (2020 and 2021)
  • First Prize at the Melbourne International Piano and Strings Festival Competition, and the Piano Talents Virtual Competition in Milan, Italy (2020)
  • First Prize, Singapore International Classical Piano Competition, the International Piano Island Festival Competition, and the 21e Concours International de Piano Ile-de-France Maisons-Laffitte in Paris, Superior Category (2019)
  • Gold Award Singapore Performers Festival & Chamber Music Competition (2018), recipient of the Ann Southam Senior National Award in Canada, and winner of the National Mary Gardiner Award (2017)

Charlotte’s instructors have included Marilyn Engle of the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary, Bernd Goetzke of the Hanover University of Music and Drama, Krzysztof Jablonski, laureate of the 11th Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Professor Albert Tiu of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (Singapore), and her very first piano professor, Kathy Dornian of Mount Royal University (Calgary). She has participated in private lessons and masterclasses with Arie Vardi, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and Wha Kyung Byun.

Sofia Fakeley

cello

Sofia Fakely, cello

Canadian cellist Sofia Fakeley began her studies at the tender age of three, and began performing at age five. She is a student in the Advanced Performance Program at Mount Royal University Conservatory, and performs regularly for guest artists. Sofia enjoys making music with a wonderful collaborative pianist and other gifted students in her chamber groups. She has also studied voice and piano.

Sofia dedicates many hours to volunteering and performing at churches, hospitals, and senior centres across Alberta. She was part of a youth orchestra since the age of six and played at many fundraising events to raise money for various projects in Kenya and Mawanza.

When not making music Sofia enjoys hiking, running the occasional 10 km (when she can be persuaded to do so), fleeing to the mountains at any minor convenience, meeting other people’s dogs, and spending time with her sisters.

Accomplishments
  • Winner of the Young Artists Scholarship Award and the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition class (2023)
  • Soloist with both the Burman University Chamber Orchestra and the Calgary Civic Symphony (2023)
  • Frequently recommended to compete in the Provincial Festival
  • Appears regularly at the Canadian Music Competition

Sofia currently studies with renowned cellists and pedagogues John Kadz and Johanne Perron in Calgary, Alberta.