The recipients are Airat Ichmouratov, national and international category,and Lenine Nankassa Boucal, regional category

As part of the Semaine québécoise des rencontres interculturelles (SQRI), the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) and Culture pour tous have released the names of the 2020 Charles Biddle Award recipients. This honour highlights the contributions of immigrants to Quebec whose personal and professional commitment contributes to the province’s cultural and artistic development. 

This year, composer and orchestra conductor Airat Ichmouratov received the award in the national and international category, and cultural worker and social entrepreneur Lenine Nankassa Boucal received the award in the regional category. Both will receive a cash award of $5,000. Télé‑Québec’s La Fabrique culturelle has also produced a video vignette about each of them.

“Presented for the 11th consecutive year, the Charles Biddle Award highlights the outstanding career paths of artists who chose Quebec as their new home. They make a valuable contribution to our cultural development, and Mr. Ichmouratov and Mr. Nankassa Boucal are perfect examples of that. Congratulations to the award recipients and our thanks to our steadfast partners Culture pour tous and Télé-Québec’s La Fabrique culturelle.”

Nadine Girault, Quebec’s Minister of International Relations and the Francophonie and Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration 

“Despite the difficult time we are going through, we could not help but notice the quality and diversity of this year’s nominees for the Charles Biddle Award. I am tremendously pleased today to reward the talent and engagement of Airat Ichmouratov and Lenine Nankassa Boucal, two outstanding individuals who are truly an inspiration for both their community and the entire cultural community!”

Louise Sicuro, C.M., C.Q., Chief Executive Officer, Culture pour tous

Award recipient in the national and international category Airat Ichmouratov | Composer and Orchestra Conductor – Montérégie (Longueuil)

Airat Ichmouratov emigrated from Russia in 1998, and is the conductor and composer in residence of the Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil. He completed a PhD in orchestral direction at the Université de Montréal in 2004, followed by a Master’s degree in composition in 2017. In addition to having his compositions performed by a wide range of ensembles and musicians around the world and here in Quebec, particularly by the Orchestre Métropolitain, under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, his music has been recorded over the years under the Chandos, Warner Classics, Hedone Records, ATMA and Analekta labels. Twenty years ago, Mr. Ichmouratov founded the Kleztory klezmer group, which he continues to direct.
Award recipient in the regional category Lenine Nankassa Boucal | Social Entrepreneur and Cultural Worker – Bas-Saint-Laurent (Rimouski)

Originally from Senegal, Lenine Nankassa Boucal has been living in Quebec for more than 10 years. A social entrepreneur who promotes community harmony, he has initiated a number of inclusive professional cultural projects in Rimouski and the Bas-Saint-Laurent Region to increase cultural vitality, particularly with respect to diversity, intercultural rapprochement and promotion of immigration to the regions. In particular, Nankassa Boucal is the founder and coordinator of the Cabaret de la diversité, and the initiator of Black History Month in the Bas-Saint-Laurent Region.

To obtain additional information about the Charles Biddle Award and its finalists, go to the Culture pour tous Facebook page or the website of Quebec’s Department of Immigration, Francization and Integration.