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Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

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Welcome to the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts competitions!

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts ("the Isabel") is a home for the creative arts at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a hub of vibrant artistic study, creation, and exhibition in our community. The venue houses the Queen's Department of Film and Media and the DAN School of Drama and Music, as well as the Isabel's presentation season, which brings some of the most exciting and acclaimed musicians to its 567-seat concert hall. In addition to live performances, the Isabel's team is expert in the high-fidelity, multi-platform delivery of the arts and does so on the Isabel Digital Concert Hall and on collaborators' sites. The Isabel also runs the IMAGINE Isabel Arts Incubator to foster new creations and multi-disciplinary works and national music competitions. The Isabel embraces equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization, and presents diverse artists and art forms, the Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, and the Ka'tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts. Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, the Isabel brings together world-class arts spaces and programs with a captivating sense of place, creating a dynamic venue for our students and community to learn, discover, think, do, and experience together.  

The Isabel develops the next generation of remarkable talent through its Bader and Overton Canadian music competitions (violin - 2017, cello - 2020, and piano - 2023), the local YGK Emerging Musician Competition, and the co-creation of the M.A. in Arts Leadership program with the DAN School of Drama and Music to train Canada's emerging arts leaders. 

Opened in September 2014, the Isabel was designed by Oslo/New York-based firm Snøhetta and Ottawa’s N45, with acoustics and theatre design by ARUP and Theatre Projects Consultants. Anchored by a transformational gift to the Initiative Campaign from Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader, the Isabel was inspired by the Bader’s love – of the arts, of Queen’s, and of each other – and is named in Isabel’s honour.  The Isabel's Hamburg Steinway piano was donated by Joan Tobin, its Yves Beaupre harpsichord by Moira Hudgin, in addition to the capital campaign donation of the New York Steinway piano.

For a virtual tour of the Isabel, click here:

IMAGINE Arts Incubator 2023/24
- Applications Close: Thursday, August 31, 2023 at 11:59pm


Bader and Overton Canadian Piano Competition
(2023 First Prize Winner: Jonathan Mak

IMAGINE Project Creation program 2022

IMAGINE Project Creation program 2021

Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition (2020 First Prize Winner: Bryan Cheng

YGK Emerging Musician Competition (2019 winners: Sadaf Amini: World music, Iranian classical music, santur (instrument), Julia Finnegan: Indie-folk, Michelle Kasaboski: Jazz, adult contemporary, traditional pop, easy listening, Alex Mundy: Folk/pop, piano, voice, guitar, Savannah and Michael: Folk, jazz, blues duo (Savannah Shea: Guitar, vocals; Michael Broadhead: Bass), Abby Stewart: Country

Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition (2017 First Prize Winner: Yolanda Bruno)

For guidelines and requirement questions please email

For technical questions, please check out our Help Desk for frequently asked questions.
Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing ArtsQueen’s University390 King Street West, Room 123Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6

Isabel Digital Concert Hall - Live Stream and Concert Videos (