Sarah Kirsch

Soprano Sarah Kirsch won the 2014 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition in Brandon. (Leif Norman)

Her award winning voice got her to Brandon. Now it will take her to Italy and across Canada.

That's because soprano Sarah Kirsch won first prize at the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition in Brandon. 

Kirsch moved to Winnipeg six years ago for love. She stayed and says now music is the love of her life.

She was in Brandon this past weekend along with seven other semi-finalists, as one of Canada’s best emerging singers competing for the title at the Eckhardt-Gramatté​ National Music Competition.

The competition is named after composer and violinist Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté.

After the final round, Sarah Kirsch was named the first place winner. She says it was humbling to come out on top.

"There were such incredible singers and musicians there," she said. "The performances were absolutely stunning. It was an exceptional year. We had a wonderful time and made a great group of new friends."

The E-Gré as it has come to be called is known for being a friendly, supportive competition. This adds to the overall positive experience for all the competitors, no matter what the outcome.

The prize package is significant. Kirsch takes home a $10,000 prize. In July she and her accompanist Christopher Kayler will attend a three-week residency in Italy at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival. Then in November they embark on a 10 - 15 city cross-Canada tour.

Kirsch says she started off as a pianist. 

"It was an injury related to piano that allowed me to take voice lessons," she admitted. "I have become a new music singer and Winnipeg has fostered me in that direction. My teacher Mel Braun has guided me along the way and there is just so much wonderful music happening here."

Kirsch says her ultimate dream is to sing and not have to worry about paying the bills.