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Yukon 125 Prize recipients unveiled

Projects will be done throughout 2024
Matthew Lien performs in 2023. Lien is one of three recipients of the 125 Prize. (Mike Thomas/Yukon Arts Centre)

The Yukon government unveiled the three recipients of the 125 Prize at the Whitehorse Visitor Information Centre on Feb. 5.

The three projects will share a combined $250,000 in prize money for their projects that celebrate the Yukon, it was noted in a Yukon government statement.

Matthew Lien will receive the largest amount of prize money at $125,000 for his project The Kluane Compositions, with Tedd Tucker and Amy Kenny (who is a reporter with the News) to receive $79,305 for It’s Weird Up Here, and John Serjeantson to receive $18,903 for Yukon Alpine Climbing — First Ascent.

It’s noted that Lien’s project will be a “hybrid, three-movement music composition featuring Southern Tutchone Indigenous, MOR and classical music styles.”

Plans include helicoptering in a grand piano to Kluane National Park to be part of the 10-minute music video that’s part of the project.

“Forty years ago, I had this idea to compose a song about Kluane National Park and airlift a grand piano into the Park for a music video,” Lien said in the statement.

“I never accomplished the project, but the idea remained and grew over the decades to include Diyet, who profoundly represents the Park’s incredible Indigenous culture, and to expand the music into three movements representing the Park’s distinct ecosystems. It’s unbelievable and yet somehow fateful, to have this opportunity to celebrate the Yukon’s most majestic wilderness with Diyet and together create an epic production.”

In describing It’s Weird Up Here, the statement notes, “Through archival deep-dives, micro-film hunts, museum visits and interviews with seasoned Yukoners, stories will be shared that may not have made front-page news, but should have. Think of the project as a yearbook Frankensteined together with a Pierre Berton anthology.”

Finally the climbing project will see a team attempt to perform the first ascent of the Radelet Arete alpine rock route in the southern Yukon.

Projects are set to take place throughout 2024 with recipients sharing their progress on social media.

“The prize’s aim is to inspire the next generation of Yukoners to be bold and creative and to entice others to experience the magic of this place,” it’s noted.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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