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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

News: Governor General's Laureates announced

Winners of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards and special prizes include, this year: Stratford Artistic Director Des McAnuff, actor Mary Walsh and director Denis Marleau.


Press release:



NEWS RELEASE
LAUREATES OF THE 2012
GOVERNOR GENERAL’S PERFORMING ARTS AWARDS
ANNOUNCED
Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards
for Lifetime Artistic Achievement
Janina Fialkowska, Paul‑André Fortier, Denis Marleau,
Deepa Mehta
, Rush and Mary Walsh
Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts
Earlaine Collins
National Arts Centre Award
Des McAnuff

CALGARY, March 6, 2012Janina Fialkowska, Paul‑André Fortier, Denis Marleau, Deepa Mehta, Rush and Mary Walshhave been named the 2012 laureates of the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.These individuals are being honoured for their outstanding body of work and enduring contribution to the performing arts in Canada.

The Lifetime Artistic Achievement Awards are accompanied by two special awards that recognize individuals taking the performing arts in inspiring new directions. The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts is given this year to Earlaine Collins, and Des McAnuff will receive the National Arts Centre Award.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. Created in 1992 under the distinguished patronage of the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, these prestigious awards are presented annually to Canadians whose accomplishments have inspired and enriched the cultural life of our country. The Awards are regarded as the ultimate recognition in Canada’s performing arts.

“Through their achievements and dedication to theatre, dance, film, broadcasting and music, the past and present recipients of these awards have engaged and inspired audiences in Canada and around the world,” said His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. “This 20th anniversary of the Performing Arts Awards will provide us with an opportunity to recognize the achievements of our leading artists, and to thank and congratulate all who support them and these awards.”

The six laureates of the 2012 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are:
·         Janina Fialkowska (Concert pianist): For more than 35 years, concert pianist Janina Fialkowska has enchanted audiences and critics around the world with her lyrical interpretations of the classical and romantic repertoire, particularly Chopin, Mozart and Liszt. She has appeared as a guest soloist with prestigious international ensembles, and her discography includes several JUNO-nominated recordings. As the founder of the Piano Six music outreach program, she has championed works by Canadian composers and brought the joy of live classical music to thousands of Canadians living in remote communities.

·         Paul-André Fortier (Dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director): Dancer and choreographer Paul‑André Fortier is internationally renowned for dance that is marked by innovation, renewal, and a desire to defy convention. In a career spanning three decades, he has created 49 original works, given more than 750 performances in a dozen countries, and received numerous awards. Constantly challenging himself to meet the highest artistic standards, Mr. Fortier has dedicated his professional life to contemporary dance at an unparalleled level of excellence, and has inspired an entire generation of choreographers. Humbly describing himself as “a man who dances,” he continues to perform all over the world, creating works for his own company and other ensembles and artists in Canada and abroad.

·         Denis Marleau (Theatre director, stage designer and artistic director): A major figure in Quebec theatre, Denis Marleau is a director, production designer, adaptor, and creator of stage installations whose reputation extends far beyond Canada’s borders. His artistic approach is distinguished by his challenging literary choices, meticulous direction, and innovative use of audio and video technology. Drawing freely from visual arts and literature, his productions also propose an investigation of language and the limits of stage performance. He is regularly featured at Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques and at prestigious festivals around the world, including the Avignon Festival. In 2011, he became the first Canadian invited to direct a play at the Comédie-Française in Paris.

·         Deepa Mehta (Film director and screenwriter): Award-winning director and screenwriter Deepa Mehta is one of Canada’s most influential and respected filmmakers. She has been described as a “transnational” artist, able to tell universally meaningful stories from a uniquely Canadian point of view. In a career spanning more than 30 years, she has consistently broken new ground, tackling such controversial issues as intolerance, cultural discrimination and domestic violence. Best known for her elemental trilogy (Fire, Earth, and Water), she is an artist of uncompromising integrity whose exceptional creative achievement is matched by her contribution to human rights and social issues and her advocacy for diversity within Canada and around the world.

·         Rush (Rock band): Canadian power trio Rush is one of rock music’s most influential and highly regarded bands, ranking third in the world (after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones) for most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band. They have released 39 albums and over 70 singles, sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, and garnered 24 gold and 14 platinum records. Their benefit performances have raised more than $1 million for Canadian charities. Few groups in the history of popular music can approach Rush for longevity, creativity, body of work, and dedication to their art. Nearly 40 years after their arrival on the scene, they maintain a busy touring and recording schedule, to the delight of their loyal fans around the world.

·         Mary Walsh (Writer, comedian, director and political satirist): Mary Walsh has made an unparalleled contribution to broadcasting in Canada as a writer, performer, director, comedian, and political satirist. She is best known for her work on the hit CBC TV comedy series This Hour Has 22 Minutes (which she created), portraying such memorable characters as Dakey Dunn, Connie Bloor, and the legendary “Princess Warrior” Marg Delahunty, notorious for her ambush interviews with Canadian public figures. In a career spanning close to 40 years, Ms. Walsh has deftly lampooned our national icons and raised our political awareness, and her work has garnered numerous awards.

Each laureate will receive a cash award of $25,000 contributed by the Canada Council for the Arts and a commemorative medallion struck by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Earlaine Collins is this year’s recipient of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts. A supporter of the performing arts in Canada for more than 45 years, Mrs. Collins has donated time, talent and capital to leading cultural organizations, notably the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Calgary Philharmonic. She has provided personal and financial support to numerous emerging Canadian artists. Mrs. Collins is a passionate ambassador for the performing arts, and her vision, determination and generosity have served as an inspiration to volunteers and artists alike. Mrs. Collins will receive a specially commissioned work by Canadian glass artist Naoko Takenouchi of Vancouver, British Columbia, and a commemorative medallion struck by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Des McAnuff is this year’s recipient of the National Arts Centre Award, presented for exceptional achievement over the past performance year. A Tony, Olivier and Dora Award-winning director, writer and composer, Mr. McAnuff is the artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. His acclaimed production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, presented at Stratford in summer 2011, also garnered rave reviews at La Jolla Playhouse in California and opened on Broadway in March 2012. In addition to a commemorative medallion struck by the Royal Canadian Mint and a cash award of $25,000 contributed by the National Arts Centre, Mr. McAnuff will receive an original work created by ceramic artist Paula Murray of Chelsea, Quebec.

In addition to honouring the 2012 laureates, the Awards feature a unique Mentorship Program, a partnership inaugurated in 2008 between the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation (GGPAAF) and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Designed to unite past Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award recipients and talented mid-career artists, the program serves as a creative catalyst and as an investment in future Canadian artistic achievement. This program, made possible with support from The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, is a unique opportunity for the potential laureates of tomorrow to benefit from the creativity and experience of icons who have blazed the trail before them. Details of this year’s Mentorship Program will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 2012 laureates will be honoured at various events in Ottawa from May 3 to 5. On May 3, the recipients will be introduced in the House of Commons, and will then attend a Parliamentary reception. On May 4, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the Awards at a special ceremony and reception at Rideau Hall. On May 5, the National Arts Centre will host a sparkling Gala to celebrate the 2012 recipients, a star-studded celebration featuring superb performances, evocative film portraits, and personal tributes by guest stars.

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), an important creative concept partner of the Gala since 2008, will once again produce eight unforgettable short films to celebrate the lives of the 2012 recipients, which will be screened at the May 5 Gala. The NFB brings together some of Canada’s most talented documentary filmmakers for this project to create signature films that capture the essence of each Award laureate. These films will also be available free of charge at the NFB’s Online Screening Room at www.NFB.ca and through the NFB’s iPhone and iPad apps, starting May 5 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The Awards continue to benefit from the significant partnership established in 2007 with Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC). Dedicated to achieving the highest presence for the Awards, the NAC is responsible for the production of the annual Gala performance as well as the event’s fundraising and marketing activities. The NAC’s in-house expertise significantly enhances the profile of the Awards and their distinguished recipients.

The National Arts Centre is proud to produce the 2012 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala in partnership with theGovernor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation and the National Film Board of Canada. The Awards are presented with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The GGPAAF gratefully acknowledges Enbridge as Presenting Sponsor of the GGPAA Gala. “At Enbridge, we have long invested in artists and arts organizations across Canada,” said D’Arcy Levesque, Vice-President, Public and Government Affairs. “As Presenting Sponsor of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala, we are especially pleased to play a leading role in celebrating the incredible artists who inspire, challenge and define us as Canadians. What better occasion than the Awards’ 20th anniversary to announce that we will continue our partnership for the next three years? As always, our support is firmly rooted in our belief that arts and culture are critical to the health and vitality of communities across Canada, making them better places to live.”

“Our partnership with Enbridge is an outstanding example of good corporate citizenship,” said Jayne Watson, CEO of the National Arts Centre Foundation. “We have had the privilege of working with Enbridge over the last decade as an important corporate partner on many initiatives that support and celebrate the performing arts, including the GGPAA Gala. Since coming on board as Presenting Sponsor in 2010, Enbridge has helped to elevate the profile of this national celebration, building on the company’s many years of investment in Canadian artists from coast to coast and solidifying its position as a leading supporter of arts and culture in Canada.”

The GGPAA Gala is made possible in part by its many sponsors. In particular, the National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank Associate Sponsors McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd. for their support of the Inspiration Seats youth section andManulife Financial for its support as our Dinner Sponsor. This year’s Mentorship Program is supported by The Keg Steakhouse & Bar. National Partners are Desjardins Group, Onex Corporation, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Weber Shandwick Worldwide, and The Printing House is our official Print Sponsor. The GGPAAF also acknowledges the significant contributions of Regional Partners Cenovus Energy Inc., Cineplex Media, Cisco Systems Canada Inc., Dundee Realty Management Corp.,Invesco, Kinnear Financial, Mastercard Canada Inc., MTS Allstream, Penn West Exploration,Rogers Communications Inc., The Alvin Segal Family Foundation, Shangri‑La Hotels, and VIA Rail Canada. Impresario Partners include Accenture Canada, Acciona, Aecon Group Inc., Aimia, The Banff Centre, Cement Association of Canada,KPMG LLP, Mark Motors of Ottawa Ltd., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Trinity Development Group Inc. Additional in-kind support for the Awards is received from Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, technology partner IBM,Llama Communications, media partners National Post and The Ottawa Citizen, and The Royal Canadian Mint. Grateful thanks also go to the GGPAA Gala’s National Committee of volunteers, led by Honorary Chair The Hon. Hilary M. Weston, CM, OOnt, of Toronto; Co-Chairs Susan Glass, CM, and Arni Thorsteinson of Winnipeg; Past Chairs M. Ann McCaig, CM, AOE, LLD, and James S. Kinnear of Calgary; and all the individuals and families whose philanthropic support helps make these Awards possible.

Tickets for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala on Saturday, May 5, 2012 go on sale to the general public on March 6, 2012 at the NAC Box Office and through Ticketmaster, 1-888-991-2787 or www.ticketmaster.ca.

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