Recipients of the 2008 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards announced



    
                  Governor General's Performing Arts Awards
                  -----------------------------------------
                      for Lifetime Artistic Achievement
                      ---------------------------------

          Anton Kuerti, Eugene Levy, Brian Macdonald, John Murrell,
                     Alanis Obomsawin and Michel Pagliaro

      Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts
      -----------------------------------------------------------------

                                 Eric Charman

                         National Arts Centre Award
                         --------------------------

                             The Tragically Hip
    

    MONTREAL, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Anton Kuerti, Eugene Levy, Brian
Macdonald, John Murrell, Alanis Obomsawin and Michel Pagliaro have been named
the 2008 recipients of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards (GGPAA)
for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the most illustrious artistic honour
conferred upon Canada's performing artists. These individuals join an esteemed
group of Canadians in the performing arts who have devoted their lives to
enriching the cultural life of Canada.
    The Awards will be presented at Rideau Hall on May 2, 2008 by Governor
General Michaelle Jean. "It takes years of training and determination for
artists to master their craft and achieve excellence. Let us honour those who
tread the boards and share, beyond the footlights, their passion for life and
their desire to explore and celebrate every aspect of it," said Her Excellency
the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada.

    
    This year's recipients of the six Governor General's Performing Arts
Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are:

    - Anton Kuerti: One of the truly great pianists of our time, Anton Kuerti
      has performed in recital and with leading orchestras and conductors
      across Canada and in nearly 40 other countries. His vast repertoire
      includes some 50 piano concertos; he has recorded all the Beethoven
      concertos and sonatas and all the Schubert sonatas. He has brought
      great music to Canadians in 140 communities large and small, and has
      given benefit performances for numerous charitable organizations,
      including OXFAM, SOS Children's Villages, and WaterCan.
    - Eugene Levy: Award-winning writer, performer, director, and alumnus of
      the acclaimed Second City Theatre comedy troupe, Eugene Levy is one of
      Canada's brightest comedic lights. He is a brilliant practitioner of
      the kind of topical sketch comedy that has become a trademark of
      Canadian television, and his unforgettable film roles have cemented his
      reputation as a quintessential comedic actor. Despite his international
      success, Mr. Levy has chosen to remain in Canada, where he acts as a
      role model to young people aspiring to a career in broadcasting.
    - Brian Macdonald: Demanding in his professionalism, courageous in his
      vision, and generous in his teaching, Brian Macdonald is one of
      Canada's most prolific and acclaimed directors and choreographers. He
      has passionately supported Canadian performers and creators throughout
      his brilliant 50-year career as a dancer and choreographer, director
      and artistic director, and mentor and educator, and has played a key
      role in securing Canada's place on the international stage. His
      choreographic range extends from jazzy show dancing to lively folk-
      based works to abstract neo- classical ballets set to challenging
      contemporary scores.
    - John Murrell: John Murrell is one of Canada's most distinguished and
      frequently produced playwrights, and a highly regarded arts advocate,
      mentor and consultant. His plays have been translated into 15 languages
      and performed in more than 30 countries. He is a passionate
      spokesperson for the arts in Canada and around the world, and his name
      has become synonymous with artistic integrity and excellence. His plays
      include Memoir, Waiting for the Parade, Farther West, New World,
      October, Democracy, and The Faraway Nearby.
    - Alanis Obomsawin: A member of the Abenaki Nation, Ms Obomsawin is one
      of Canada's most distinguished documentary filmmakers, a passionate
      advocate for education and social justice, and a proud defender of
      Aboriginal culture. As a writer, director and producer she has made
      more than 30 documentaries on issues affecting Aboriginal people in
      Canada. In 1967 she began her long affiliation with the National Film
      Board of Canada, and wrote and directed her first film in 1971. Her
      credits include Gene Boy Came Home (2007), Waban-Aki: People from Where
      the Sun Rises (2006) and Is the Crown at War with Us?
    - Michel Pagliaro: Quebec's first true rock star, Michel Pagliaro is the
      first Canadian artist to receive gold records in both official
      languages. In a career spanning over 40 years he has written, performed
      and recorded a host of enduring pop classics in both French and
      English, from lush romantic ballads to hard-driving rock 'n' roll
      anthems to gritty blues numbers. He is a key figure in the evolution of
      pop music in Canada, and his phenomenal talent has influenced an entire
      generation of artists and audiences.
    

    Each recipient will receive a cash award of $25,000 and a commemorative
medallion struck by the Royal Canadian Mint.
    Eric Charman is this year's recipient of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award
for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts. Mr. Charman has liberally donated his
time, expertise and financial support to numerous cultural and community
organizations in Victoria. He 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.
    The Tragically Hip is this year's recipient of the National Arts Centre
(NAC) Award presented for exceptional achievement over the past performance
year. Formed in 1983, the Hip has sold millions of records worldwide, managing
to enjoy both mass popularity and critical acclaim. In addition to a
commemorative medallion struck by the Royal Canadian Mint and a cash award of
$25,000, the band members will receive a piece of artwork designed by Paula
Murray.
    In addition to honouring the 2008 recipients, this year's Governor
General's Performing Arts Awards will see the launch of a new Mentorship
Programme. Designed to bring together 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. Each
year, a previous Award laureate will be invited to mentor a mid-career
professional artist. In 2008, this new "artist-to-artist" program will focus
on dance. Veronica Tennant, the legendary prima ballerina and filmmaker, will
be the featured Award laureate (2004). She has selected Crystal Pite, a
dynamic young dancer/choreographer with an explosive international career, to
showcase a solo work at the Awards Gala Performance on May 3. This program
will be 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.
    The 2008 recipients will be honoured at a variety of events in Ottawa
from May 1 to 3. On May 1, recipients will be introduced in the House of
Commons followed by a Parliamentary Reception. On May 2 at Rideau Hall, Her
Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada
will present the awards to each recipient at a special ceremony and dinner. On
May 3, a Gala performance will be held at the National Arts Centre in honour
of the recipients. The National Film Board of Canada, which is an exciting new
creative concept partner for the Gala, is bringing together some of the
country's most talented documentary filmmakers to produce a collection of
engaging and creative short films about the Award recipients which will be
screened at the May 3rd Gala. The NFB envisions a signature work that will
capture the essence of each of the laureates, serving as a testament to their
creative genius. The Gala Performance will be a star-studded tribute to the
2008 recipients, who will be celebrated with superb performances, evocative
video portraits and personal tributes by guest stars.
    A new partnership with the National Arts Centre (NAC) will see the awards
build a stronger base and achieve a greater presence in years to come. The NAC
will assume responsibility for the production of the annual gala performance
as well as the event's fundraising and marketing activities. The NAC's
in-house expertise and experience in these key aspects of the annual
celebrations will significantly enhance the profile of the awards and their
distinguished recipients.

    Created in 1992, the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards are the
most prominent artistic honour bestowed upon Canadian performing artists. They
are administered by the GGPAA Foundation, a private, not-for-profit charitable
organization. Nominations for the Awards are solicited from the public and the
performing arts community. Peer selection committees, representing the various
performing arts disciplines and regions of Canada, review the nominations and
submit a short list of nominees in the six award categories to the GGPAA
Foundation Board of Directors, which makes the final selection of recipients
of the Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement and the Ramon John Hnatyshyn
Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts. Nominations for 2009 are now
being accepted. The recipient of the National Arts Centre Award is selected by
the Board of Trustees of the NAC from a list of candidates proposed by a
nominating committee of senior NAC artistic programmers.

    The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards are presented by Bell, the
founding presenting sponsor of the Awards. Bell's generous and unwavering
support since 1992 has been an outstanding force in the success of the Awards.
The National Arts Centre is proud to produce the 2008 Awards Gala in
partnership with the National Film Board of Canada and the Governor General's
Performing Arts Awards Foundation. The Awards are presented with the support
of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.
St. Joseph Communications is the Special Partner of the 2008 Awards. Event
Sponsors are Corus Entertainment Inc., Pratt & Whitney Canada Corporation and
Aeroplan. The GGPAAF gratefully acknowledges the significant contributions of
the Friends of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Gala, Technology
Partner IBM Canada, Weber Shandwick Worldwide, Hotel Indigo, Media Partners
National Post, Ottawa Citizen, A-Channel, La Presse, CFRA, and Le Droit. The
Royal Canadian Mint has generously crafted and provided all commemorative
medallions. Grateful thanks also go to the National Volunteer Committee,
co-chaired by Robert Foster, President & CEO, Capital Canada Ltd. and Bonnie
Brownlee, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications, CTVglobemedia.

    Tickets for the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Gala on
Saturday, May 3 go on sale to the general public as of March 17, 2008 at the
NAC Box Office and through Ticketmaster, (613) 755-1111 or
www.ticketmaster.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Brown, Weber Shandwick Worldwide,
(613) 230-2220 x227, (613) 614-2894 (cell), jennbrown@webershandwick.com; Or
visit the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation Web site at:
www.bce.ca/ggawards (English), www.bce.ca/prixgg (French)

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