Canada’s Foremost Artists Recognized

April 18, 2013 9:24 am Last Updated: April 18, 2013 9:25 am

Come June, some of Canada’s finest artists will be awarded one of the country’s top artistic honours. 

Earlier this month, musicians Andrew Dawes and Daniel Lanois, filmmaker Jean Pierre Lefebvre, actors Viola Léger and Eric Peterson, and dancer/choreographer Menaka Thakkar were announced as the 2013 laureates of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, honouring lifetime artistic achievement.

Jean Pierre Desrosiers will also receive the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts for his “generous and enthusiastic support of performing arts organizations,” while filmmaker Sarah Polley will receive the National Arts Centre Award, recognizing “exceptional achievement over the past performance year.”

The recipients of the prestigious award come from all sides of the artistic spectrum and represent the melting pot of Canadian talent in the arts.

Honoured for their work in dance, theatre, music, or film, recipients are selected for their contribution to Canadian culture, not only at home, but abroad as cultural ambassadors of Canada’s talent.

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards are the country’s foremost distinction for excellence in the performing arts and are awarded to those with a lifetime of commitment and contribution to Canada’s cultural life. 

The awards were created in 1992 under the patronage of the Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn (1934-2002), then Governor General of Canada.

“The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate not only the careers of notable artists, but also those who give of their time, talent and resources to the arts,” said Gov. Gen. David Johnston in a press release. 

“I look forward to welcoming all the laureates to Rideau Hall and to acknowledging their contributions as cultural ambassadors.”

Daniel Lanois, one of the world’s premier and in-demand record producers, has been the man behind the sound for the likes of U2, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Peter Gabriel. A musical legend, his status in the music industry is second to none. An award winning songwriter and musician in his own right, he represents Canada’s two official languages, singing in both French and English.

Virtuoso violinist Andrew Dawes’s career has spanned more than 50 years. He is best known for his role as first violinist for the Orford String Quartet, one of Canada’s longest-lived and most illustrious chamber ensembles. 

The exceptional musician has been praised for his teaching abilities and has performed 3,000 concerts on 6 continents and made more than 60 recordings. Dawes has won numerous awards in his career, including being made a member of the Order of Canada and receiving the Jubilee Medal awarded by Queen Elizabeth II for exceptional qualities and service to Canada.

As a dancer, choreographer and artistic director, Menaka Thakkar is widely regarded as a pioneer of Indian classical dance in Canada and internationally. She has helped popularize the dance form and has contributed to its recognition around the globe, performing and teaching one of India’s cultural treasures.

Tickets for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala on Saturday, June 1, are available at the NAC Box Office and through Ticketmaster, 1-888-991-2787 or

For more information, visit the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation website: