Maryvonne Kendergi (1915-2011)

1997 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

"Madame Quelle énergie" is the affectionate nickname given Maryvonne Kendergi by her devoted admirers. All her life she has given her energies to music and art, as musician, teacher, writer and broadcaster. Her fervent championing of 20th-century music in a society used only to the classical, says one friend, "allowed us to know what we were, who we were and what others were doing." Travelling widely, she introduced leading contemporary Canadian and international musicians to Québec through her broadcasts and her lively "Musialogues", a series of concerts, lectures and panel discussions started in 1969 and featuring such guests as Schafer, Somers, Stockhausen and Menuhin discussing their ideas and work. She taught at the University of Montreal from 1966, and transformed the curriculum, establishing Canadian music as a subject for the first time. She was named Professor Emeritus in 1981.

A deeply passionate woman with an unbending will, her commitment has been entirely to the cause of "the new". She has contributed her inexhaustible energy and expertise to numerous organizations: founder of Québec's contemporary music society, the first of its kind in North America, first woman president of the Canada Music Council, vice-president of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. She has always "given from the heart with no thought of herself" and she continues to do so.

Officer of the Order of Canada, member of the Royal Society, she is the winner of many awards including the Canada Council Lynch-Staunton Prize, and has an honorary doctorate from McGill University.