He who hears the music not thinks the dancers mad.”

-Unknown (written on a sidewalk in San Francisco)

Tim Southam - Brian MacDonald, Virtuoso Eclectic

Tim Southam's films include the celebrated dramas The Bay of Love and Sorrows, The Tale of Teeka/ L'Histoire de l'oie, and One Dead Indian, as well as the critically acclaimed documentaries Drowning in Dreams, Satie and Suzanne, and Perreault Dancer. His work has won awards at various international festivals, multiple Gemini and Gémeaux awards (including three for best direction), and nominations for the Genie, Grammy, Jutra, DGC and FIPA awards.

Brian Macdonald (1928-2014)

2008 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Dance)

Dancer, Choreographer, Theatre Director

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.

Mr. Macdonald was born in Montreal in 1928. He studied dance in Montreal, Toronto and New York and was an original member of The National Ballet of Canada, turning to choreography in 1953 after a serious injury ended his performing career.

His choreographic range extends from jazzy show dancing to lively folk-based works to abstract neo-classical ballets set to challenging contemporary scores. His latest dance work premiered in 2002: the monumental Requiem 9/11, a moving expression of human tragedy and hope.

As a director, artistic director, choreographer and teacher, he has worked with some of Canada’s leading cultural institutions, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, The National Ballet of Canada, the National Arts Centre, the National Theatre School, The Banff Centre, and the Stratford Festival, and with dance companies throughout Europe and the United States.

Mr. Macdonald is also a renowned director of opera and musicals. His opera productions have been presented by major companies around the world, and his stagings of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for the Stratford Festival (many of them later televised by the CBC) have been hugely successful.

“I feel very fortunate to have started a career in Quebec in the 1960s,” he says. “It was an extraordinarily fertile artistic environment.”

Awards and honours include Officer of the Order of Canada (1967), promoted to Companion (2002); Fellow of The Banff Centre (2004); Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts (2001); Dance Canada Prize (1988); Banff Centre National Arts Award (1988); Canada Council Molson Prize (1983); Paris International Gold Star for Choreography (1964). His book Dancing in Thin Air: Looking Back on Sixty Years of Dance at the Banff Centre was published in 2007.