Commemorating Brian MacDonald

Jan 27 2015 | Posted in Newsletter

A memorial event commemorating the life of Brian MacDonald will be held by The Banff Centre to recognize Brian’s contributions to the arts in Canada.

Ballet Kelowna – A celebration and fundraiser in memory of Brian MacDonald, CC
Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 7:30 p.m.
Eric Harvie Theatre | $25
Box office: 403.762.6301 or 1.800.413.8368
View the full event details

The Banff Centre and Ballet Kelowna present an evening of performance, celebration, and tribute to legendary Canadian choreographer, mentor, artistic visionary and friend, Brian Macdonald, CC (1928 – 2014) on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

Hosted by Emily Molnar, Artistic Director of Dance at The Banff Centre and Simone Orlando, Artistic Director at Ballet Kelowna, the evening will celebrate Macdonald’s distinguished career at The Banff Centre as both a mentor and creator and his contribution to the world of dance.

“Brian was a beacon of wisdom and creativity at The Banff Centre for over 45 years, inspiring countless dancers and choreographers to reach their potential with grace, passion, and discipline,” said Molnar. “It’s an honour to recognize his lifelong contribution to Canadian arts and culture alongside his wife and former head of The Banff Centre Professional Dance Program, Annette av Paul.”

Following this tribute will be a performance by Ballet Kelowna titled Forward: A Mixed Repertory Programme. Included in this presentation are three pieces by some of Canada’s leading contemporary ballet choreographers: James Kudelka, Shawn Hounsell, and Simone Orlando. Accompanying these three works is Lee Dances, a presentation of excerpts from award-winning works created for the esteemed Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award at The Banff Centre, and Shawn Hounsell’s Creaturehood (1996), Simone Orlando’s Winter Journey (2006) and Heather Myers’s Dedications (2009).

“Brian was a generous and valued mentor to both individuals and companies. As honorary patrons of Ballet Kelowna, Brian and Annette helped lay the foundation of a company that is widely recognized and admired,” said Orlando. “Ballet Kelowna is honoured to perform at The Banff Centre in recognition of his passionate leadership and outstanding legacy.” All ticket sales proceeds and donations will be used to establish “Brian Macdonald” dance scholarships at The Banff Centre.

Brian Macdonald

Internationally renowned as a versatile and charismatic artist, Macdonald was known for his passionate interpretations of ballet, opera, and musical theatre. Macdonald taught dance at The Banff Centre from 1962 and, in 1982 founded the Professional Dance Program which he ran until 2007. The Professional Dance program under Macdonald’s leadership put The Banff Centre on the international map as one of the world’s most exceptional and rigorous dance training programs. During this period The Banff Centre also introduced the Clifford E Lee Choreography award which fostered the development of such eminent dance figures as Judith Marcuse, Crystal Pite, Christopher House, Bengt Jorgen, Peter Quanz, and Wen Wei Wang, among many others. Macdonald was one of Canada’s most recognizable artists on the National and International stage, and enjoyed engagements around the world, including directing productions for the Stratford Festival, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the New York City Opera, the Kennedy Centre in Washington, La Scala, the Sydney Opera House, and Les Grand Ballet Canadiens.