Founding Producer of NAC Presents made an indelible mark in promoting and presenting Canadian singer-songwriters

February 29, 2016 – OTTAWA (Canada) –Simone Deneau, the founding Producer of the all-Canadian singer-songwriter series NAC Presents will retire later this year after a remarkable 38 year career promoting and presenting Canadian performing artists. Ms. Deneau first joined the NAC in 1978 as an usher. She later filled the position of Assistant Director of Patron Services.

Ms. Deneau worked at the NAC throughout her studies and earned a law degree from the University of Ottawa. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. She put her legal training to work when she was named the NAC’s Producer of Variety and Community Programming in 2009.

In 2010, Simone Deneau was appointed as the founding Producer of NAC Presents, a new stream of programming dedicated to Canadian singer-songwriters. NAC Presents celebrated its 5th anniversary earlier this year when Canada’s hottest Indigenous group, A Tribe Called Red performed to a capacity crowd. 

“Simone Deneau has gone from strength to strength at the National Arts Centre,” said Peter Herrndorf, the NAC’s President and CEO. “She did a brilliant job presenting live music and Broadway performances for many years, but her heart was always with Canadian singer-songwriters. When we saw an opportunity 5 years ago to create a new stream of programming through NAC Presents, we knew Simone Deneau would do a remarkable job.”

“With such a strong contingent of Canadian singer-songwriters, we wanted to create a home for them at the National Arts Centre. My vision was to present established artists, and also encourage emerging artists to consider the NAC as a place where they could build their careers. Building this series has been the most satisfying experience of my professional life,” said Simone Deneau, Producer of NAC Presents.

The series of 50 concerts a year was built to attract a younger audience to the NAC.

“I wanted the series to have a cool and contemporary feel to it,” said Deneau. “Our goal is to give artists from across the country a chance to perform on the national stage, and to build an audience for them here and across the country.”

In her time with NAC Presents, Simone Deneau has programmed nearly 300 performances by Canadian singer-songwriters and welcomed over 100,000 music fans to the four stages of the National Arts Centre.

From local acts including Sound Of Lions, Kellylee Evans, Jill Zmud and Kalle Mattson to established Canadian stars like Diana Krall, Oliver Jones, Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright, and Hey Rosetta!, the ear-to-the ground music lover, whose musical taste and keen sense of what’s hot in the Canadian music scene have shaped the NAC’s newest programming stream into one of the most important music series in the country.

One of her greatest accomplishments has been fostering a new relationship between Canada’s best singer-songwriters and the NAC Orchestra. Artists like Joel Plaskett, Daniel Lanois, Basia Bulat and Royal Wood have performed for the first time in the with the NAC Orchestra in memorable concert experiences. Deneau also developed a special bond with many artists, and invested in their artistic vision and helped foster their careers.

"Simone Deneau's retirement from the NAC will leave a hole not easily filled. Her passion, faith and support of artists in Canada and on the world-stage is unmatched in this country, and she will be deeply missed. However, from the bottom of my heart, I am overjoyed that she gets to have this next well-deserved adventure,” said singer-songwriter Royal Wood. Mr. Wood has performed as part of the NAC Presents series in 2010, 2012, 2014 and helped produce a series of concerts in 2016.

“To hear that Simone is leaving the NAC brings mixed many emotions, because she will be so missed! I have never been made to feel so at home in such a beautiful venue. Her contribution to our shows has made me feel so lucky and cared for and has always made my time at the NAC extra special. I wish every blessing to Simone as she heads toward her next journey, but she will always be part of the NAC in my heart! Thank you Simone for the years of encouragement and grace you have always shown me. Much love!” –Jenn Grant, singer-songwriter (performed as part of the NAC Presents in 2012, 2013 and 2014)

“Simone has been a big supporter of me from early on in my career & I’ve loved every opportunity I’ve had playing the NAC Presents series. All the best in your retirement Simone, you’ll be missed!” –Kalle Mattson, singer-songwriter (performed as part of the NAC Presents in 2013 and 2015)

“BMO is proud to be a sponsor of the very successful NAC Presents series which showcases the diversity of Canadian talent from across the country.  We wish to thank Simone and congratulate her on her well-deserved retirement.” –Sandra Henderson, Senior Vice President Eastern Ontario Division, BMO Bank of Montreal

NAC Presents thanks title partner BMO Financial Group for their long-standing leadership support of this series. NAC Presents is grateful to the Slaight Family Foundation, whose Slaight Family Fund for Emerging Artists supports performances by emerging artists featured in the NAC Presents 2015–16 season. They include Guillaume Martineau, Lindi Ortega, Kalle Mattson, JP Hoe, Safia Nolin, The Next Generation Leahy, Peter Katz, Pandaléon, Joey Robin Haché, Samito, The Weather Station, Chloé Lacasse,Tomi Swick and Philippe Brach.

NAC Presents would also like to acknowledge its official hotel partner, Hotel Indigo Ottawa, and the official car of NAC Presents, Mark Motors of Ottawa – Audi.

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Marie-Chantale Labbé-Jacques
Marketing and Communications Officer
NAC Presents
office: 613-947-7000 ext. 526