The NAC’s first fundraising evening in three years highlighted the importance of women leaders in the arts, and these donations will support their creativity.

November 5, 2022 OTTAWA (Canada) — Tonight, at the 2022 edition of its annual Gala, featuring Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden and the NAC Orchestra led by guest conductors Cosette Justo Valdés and Elizabeth Baird, the National Arts Centre (NAC) and its Foundation raised over $1 Million for the new Adrian Burns Fund for Women Leaders in the Performing Arts.

“We are so grateful to our donors and sponsors from across the country for their commitment to women leaders in the performing arts,” said Jayne Watson, CEO of the NAC Foundation, which organizes the Centre’s signature fundraising event. “Their support will allow the NAC to help women from all backgrounds attain their dreams, and ensure that their stories, wisdom and experience will lead to a vibrant and successful arts scene in Canada.”

The theme of this year’s Gala was “Women Leaders in the Performing Arts,” highlighting the importance of all the women whose creativity, passion and achievements make Canada’s culture shine. “From artists and designers to producers, technicians, administrators, volunteers and fundraisers, it’s a long list. These women deserve to be recognized for their remarkable work, and it’s a great pleasure to honour them at the NAC Gala,” said Ms. Watson.

The NAC Gala was also an opportunity to pay tribute to Adrian Burns, Chair of the NAC Board of Trustees, who will complete her term in December 2022 after more than 20 years on the Board.

“For more than two decades, Adrian Burns has made an extraordinary contribution to the National Arts Centre and to the Canadian performing arts,” noted Christopher Deacon, NAC President and CEO. “On behalf of all of us at the NAC, including trustees on our Board, senior management, staff and artists, we thank Adrian for her exceptional service and steadfast leadership in the arts.”

For this year’s Gala, the NAC was delighted to welcome Sophie Grégoire Trudeau as Honorary Chair once again.

“It has been an honour to support the NAC Gala as its Honorary Chair – especially because this cause is so very close to my heart,” said Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. “Every day across our country, women leaders are breaking down barriers and renewing the performing arts. Despite the obstacles or challenges they face, they are accomplishing their goals. And through their hard work, commitment, and integrity, they are making our communities better.”

The NAC Orchestra under the direction of guest conductor Cosette Justo Valdés opened the concert with a stirring performance of John Estacio’s Red Letter Day, followed by a vibrant rendition of “Sous le dôme épais le jasmin” from Delibes’ Lakmé, sung by soprano Jonelle Sills and mezzo-soprano Simona Genga. These two talented artists are on the CBC’s list of Canada’s 30 hottest classical artists under 30.

The first part of the benefit concert continued with a dazzling performance of Evelin Ramón’s Petite Toccata and concluded with Dvořák’s famous Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G minor, Op. 46.  

After the intermission, Jann Arden and her musicians, accompanied by the NAC Orchestra under the direction of guest conductor Elizabeth Baird, stepped onto the Southam Hall stage to perform a captivating evening of hits. The acclaimed Calgary musician captured the hearts of the audience with her warm voice and legendary sense of humour.

The NAC Gala is a prestigious social event held in support of the National Arts Centre Foundation. Each Gala is an opportunity to encourage philanthropy to benefit the National Arts Centre’s programmes and initiatives.


The NAC Gala is made possible thanks to the generous support of our donors and sponsors. We are grateful to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau for serving as Honorary Chair. We thank our Lead Donors, Bonnie & John Buhler; the 2022 Tribute Committee, including Gail Asper Family Foundation & Asper Foundation, Jenny Belzberg, C.M., A.O.E, Adrian Burns, LL.D. & Gregory Kane, K.C., Alice & Grant Burton, Christopher Deacon & Gwen Goodier, Susan Glass, C.M. & Arni Thorsteinson, O.M., the Bonnie & Daryl Howard Charitable Foundation, James & Emily Ho, Dr. Dianne Kipnes, C.M. & Mr. Irving Kipnes, C.M., M. Ann McCaig, C.M., A.O.E., LL.D., The Honourable Bill Morneau & Nancy McCain, Janice O’Born, C.M., O.Ont & Earle O’Born, Gail O’Brien, LL.D & David O’Brien, O.C., Alexander Shelley & Zoe Shelley, and Dasha Shenkman, OBE, Hon RCM. Thank you also to our corporate sponsors, including our Associate Sponsors, Meta and RBC Royal Bank; our Supporting Partners, Arel Capital, Azrieli Foundation, Power Corporation of Canada, and Rogers; our Event Sponsors, Emond Harnden LLP and A&E Television Networks; and our Table Patrons, BMO Bank of Montreal, Mark Motors of Ottawa, Mohammad & Najla Al Zaibak (Bay Tree Foundation) and TC Energy; as well as our Print Sponsor, The Printing House Ltd. and our Net Zero Sponsor, Canada’s Forest Trust. Proceeds from the Gala support NAC programs that champion women leading in the performing arts, on stage and off.


The National Arts Centre Foundation raises funds to support the National Arts Centre’s work in performance, creation and learning across Canada. Since its founding in 2000, the National Arts Centre Foundation has raised more than $160 millions to enrich the lives of Canadians through the performing arts and champion our country’s artists, students and educators.


The National Arts Centre raised its curtains for the first time in 1969. A bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for Canada’s most creative artists, the NAC strives to be artistically adventurous in each of its programming streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre and NAC Presents. The Centre’s national role is reflected in its motto: “Canada is our Stage.” The NAC collaborates with artists and arts organizations across the country, acts as a catalyst for performance; invests in ambitious new works by artists and arts organizations nation-wide; and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. Situated on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe nation, the NAC is accessible and welcoming to all, and offers a variety of free programming and events.



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