The National Arts Centre’s Board of Trustees extends Peter Herrndorf’s contract as President and CEO until 2013.

Ottawa (Canada) –The Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre (NAC) announced today that Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the NAC, has agreed to extend his contract for two more years (September 1, 2011 - August 31, 2013).

“Peter Herrndorf has firmly stamped the ‘national’ back into the National Arts Centre and extended its reach to all Canadians” said Julia Foster, Chair of the NAC’s Board of Trustees. “NAC Orchestra tours, Scene festivals, the creation of the NAC’s English Theatre Company, the Music Alive Programme which brings classical music and education to communities in rural Saskatchewan, Alberta and the North, co-productions with arts organizations across Canada—these are just a few of the many initiatives Peter Herrndorf has spearheaded that make a real difference to artists, arts organizations and Canadians in communities across the country.”

“The Government of Canada is pleased that Mr. Herrndorf will continue to lead the National Arts Centre for the next two years,” said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “We look forward to working with Mr. Herrndorf and others at the National Arts Centre as it continues to lead the way as the largest and most dynamic centre for the performing arts in Canada."

Since his arrival 11 years ago as President and CEO, Peter Herrndorf has galvanized the NAC into becoming a vibrant hub for performance, creation and learning that is active in communities all across Canada. Under his leadership, the NAC has attracted Canada’s leading artists to its stages, made youth and education programming a priority, and created the Scene festivals, which over the past 8 years have showcased thousands of artists from different regions of the country on a national stage, beginning with Atlantic Scene (2003), and followed by Alberta Scene (2005), Quebec Scene (2007) BC Scene (2009) and, most recently, Prairie Scene (2011). Northern Scene, which promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, will celebrate the artists of Canada’s Northern provinces and territories and is planned for 2013.

During his tenure Mr. Herrndorf has also brought financial stability to the NAC. Mrs. Foster notes, “Peter Herrndorf has brought immense business acumen to the National Arts Centre. Under his leadership, the NAC has posted nine surpluses over his 11 year tenure.”  He also spearheaded the creation of the National Arts Centre Foundation, which has raised more than $50 million to help the NAC fulfill its national mandate as a centre for performance, creation and learning.  

Mr. Herrndorf has worked with and attracted an exceptional team of artistic leaders to the NAC, including Music Director Pinchas Zukerman; Dance Producer Cathy Levy; French Theatre Artistic Directors Denis Marleau, Wajdi Mouawad and Brigitte Haentjens; English Theatre Artistic Directors Marti Maraden and Peter Hinton; Producer of Variety and Community Programming Simone Deneau; Producers and Executive Directors of the Scene Festivals Kari Cullen and Heather Moore, and Executive Chefs Kurt Waldele and Michael Blackie.

Mr. Herrndorf brought a clear sense of direction to the NAC through his 2001 Strategic Plan entitled “Restoring Our Vision” that re-positioned the NAC’s national vision, set youth and education as a strategic priority, renewed the Centre’s focus on artistic expansion and innovation, and called for the NAC to dramatically increase earned revenues by establishing the NAC Foundation.

The subsequent 2008-2013 Strategic Plan “Performing for Canadians,” which was fed by the NAC’s consultations with artists, arts educators and arts organizations across the country, re-committed the Centre to those four goals and added a fifth of developing deeper relationships with audiences and patrons through improved customer service.

Another major NAC achievement led by Mr. Herrndorf and Peter Hinton, the Artistic Director of English Theatre, is the creation of the English Theatre Company, which is composed of theatre professionals from across Canada. The company was disbanded more than 20 years ago, and its revival was a major highlight of the NAC’s 40th anniversary year. Over the past two seasons the company has mounted several shows, including major co-productions of Mother Courage and her Children with the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Saint Carmen of the Main with the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto.

During Mr. Herrndorf’s tenure the NAC has commissioned 45 major works from Canadian composers, most recently Malcolm Forsyth’s A Ballad for Canada, an iconic Canadian work for orchestra and chorus set to the words of four Canadian poets. Other NAC highlights include participating in the Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver in 2010 and the NAC’s first-ever co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad in 2006, among many others.

The National Arts Centre has expanded the its international role by bringing the world to Ottawa through major performances by the legendary German modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch, London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Russia’s Mariinksy Orchestra and Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the French National Orchestra, the Beijing Ballet, the Chinese National Orchestra and the Boston Ballet, and through performances from artists from countries including the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Japan, Venezuela and Cuba.

The NAC has co-produced major national festivals including the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, the Canada Dance Festival, Festival Zones Théâtrales, MusicFest, the Improv Games, and the Governor General Performing Arts Awards.

Mr. Herrndorf also brought the nationally televised Genie Awards to the NAC, and spearheaded the 2010 Royal Visit by the Queen and Prince Philip to the NAC where they unveiled a new sculpture of Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson. Mr. Herrndorf has also hosted three major Ottawa premieres of Canadian films at the NAC in recent years including Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, Barney’s Version, and Starbuck.

Over the course of his tenure, Mr. Herrndorf has made music education a cornerstone of the NAC’s outreach across the country. Every year close to 100 young musicians come to the NAC’s Summer Music Institute to be taught by an acclaimed international faculty led by Maestro Pinchas Zukerman, and the musicians from the National Arts Centre’s Orchestra. The NAC also created the Institute for Orchestral Studies, a unique program for budding orchestral musicians who apprentice, rehearse and perform with the NAC Orchestra several weeks a year. 

Also aligned with the NAC’s focus on youth and education is the NAC’s award winning arts education website The NAC’s new media team has developed very popular teaching kits that have been downloaded by educators more than one million times over the past nine years.

Mr. Herrndorf saw the potential of new media early on by creating Hexagon, one of Canada’s leading broadband master-class studios. The studio links young musicians from Canada to the best musicians in the world through classes taught by Mr. Zukerman and many of his colleagues from the Manhattan School of Music.

The NAC has become a thriving destination for the performing arts in Ottawa, with 1,084,233 patrons taking part in NAC performances, events and commercial activities throughout the 2009-2010 season, with more than a 1000 performances per year, and a subscription base of 33,500 in music, theatre, and dance.

Mr. Herrndorf has played a pivotal role in building many of the NAC’s trademark programs and events. He is the founding President of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation (1991-2002), the annual lifetime achievement awards given to Canada’s leading performing artists by the Governor General. Every year the NAC produces a major gala that celebrates the recipients’ work.

Mr. Herrndorf is the outgoing chairman of the international Performing Arts Centre Consortium (PACC) and serves on the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa, the Board of Directors of Luminato, Toronto’s Festival of Arts and Creativity, is a member of the steering committee of the Canadian Arts Summit, and is a member of the advisory committee of PUSH an international Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver.

The winner of numerous awards, Mr. Herrndorf first joined the NAC in 1999 after a long career in broadcasting, publishing and the arts. He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993. Mr. Herrndorf is married to Eva Czigler, a broadcast executive with CBC Television, and they have two children, Matthew and Katherine.


For more information please contact:

Rosemary Thompson

Director of Communications

National Arts Centre

(613) 947-7000 ext 260

(613) 762-4118 cell




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