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Meet the NAC’s New President and CEO

Christopher Deacon was announced as the new CEO of the NAC in June 2018. © Serge Gouin

Christopher Deacon is the National Arts Centre’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. On June 12, he took over from Peter Herrndorf, who retired after almost 19 years.

Mr. Deacon, 59, was born in Montreal, Quebec. he has more than 35 years of professional experience managing orchestras, including 22 years as Managing Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

“Christopher Deacon is a champion of the performing arts in Canada,” said Mr. Herrndorf. “He’s got a proven record as a risk-taker and as an adventurous arts administrator leading highly ambitious projects.”

“We conducted a rigorous and disciplined search to find the best arts executive to lead Canada’s National Arts Centre,” said Adrian Burns, Chair of the NAC Board of trustees. “We found the right person right here at the NAC to provide the vision and leadership necessary to guide the organization into its next half-century. Few people know the NAC as well as Christopher Deacon.”

Mr. Deacon has played an instrumental role on the executive leadership team during a period of some of the greatest artistic successes in the NAC’s storied history. He has led many of the NAC’s boldest initiatives in recent memory. They include the seven-city China Tour in 2013 with eight concerts and 80 education events, as well as the 2014 UK tour, the largest Canadian initiative overseas to mark the centenary of Canada’s entry into the first World War.

He also spearheaded the Orchestra’s most ambitious production, Life Reflected, which commissioned four Canadian composers to create new works about four remarkable Canadian women.

Speaking to a large crowd last June during an emotional news conference in the NAC’s bright new atrium, Christopher Deacon recalled how he fell in love with live music as a child. “My dad would play the clarinet, in the living room or in the kitchen,” he said. “It would be jazz for a spell, then Mozart for a spell, depending on his mood. It seemed perfectly natural to have live music in your life.”

Many renowned Canadian artists praised the announcement of Christopher Deacon as CEO, including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and Donna Feore, theatre director and choreographer noted for her work with the Stratford Festival.


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