Peter Herrndorf was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and English from the University of Manitoba then went on to obtain a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from Dalhousie University and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Harvard Business School.
Mr. Herrndorf has devoted his career to journalism and the arts in Canada. He began his journalistic career as a reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), became the head of TV Current Affairs and ultimately becoming Vice-President and General Manager of the English network. He moved to the print medium as the publisher of Toronto Life from 1983 to 1992 then became Chairman and CEO of TVOntario from 1992 to 1999. In this latter role he did much to advance excellence in educational programming.
He is currently the President and CEO of the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa. In this position he works tirelessly to fulfil the mandate of the Centre: to play a leadership role in fostering artistic excellence in all disciplines of the performing arts in Canada. The NAC is the only multidisciplinary, bilingual performing arts centre in North America and actively co-produces English and French theatre and dance with Canadian companies, including the Cercle Moliere and the Manitoba Theatre Centre. Peter Herrndorf has transformed the NAC into a leader for the arts and arts education in Canada through endeavours such as annual performance and education tours by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, creating a Summer Music Institute for outstanding young musicians, and distributing music education materials to every elementary school in Canada.
In addition to his duties at the NAC, Peter Herrndorf serves the arts and cultural communities of Canada through membership and leadership on innumerable boards. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the CBC, Opéra Lyra Ottawa and the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards Foundation. He chairs the Board of the Canadian Broadcasting Museum Foundation, and has served as Chairman of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian Stage Company. He has served organizations such as the Association for Tele-Education in Canada, the Ontario Film Development Corporation, the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, the Canadian Television Fund, the International Choral Festival, the Banff Music Festival, and the Canadian Journalism Foundation. His experience and expertise were also used on the Ontario Premier's Council on Economic Renewal and the Ontario Law Reform Commission.
Peter Herrndorf is also a presence in academia. He is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa and is a past member of the Governing Council of the University of Toronto. He has been a Distinguished Visitor in Journalism at the University of Western Ontario, a Senior Visiting Fellow and Senior Resident, Massey College, University of Toronto and is an Honorary Fellow of the Ontario College of Art and Design.
Mr. Herrndorf is the recipient of many awards for distinguished service. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada. For lifetime contributions to broadcasting and the arts he has received the John Drainie Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the William Kilbourn Award from the Toronto Arts Council Foundation and the DiplOme d’honneur from the Canadian Conference of the Arts. Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees have been conferred upon him by York University, the University of Winnipeg and Dalhousie University.
-citation delivered by Dr. Juliette Cooper, Interim Dean, Faculty of Music