The Arts: Foundation of a Vibrant Community

Featured Speakers' Bios

Jeff Melanson

Jeff Melanson was appointed president of The Banff Centre on January 1, 2012. He holds a bachelor of music from the University of Manitoba, where he studied opera, Russian art song, and choral conducting. He holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.

In 2006, Melanson was apponted executive director and co-chief executive officer of Canada's National Ballet School where he was instrumental in eliminating a significant annual operating deficit and increasing annual revenues by over 50 per cent, creating new strategic partnerships with many non-profit and for-profit arts and entertainment corporations.

Melanson is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization and a trustee with the National Guild for Community Arts Education (US) and was the first arts leader to be appointed one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 (TM) for 2009.

Edmund Dawe

Dr. Edmund Dawe is dean of the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music. Edmund’s career includes a wide range of professional activities as a solo and collaborative pianist, administrator, teacher, adjudicator, and lecturer/keynote speaker.

Praised for his technical command of the piano and artistic interpretations, Edmund has performed in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, France, Hong Kong, and Korea. His performances are frequently heard in regional and national CBC broadcasts. Edmund has received numerous distinctions in his career including teaching and research awards as well as grants from the Canada Council, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and provincial Arts Councils. Edmund's solo recording, Sonatas, was nominated for an East Coast Music Award (Best Classical).  Dialogue, his fourth CD, was released in June 2012. This recording features an eclectic program of two-piano works with New Brunswick pianist Lynn Johnson.

In July 2012, Edmund began a second term as dean. He looks forward to the completion of new facilities for Music in the Taché Arts Complex, and the continued growth of the Desautels Faculty’s reputation for excellence in its undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate programs.

Paul Hess

Originally from Toronto, Paul Hess studied at the University of Guelph and received his MFA from NSCAD in 1978. He has lived on the east coast and the west coast and taught at several universities across Canada. His paintings and photographs have been shown in various centers across Canada since 1974. He has received arts grants from the Ontario Arts Council, BC Arts Council and the Canada Council. In 1987, he was appointed to the faculty at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver where he held teaching and administrative roles, including Dean of Media Arts. In 2008, he was appointed Director of the School of Art at the University of Manitoba.

George Toles

George Toles is Distinguished Professor of Literature and Film at the University of Manitoba, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. For twenty-five years he has been Guy Maddin's screenwriting collaborator, and has written or co-written screenplays for most of his feature films, including Archangel, Careful, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, The Saddest Music in the World, Brand Upon the Brain, My Winnipeg, and, most recently, Keyhole. He wrote the original story and co-authored the screenplay for Edison and Leo, Canada's first stop motion animated feature film. George has written A House Made of Light: Essays on the Art of Film. He is currently writing a monograph on American director, Paul Thomas Anderson, for the Contemporary Film Directors series at the University of Illinois Press. He is also collaborating with Winnipeg artist, Cliff Eyland, on a book of illustrated mini-narratives, with the working title, Status Updates. George has published extensively on literary, film, and theatre topics. He also regularly directs plays for professional and university theatre groups.

Francine Morin

Dr. Francine Morin, Professor (Arts Education) and Department Head, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Manitoba is a leading authority in Canadian arts education.  She is a Founding Board Member of the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning and Past-President of the Alliance for Arts Education in Manitoba.  In A Study of Arts Education in Manitoba Schools, Morin (2010) gave educators its first comprehensive look at school arts programming in dance, drama, music, and visual arts.  As a key contributor to arts education curriculum reform, Dr. Morin serves as lead writer for both the K-8 Dance and 9-12 Dance Manitoba Curriculum Frameworks.  Among an array of current projects, Dr. Morin works with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Seven Oaks School Division studying the impact of an El-Sistema-inspired after school orchestral program on the personal, social and musical development of children.

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