Folk festival chief sings happy tune with award

Posted by on 1 October 2008

Bob Clark, Calgary Herald, September 30

Rozsa prizes given for management of arts projects

Three major Alberta arts management awards totalling $97,000 were handed out on Monday in Calgary.

The Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management, honouring outstanding administration in the provincial arts community, went to the general manager of the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Les Siemieniuk.

The award, which was presented to Siemieniuk at a special reception held in the Epcor Centre's Jack Singer Lobby, is valued at $51,000. It will be shared by Siemieniuk and the folk festival.

Les Siemieniuk, centre, general manager of the Calgary Folk Music Festival took home the 2008 Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management. Also honoured were Murray Kilgour, left, principal of the School of Alberta ballet with the 2008 Rozsa Education Award and Bob Davis, executive director of the Rosebud Theatre, who received the Rozsa Innovation Award.

The prize was created in 2002 to honour the long-standing philanthropy of Ted and Lola Rozsa.

"It took me by surprise," says Siemieniuk, who has managed the business end of the flourishing four-day summer event -- one of Canada's largest and most successful annual folk festivals -- since 2000.

"It's very flattering, and an acknowledgement of the organization and all the staff, board and volunteers who made it what it is."

Siemieniuk was among seven nominees for Excellence in Arts Management Award.

"Every year, it seems the nominees are more and more deserving and the jury has a tougher choice to make," says Rozsa Foundation president, Mary Rozsa de Coquet.

Two new Rozsa awards, formally inaugurated this year, were handed out on Monday as well.

The Rozsa Education Award, recognizing outstanding achievement in audience development through education, and/or professional artist development in the context of annual performance or exhibition, went to Murray Kilgour, executive director of Rosebud Theatre.

The Rozsa Innovation Award, given in recognition of outstanding innovation in exceeding at least one of the seven arts management awards criteria, went to Bob Davis, principal of the School of Alberta Ballet.

Both awards are worth $23,000 each, again comprised of individual and organizational benefits -- the latter provided by Haskayne School of Business, Deloitte and Touche, and the Institute of Corporate Directors.