“It’s incredible to have been part of our music scene for all these years. In our daily work, drawing inspiration from artists creativity and people’s enthusiasm towards what you are producing in your job is a rare fate. Plain amazing to be recognized by your peers for this,” says André Menard and Alain Simard.
André Ménard numbers among the most influential figures in the Quebec artistic community, having greatly contributed to the cultural life of Montreal. Working in the domain of live show and concert production since 1975, he has had a 30-year association with Alain Simard as co-founder and vice-president of L’Équipe Spectra. He is also the cofounder and artistic director of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.
André has held seats on a number of boards including ADISQ from 1980 to 1993 (including two years as president); Chambre de Commerce du Montréal Métropolitain from 1992 to 1994; Jazz Alliance International (JAI), a non-profit organization based in New York, a subsidiary of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) 2005-2008; Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois from 2001-2009 and La La La Human Steps Dance Company since 1995
He has also been a member of the Conseil d’administration du partenariat du Quartier des spectacles since its inception in 2003. Ménard was also responsible for the original idea behind the “Quartier des theatres”, an idea first taken up and illustrated during a speech by Alain Simard at the Board of Trade in the late ’90s.
Over the years, a number of awards have been bestowed upon André including; Recipient of the first Hall of Fame Award, presented by National Jazz Awards Canada (2004); Winner of the Reconnaissance award presented by RIDEAU (2003); Winner of the prix Events producer of the year presented by the Jazz Journalist Association (2002); Personality of the Week, La Presse (2001); Chevalier des Arts et lettres of the French Republic (1993) and Personality of the Week, La Presse (1988)
Alain Simard completed his classical studies at Collège St Ignace in Montreal, where in 1969 he began to launch live shows at a student café, La Clef, which hosted the era’s first “underground” groups. In the early ’70s, together with Productions Kosmos, he brought to Montreal stages such artists as Pink Floyd, Genesis and B.B. King, among others. He later became the personal manager of Paul Piché, Offenbach, Claude Dubois and Michel Rivard, launched the TV production company Spectel-Video with Momentum Vidéofilm and helped create ADISQ with Guy Latraverse.
Founder of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the FrancoFolies de Montréal, the Montreal High Lights Festival, La Grande Mascarade, and more recently, the Montreal International Film Festival, Alain Simard has been the president and CEO of L’Équipe Spectra – a recognized leader in Quebec’s cultural industry – since its inception in 1977. In the last 35 years, Mr. Simard’s exceptional contribution to the cultural and entertainment industry has boosted Montreal’s international visibility. Thanks to his love of music, Mr. Simard has made Montreal a destination of choice for millions of festival goers around the world.
Over the years, Mr. Simard has received numerous prizes, including the Félix Hommage at the ADISQ Gala; the Prix Hommage from the Société des Fêtes et Festivals du Québec; the special prize Mérites du français dans le Commerce 2000, awarded by the Office québécois de la langue française; and the Grand Prix Ulysse trophy from Tourisme Montréal. He also holds the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, bestowed on him by the Republic of France, as well as of Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Pléiade. In 2003, La Presse called him “the most influential personality in the Quebec cultural sector” and, in 2004, he was named Grand entrepreneur de l’année 2004 by Groupe Perform.
Alain has served on numerous boards, including ADISQ, the Institut québécois du Cinéma, ARTV, Tourisme Montréal and the Fondation du Maire de Montréal pour la Jeunesse. He currently sits on the boards of the Montreal International Film Festival, the Montreal High Lights Festival, the FrancoFolies de Montréal, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and all the boards of Équipe Spectra’s subsidiaries and/or affiliated companies: Amerimage-Spectra, Sogestalt Television, Bleu Blanc Rouge Productions, Zingaro Films, Libretto Productions and Spectra Animation.