Heather Gibson, executive director of Halifax Jazz Festival and founder and producer of folk fest In the Dead of Winter, has been appointed the new producer of NAC Presents, a concert series at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
The Halifax music industry giant will relocate to Ottawa soon, beginning her post at the NAC in September. Gibson, originally from Manitoba, built her 24-year career here as an artistic leader and entrepreneur. She spent almost a decade working for the Jazz Festival, advancing the fest to be the largest in our region, and co-opened The Company House, the beloved north end bar and music venue, in 2009.
Gibson says this job will be a new challenge for her, and a chance to continue her work with emerging musicians at a national level. “It’s a bit daunting after I’ve lived here for so long, to make this kind of move, but it feels like the right thing to do."
“I think it’s the next thing, to be really honest. I’m not sure what the next step here would have been,” she says. “I think this is something we hear from people all of the time, that we’d love to be able to stay here. But I probably have another 20 years left in my career and I think this is the best professional move I can make right now.”
NAC Presents is a six-year-old concert series, focused on showcasing Canadian talent. It runs from October to May, hosting about 60 concerts. Familiar Hali faces like Jenn Grant, Matt Anderson and Joel Plaskett have played at the series in the past.
“[These musicians] have been a really good example of what the NAC series is about,” says Gibson. “They come and play the smaller stages, and then progress through, and then they end up playing in the hall or theatre.”
Gibson announced she was leaving the Halifax Jazz Festival last week. The news of her job acceptance in Ottawa was released today.