Jean André Élie
2011 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts
A passionate supporter of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) for nearly 50 years, Jean André Élie is numbered among the master builders of this internationally acclaimed ensemble. As a Board and committee member he has spearheaded numerous transformative projects, including notably the OSM Standard Life Competition for young Canadian musicians, and major fundraising initiatives (he has chaired and co-chaired over 20 fundraising campaigns). His unwavering commitment, his leadership, his warm and enthusiastic personality, and his “can-do” approach have been an inspiration to others: he has helped forge strong links between the OSM and its community, rallied Quebec’s business sector in support of the organization, and made a significant contribution to Montreal’s cultural profile.
Mr. Élie was born in Montreal. A lawyer (BCL McGill, 1965) and businessman (MBA Western, 1968), he has worked as a director and executive with leading Canadian corporations.
He first connected with the OSM in the early 1960s, when then General Manager Pierre Béique invited him to join the Junior Committee. “At the time, I was more interested in sports,” recalls Mr. Élie. “My involvement with the OSM was almost accidental. It was an organizational and team-building challenge—and I enjoy organizing and working with people, so I couldn’t say no!”
Mr. Élie has served on numerous other boards and committees in the public and private sectors, including Hydro-Québec and currently Industry Canada and Alimentation Couche-Tard. He has supported such charities as Centraide, the Quebec Cancer Foundation, and the Défi sportif des athlètes handicapés, a unique multisport event for athletes with a disability. He has chaired the Advisory Committee of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music for several years. To mark McGill’s 175th anniversary in 1996, he organized a joint concert by the McGill Symphony Orchestra and the OSM. The concert was truly the fulfilment of a dream, a symbolic expression of partnership and shared creativity between two great Canadian institutions.
“What I enjoy most about volunteering,” says Mr. Élie, “is working with others towards a common goal. I believe people are born to share, and that is our enduring legacy.”