The governing body of the Parnelli Awards has awarded Canadian lighting designer Howard Ungerleider with the 2014 Parnelli Visionary Award for his outstanding career and innovations in the lighting and special effect fields. Ungerleider was presented with the award at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Nov. 22, 2014.
“Howard is a pioneer who took concert lighting to a new level, leaving everybody else to try to catch up,” says Parnelli Producer Terry Lowe. “His work with Rush has inspired many in this business, and he’s known as one of the nicest, most respected guys in this business, too.”
Ungerleider was born in New York and grew up in New Jersey. He did some lighting in high school, and then played in bands and eventually found work with music agency and became a band agent. When he met Rush, the band would ask him what he thought of their show, his constructive criticism and specific ideas soon had him moonlighting as a lighting consultant. In 1974, he left the agency business and went to work with Rush.
Other groups he’s lit up along the way include Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, Tesla, Rod Stewart, Van Halen, and Alicia Keys. When he was called on to light General Motors for the 1994 Canadian Auto Show, his unique grid-approach made for a low-lit aisle and cars the shined brilliantly like jewels – a look that was immediately copied by everyone else.
Last year, Ungerleider plotted the 40th Anniversary tour of Rush, and he continues his innovations through his company Production Design International.