Don Anderson

Praised in the Winnipeg Free Press as “Winnipeg’s classical music hero” and for “an astounding musical career,” and on CBC Radio as “Manitoba’s foremost musical historian,” Don Anderson is an internationally recognized advocate of classical music. He has more than 35 years’ professional experience in celebrating it through print, radio, and teaching.

Don is one of North America’s most widely published authors of program notes. Since he began writing them 33 years ago, he has written 180 seasons’ worth, for 25 orchestras, chamber ensembles and schools, from British Columbia and California to New York and Vermont, from Manitoba and Minnesota to Texas and Arkansas, as well as the United Kingdom. His latest client is the prestigious Mostly Mozart Festival at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York. His other clients have included the major symphonies of Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Rochester (New York), and San José (California). He has also written notes for touring performances by the orchestras of Montréal, Ottawa (National Arts Centre Orchestra) and Québec, as well as feature articles for many of his clients. His CD liner notes appear on the Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, CBC and TSO Live labels. For the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, he has also written season brochures and concert presentations, and has hosted intermission chats in tandem with such world-class solo artists as violinists Maxim Vengerov and Janine Jansen.

He is the author, publisher and distributor of the best-selling book Tuning the Forks: A Celebration of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. It has been hailed as “the best book on music-making in Canada (and for that matter, much wider afield) that I’ve ever read, and a serious work of art in itself.” – Bramwell Tovey

Don has contributed articles to magazines in Canada and abroad, such as Opera Canada, the SwissAir Gazette, and the program books of England’s Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He wrote for the Winnipeg Free Press, the city’s major newspaper, over a 25-year period (1977-2002). His contributions included reviews of concerts, recordings, videos and movies, plus feature articles and interviews. He is also a contributor to The Encyclopedia of Manitoba. MORE >>



Just in time for Halloween, this course presents a quartet of ghost stories with no gore, no blood (well, just a little in one film) no scaly monsters or mad slashers. They’re just the kind of subtle, disturbingly atmospheric, adult-orientated movies that truly chill the spine. Don Anderson will introduce each film with plentiful background information and trivia.

The Uninvited (1944): A brother and sister begin to suspect that the reason why they were able to purchase a lovely seaside English cottage so cheaply is the fact that it’s haunted. Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey and Gail Russell headline this quietly eerie and cleverly plotted thriller.
The Innocents (1961): Deborah Kerr gives an Oscar-worthy performance in this film version of the celebrated novel The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. She plays a proper English governess of the Victorian era who fears that the children for whom she is responsible may be possessed by evil spirits. The screenplay by Truman Capote and William Archibald won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the movie was nominated for the Palme d’or (the highest award) at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Haunting (1963): When psychic investigators move into an isolated nineteenth-century New England mansion to find out if its reputation for violent death and insanity has any basis in science, they experience far more than what they bargained for. Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson and Russ Tamblyn head the cast.
The Orphanage (2007): This impressive film from Spain hails back to the style of the other movies in this course. When a woman who was raised in an orphanage returns to the institution as an adult to turn it into a home for special needs children, strange events begin to befall her and her young son. This movie won seven Barcelona Film Awards, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars, including film and lead actress (Belén Rueda). In Spanish with English subtitles.

Four Thursdays: October 30, November 6, November 20 & November 27
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Fee: $65
This course takes place in the Community Classroom at McNally Robinson Booksellers, 1120 Grant Ave. To register, please call 204 475 0483, drop by the store, or log on to


The 1930s and early 1940s was a golden age for movie comedies, and this uproarious course brings you six of the funniest features from that time. Styles range from upper-class wit to pure slapstick. Don Anderson will introduce each film with plentiful background information and trivia. Among the many special features are short films starring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello, plus several of the finest animated cartoons of the period (Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, et al.).

Horse Feathers (1932) and Duck Soup (1933): What better way to kick things off than with a Marx Brothers double feature? Whether the location is the hallowed halls of Huxley College or the toy-soldier kingdom of Freedonia, Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo deflate every available pomposity and pursue every pretty girl in sight (interrupted by musical interludes).
The Women (1939): A high-society wife doesn’t know what to do when she discovers that her husband is having an affair with a predatory shop girl, at the same time as her many friends are having amorous problems of their own, in this hilarious, ultra-sharp comedy extravaganza. Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell and Joan Fontaine head the sterling, all-female cast.
Hellzapoppin’ (1941): The virtually forgotten team of Ole Olsen and Chick Johnson headline this carnival of sheer nuttiness, a movie version of their long-running, semi-improvised Broadway burlesque show. With its nonstop gags, pop culture parodies and catchy, surreal musical numbers, it influenced everyone from Abbott and Costello to Hope and Crosby to Rowan and Martin and Mel Brooks. “Mrs. Jones!”
His Girl Friday (1940): Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell headline master director Howard Hawks’ breathless farce about a cunning newspaper editor and his former star reporter/wife who are drawn into the exciting case of an escaped criminal.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941): Does comedy matter in an often sorrowful world? A film director who’s made nothing but silly comedies vows to make his next picture serious and important instead. To learn about the destitute side of life, he takes to the road as a hobo, in this brilliant comedy/drama written and directed by the astonishingly gifted Preston Sturges. Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake head the cast.
Fee: $80
Five Thursdays, September 25 to October 23, 2014
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
This course is held in the Community Classroom at McNally Robinson Booksellers, 1120 Grant Ave. To register, please call 204 475 0483, drop by the store, or log on to



Are you interested in classical music but don’t know how to get started? This is the course for you! You’ll learn the basics through these entertaining and informative sessions. You don’t need any technical knowledge to enjoy them – just bring your curiosity! People with greater knowledge of music will enjoy the course, too.

Instructor Don Anderson will play recordings and show DVDs that showcase representative composers from all the major musical periods, that demonstrate major musical forms (symphony, sonata, concerto, rondo, theme and variations), and performance practices (pizzicato, crescendo, modern vs. ‘period’ instruments).

With expert assistance from special guests Vincent Ho, composer-in-residence with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Patricia Evans, principal horn of the WSO, and (on DVD) legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, he’ll examine the great mystery: just what do composers, conductors and orchestral musicians do, anyway? The course will include request segments to cover topics that Don didn’t think of in advance.

Daytime Course
Tuesdays, October 28 – December 2 (no class Nov. 11)
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Evening Course
Wednesdays, October 22 – November 19
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

FEE: $80.00 (five weeks)

The daytime course takes place at the Millennium Library, 251 Donald St. The evening course takes place in the Ensemble Room, Bryce Hall, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Ave. It will be offered if a minimum of eight people enroll.
Contents, fees, dates and locations are subject to change.

To enroll or for more information, call the Manitoba Conservatory of Music & Arts at 204 943 6090 or email