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 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 London Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and 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 >>




This intriguing course explores the relationships – personal and musical – that link two of the nineteenth century’s finest composers: Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvořák. These two masters, so utterly different in personality and beliefs, became close friends and influenced each other’s music in fascinating ways. You’ll hear a wide variety of music by both composers (familiar and lesser-known pieces alike), and learn much about their lives. The course will conclude with a stunning live concert DVD of music by both composers, with Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.

Five Wednesdays, Apr. 15 – May 13, 2015
10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Fee: $80

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


This enormously entertaining course pays homage to one of the most beloved and most versatile movie actors in history – James Stewart. It covers the full range of his career, from early to late, whimsical to nightmarish, from high society drawing rooms to western plains to the courtroom. It presents three of the five films for which he was nominated for an Oscar (including the winner). Don Anderson will introduce each movie with plentiful background information and trivia, and bonus documentaries, interviews and short subjects (including a hilarious Jack Benny TV episode) will enrich your appreciation of this revered screen icon.

The Philadelphia Story (1940): Stewart won his only Academy Award for this enchanting romantic comedy. He plays a tabloid-style reporter who’s covering the impending marriage of a wealthy Pennsylvania socialite. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn co-star.
Winchester `73 (1950): In one of the key films that revived the western in a new, more mature and psychologically complex style for the post-World War Two era, Stewart plays the owner of a prize rifle who pursues it from place to place after it is stolen. Shelley Winters and Dan Duryea co-star.
Vertigo (1958): The best of Stewart’s four films with Alfred Hitchcock has been hailed as one of the finest pictures of all time. It’s a spellbinding thriller that leads Stewart’s retired San Francisco detective, who has a fear of heights, into a maze of mystery and suspense.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959): Stewart’s humble but wily small-town attorney defends a soldier who’s been accused of killing the man who raped his wife, in this tense, absorbing courtroom thriller. Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara and George C. Scott co-star.
Harvey (1950): Stewart was the perfect choice to portray Elwood P. Dowd, a wise, gentle fellow whose constant companion (he claims) is a tall, invisible rabbit named Harvey. Will society let him be, or will his sister (Josephine Hull, Oscar winner for best supporting actress) succeed in having him institutionalized?

Five Thursdays, April 2 to April 30, 2015
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Please note: the class on April 23 (Anatomy of a Murder) begins at 12:30 pm.

Fee: $80

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



This absorbing course illuminates the last 225 years of classical music by examining six pieces whose brilliant innovations substantially affected the evolution of the art. Whether it was a deepening of music’s human content, an expansion of the size of a type of piece, a heightened sense of fantasy, or a broadening of orchestral colour – or several of these facets at the same time – each of these brilliant compositions (two symphonies, two operas, a ballet and an orchestral concert work) changed music forever.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
Richard Wagner: Tristan and Isolde
Claude Debussy: Prelude to ‘The Afternoon of a Faun’
Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Instructor Don Anderson will discuss not only the pieces themselves but the music that inspired them, and music that they inspired. The starry lineup of featured performers on DVD and CD includes conductors Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Sir Simon Rattle, Leopold Stokowski and Michael Tilson Thomas; singers Renée Fleming and Bryn Terfel; front-rank orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony; The Metropolitan Opera; and the Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg.

Daytime Course
Tuesdays, March 3 – April 7, 2015
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Location: Millennium Library, 251 Donald St. second floor
Evening Course
Wednesdays, March 4 – April 8, 2015
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Bryce Hall, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Ave.

Fee: $95 (six weeks)

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