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 >>



1982 was an exceptional year for Hollywood movies, so the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had an abundance of great films to vote for. Here’s a unique opportunity for you to get to know – or revisit – the five exceptional best picture nominees, and to make up your own mind as to which one was most worthy. They include two fact-based dramas, a comedy that explores issues of gender role-playing, a superlative courtroom thriller, and a magical fantasy about a boy’s friendship with an adorable space alien. Plentiful background information and trivia, including documentaries and interviews, will further enhance your enjoyment.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Steven Spielberg’s beloved and immensely popular fable tells the story of the bond that grows between an alien creature who’s stranded on earth and the ten-year-old boy who tries to help him return home. Henry Thomas heads the cast as Elliott, supported by Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote and the six-year-old Drew Barrymore. Nominations: nine; wins: two.
Gandhi: After 20 years of effort, director Sir Richard Attenborough was finally able to make his epic dream project: the life of Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian leader who, through non-violent protest, freed his country from British rule. Sir Ben Kingsley (best actor Oscar) heads a huge cast that includes Sir John Gielgud, Martin Sheen and Candice Bergen. Nominations: 11; wins: eight.
Missing: The father and the wife of an American writer who disappeared during the 1973 political coup in Chile run into a wall of hostile American bureaucracy as they try desperately to locate him. Exceptional, Oscar-nominated performances by Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek anchor this moving, fact-based drama. Nominations: four; wins: one.
Tootsie: Dustin Hoffman stars in this disarming romantic comedy-with-a-twist, as an unemployed actor with a ‘difficult’ reputation who disguises himself as a woman in order to land a role in a TV soap opera. Jessica Lange (supporting actress Oscar), Teri Garr and Bill Murray co-star. Nominations: 10; wins: one.
The Verdict: Paul Newman gives an excellent, Oscar-nominated performance as a hard-drinking lawyer who hopes to salvage his career and his self-esteem by taking on a prominent medical malpractice suit. Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden and James Mason co-star. Nominations: five; wins: none.

Please note: some of these films contain violence, disturbing images and/or coarse language, and that Gandhi (March 28) runs until approximately 10:00 pm.

Five Saturdays, February 28 to March 28
6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Fee: $85
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



English filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (together known as The Archers) pooled their superlative talents to create some of the most imaginative, colourful, and emotionally satisfying films made anywhere in the world during the 1940s. This course celebrates five of their finest movies, which they created in the incredibly brief period of just five years. Don Anderson will introduce each film with extensive background information and trivia. Fascinating behind-the-scenes documentaries and interviews will further enhance your enjoyment.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) follows the colourful adventures of a career English soldier (Roger Livesey) from the Boer War to World War Two, as the concepts of warfare, friendship, love, and honour underwent enormous changes. Deborah Kerr co-stars as the love(s) of his life.
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945): A headstrong young English woman (Wendy Hiller) journeys to Scotland to marry her wealthy fiancé, but love and Mother Nature may have other plans for her.
A Matter of Life and Death (1946): An English World War Two flying ace (David Niven) is mistakenly sent to heaven before his time. He seeks to resume his life on earth, with the help of the American soldier (Kim Hunter) he has fallen in love with.
Black Narcissus (1947): A Mother Superior (Deborah Kerr) and her fellow English nuns seek to establish a mission in the Himalayas, with disturbing and uniquely atmospheric results. The breathtaking cinematography and art direction won Oscars.
The Red Shoes (1948): Powell and Pressburger’s most famous movie, an absorbing look behind the scenes at a world-class ballet company, inspired countless young women to try their hands at becoming a ballerina. Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook head the cast. The number one box office film in North America for 1948, it won Oscars for art direction and musical scoring, and received nominations for picture, writing, and editing.

Five Thursdays, January 29 to February 26, 2015
Please note the 12:30 pm start times for The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and The Red Shoes. All other classes run from 1:00 pm to 4:00 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


I’m delighted to announce that through my recently established relationship with New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, I will be writing program notes for two touring concerts by world-class orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra (Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor) and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor). The concerts take place in February and March 2015.