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 34 years ago, he has written more than 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 >>




Each of these outstanding films tells a story containing powerful emotions, a strong, involving plot and vividly performed characters. As widely varied as they are in subject matter, they share deep insights into such vital issues as love, honour, compassion, courage and conscience. You won’t soon forget them. Don Anderson will introduce each of them with extensive background information and trivia. Bonus documentaries and interviews will enrich your enjoyment.
Make Way for Tomorrow (1937): This excellent film treats a subject that remains extremely timely: how people should treat their aging parents. Director Leo McCarey (Going My Way, An Affair to Remember) filmed this touching story with dignity, grace and poignancy. Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi and Thomas Mitchell head the cast.
Random Harvest (1942): A World War One veteran (Ronald Colman) awakens in a hospital to discover that he has amnesia. His search for his identity brings surprising, highly emotional results. This ultra-smooth production from MGM, the Tiffany’s of Hollywood studios, co-stars Greer Garson and does full justice to the James Hilton novel it was based on.
Watch on the Rhine (1943): Nazi sympathizers in Washington D.C. target a man who has arrived from Europe after working for the German underground. Lillian Hellman’s powerful play inspired Paul Lukas to give the performance of his life as the refugee freedom-fighter. He beat out such better-known stars as Humphrey Bogart (in Casablanca) and Gary Cooper (For Whom the Bell Tolls) to win the best actor Oscar for this film. Bette Davis co-stars as his wife.
A Face in the Crowd (1957): Here’s another film of startling timeliness, showing how the mass media can manipulate the public into accepting whatever it gives them. A radio talent scout (Patricia Neal) discovers a down-on-his-luck singer/comedian (Andy Griffith, who gives a performance that will astonish you) and shapes his increasingly influential career path. This joint creation of writer Budd Schulberg and director Elia Kazan (who had previously teamed up for 1954’s best picture Oscar winner, On the Waterfront) is quite undeservedly one of the least-known of the great American films.
The Accidental Tourist (1988): While attempting to recover from the death of their young son, an emotionally distant travel writer (William Hurt) and his wife (Kathleen Turner) discover how difficult such a period of life can be. Geena Davis won the supporting actress Oscar for her vivid performance as a brash dog-sitter who shakes up the Hurt character’s life. This poignant, at times quirkily funny drama also received Oscar nominations for picture, adapted screenplay and music.
Five Thursdays, Oct. 1 – Oct. 29, 2015
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 and click on Community Classroom. Please note that contents, fees and dates are subject to change.



Master director Stanley Kubrick’s first great film is one of the most powerful and haunting anti-war movies ever made. Set in France during the First World War and based on a true-life incident, it stars Kirk Douglas at his most intensely righteous as a military lawyer defending soldiers who are being undeservedly court-martialled for cowardice under fire. So potent and moving is this film that it was banned from being shown in France, Spain and Switzerland for many years. Don Anderson will introduce the film, and background featurettes and interviews will enhance your enjoyment. You’ll also have an opportunity to voice you feelings in a post-screening discussion.

Tuesday September 1
1 pm to 4 pm
Fee: $20

This event 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 Second World War was a golden era for popular music in the Allied countries. Countless songs that have become beloved and enduring favourites appeared during that period, and this hugely entertaining presentation includes many of them. Featured artists include Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Vera Lynn, Doris Day and many more. You’ll also enjoy rare film clips featuring the likes of Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington, plus stirring marches from such war-period movies as The Great Escape and Patton. Classical music selections will include appealing works by Copland, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and other major composers.

Tuesday August 25
2 pm to 4 pm
Fee: $20

BONUS: Come at 1:30 and enjoy a special ‘pre-game’ screening of additional music clips from vintage war-time movies.

This event 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