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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 40 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 37 years ago, he has written 200 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 and Hong Kong. His latest clients are the prestigious Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Phoenix (Arizona) Symphony. 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 >>

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UPCOMING MCNALLY ROBINSON COURSES THROUGH MAY 2021

ERNST LUBITSCH: FIRST MASTER OF ROMANTIC COMEDY

Lubitsch created a catalogue of enchanting films that have retained their worldly-wise, old-world charm for many decades. He had enough faith in his audiences to not show them everything, and let them fill in the blanks of his bubbly, champagne plots. His protégé, the distinguished film maker Billy Wilder, posted a sign in his office that read, “What Would Lubitsch Do?” Bonus features including interviews and behind-the scenes anecdotes will enhance your enjoyment.

Trouble in Paradise (1932) Entanglements and jealousies develop when a gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner. Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins are featured, along with veteran scene-stealers Charlie Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton.
Ninotchka (1939) An unemotional Russian agent finds her state-dictated reserve melting in the warmth of a Parisian love affair. Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas headline this classic farce. “Garbo Laughs!”
The Shop around the Corner (1940) Two employees at a gift shop in Budapest can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the mail as each other’s anonymous pen pal. Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart and Frank Morgan star in this winsome story.
Cluny Brown (1946) A free-spirited parlor maid and a Czech refugee surprise an English village with their unconventional ways. Charles Boyer and Jennifer Jones head the cast of Lubitsch’s final completed film, an affectionate satire of all things English.

Four Tuesdays, October 13 to November 3, 2020
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Fee: $90

LEGENDARY PIANISTS, LIVE ON VIDEO

It’s glorious to hear great pianists play, but it’s even better to watch them, too! This magnificent keyboard feast brings you live video performances (concertos with orchestra, and solo selections) by Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein, Glenn Gould, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Martha Argerich, Murray Perahia, Alfred Brendel, Marc-André Hamelin, Yuja Wang, Jan Lisiecki and more. Repertoire includes music by Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Schumann, Bach and more. Fascinating anecdotes and interview footage will add to your enjoyment.

Five Tuesdays, November 10 to December 8, 2020
1:00pm to 3:00pm
Fee: $125

ELLA & CO. SING THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK

A hugely entertaining and nostalgic double helping of the best in mid-twentieth-century popular American music! You’re guaranteed to leave humming.

Part One: The Great American Songbook
Drawing first and foremost upon the revered series of “Songbook” recordings that Ella Fitzgerald – the First Lady of Song – made in the 1950s and 1960s, you’ll enjoy a glorious sampling of the greatest works by celebrated American songwriters such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen and Irving Berlin. Also performing are a superlative lineup of other gifted singers who have mined this evergreen catalogue, ranging from Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to Linda Ronstadt, k.d. lang, Diana Krall and Michael Bublé.

Part Two: Stormy Weather, the Movie
After lunch, you’ll enjoy the 1943 feature film Stormy Weather, featuring sensational performances by the crème de la crème of African-American performers, including Lena Horne, Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra, and “Fats” Waller, as well as dancers Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers.

Monday, November 23, 2020
Music: 10:00am to 12:00pm
Movie: 1:15pm to 2:45pm
Fee: $50

HOLLYWOOD’S TOP TEAMS

Call it chemistry! When the right pair of actors share the screen (sometimes several times), especially bright fireworks go off, and going to the movies hits new peaks of enjoyment. These five prime pairings – in movies ranging from comedies and dramas to adventures and musicals – celebrate the special magic that bounces off the screen when made-in-movie-heaven team-ups take place. Plentiful behind-the-scenes information will increase your enjoyment.

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in Adam’s Rib (1949)
Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband. The sensational Judy Holliday co-stars in a film that received an Oscar nomination for screenplay.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat (1935)
An American dancer comes to England and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer. This delicious song-and-dance confection received four Oscar nominations including best picture and best song for Irving Berlin’s classic, Cheek to Cheek.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep (1946)
When hard-boiled private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a wealthy general to stop his daughter from being blackmailed over gambling debts, Marlowe finds himself deep within a web of love triangles, murder, gambling, and organized crime. “Bogie and Baby’s” second pairing delivers plenty of twists, suspense and smoldering romantic banter.
Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
While England’s King Richard is off on a crusade, it’s up to a brave band of outlaws to battle against the forces of wicked Prince John. The Warner Bros. studio gave this greatest of all swashbuckling movies the lavish production values and noble, joyous spirit it deserved. Chivalry and romance never burned so brightly, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Oscar-winning music score underscores every action and emotion brilliantly. It won additional Oscars for art direction and editing, and was nominated for best picture.
Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting (1973) In this follow-up to Newman and Redford’s 1969 hit, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, two 1930s grifters team up to pull off the ultimate con. This hugely entertaining, light-hearted thriller received 10 Oscar nominations and won in seven categories: picture, director, screenplay, art direction, costumes, editing and music.

Five Tuesdays, January 26 to February 23, 2021
1:00PM to 4:00pm
Fee: $110

HISTORY ACCORDING TO HOLLYWOOD: A FESTIVAL OF EPIC FILMS

Nine hundred years of European history come vibrantly to life in this quartet of sweeping epic movies. A blend of straight-ahead action films and more thoughtful pictures, it’s anchored by two mammoth Samuel Bronston productions, directed by Anthony Mann. The Bronston films will be presented in their original “roadshow” format, complete with overtures and intermissions.

The Vikings (1958) Against the fierce background of the Vikings’ attempt to conquer England, two men who don’t know they’re half-brothers battle for the hand of the same English princess, in this hearty adventure that was glorious filmed on location in Norway. Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine and Janet Leigh head the cast. “A spectacular, brawling epic.” – Life magazine
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) The first of the course’s Samuel Bronston spectaculars charts the power struggles, betrayals and wars that ushered in the final centuries of the Roman empire. The superlative cast includes Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason and Christopher Plummer. Bronston’s stunning recreation of the Roman Forum remains the biggest set ever built for a movie. This film involves some of the same characters and events as Gladiator (2000). “Intelligent scripting and fine acting place this far above the usual empty-headed spectacular…A winner all the way.” – Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide
The Last Valley (1970) As the seventeenth century’s Thirty Years’ War ravishes central Europe, a band of mercenary German soldiers takes refuge with the inhabitants of a remote Alpine mountain valley in hopes of sitting out the remainder of the war in peace. Michael Caine and Omar Sharif head the cast of a film written, produced and directed by James Clavell (Shogun). “…a moving, unusually intelligent film of the same calibre as the later films of David Lean.” – DVD Talk
El Cid (1961) Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren star in the course’s second mammoth Samuel Bronston blockbuster. It tells the story of Spain’s greatest hero, an eleventh-century nobleman who united Christians and Moors to battle a common enemy for the destiny of their country. Spectacular in every way and sporting some of the most exciting action footage in screen history, this is an adventure for the ages. Oscar nominations: music (Miklós Rózsa) and art direction. “It is hard to remember a picture in which scenery and regal rites and warfare have been so magnificently assembled and photographed as they are in this dazzler.” – New York Times

Four Thursdays, March 4 to 25, 2021
6:00pm (class lengths vary, 2.5 to 3.5 hours)
Fee: $90

TCHAIKOVSKY: A LIFE IN SIX SYMPHONIES

Tchaikovsky won his enduring popularity through his unsurpassed flair for melody, his rich style of orchestration, and the powerful emotions that flow from his finest scores. His six symphonies chart the unfolding of his creative and personal lives as clearly as anything he composed. Each session in this absorbing course will conclude with one of them, All of them will be live video performances led by some of the most illustrious of maestros, including Leonard Bernstein, Valery Gergiev and Herbert von Karajan. Other major works to be sampled will include concertos, ballets, operas and symphonic poems. Extensive readings from his correspondence will add further insights.

Six Tuesdays, April 13 to May 17, 2021
1:00pm to 3:00pm
Fee: $150

These events take 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 www.mcnallyrobinson.com and click on Community Classroom. Please note that contents, fees and dates are subject to change.

SPEND A DAY WITH SINATRA!

COME FLY WITH ME – A SINATRA CELEBRATION!

It’s a full-scale, multi-faceted tribute to the Chairman of the Board! First you’ll enjoy more than two dozen of Old Blue Eyes’ finest recordings, spiced with glimpses of his life and times. After lunch, you’ll watch his Oscar-winning performance in the classic film drama, From Here to Eternity (1953). This brilliant movie focuses on a group of American soldiers, stationed in Hawaii, leading up to the Pearl Harbour attack. The stellar cast includes Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Sinatra and Donna Reed (supporting actress Oscar). The movie received a stunning 13 Oscar nominations and won eight, including picture and director.

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Music: 10am to 11:45am
Movie: 1:00pm to 3:15pm

Fee: $45 (lunch not included)

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 www.mcnallyrobinson.com and click on Community Classroom. Please note that contents, fees and dates are subject to change.

SERIOUS FUN – COMEDIES WITH HEART!

These six wonderful movies focus on humour but also have important things to say about love, kindness. conscience, self-esteem, moral principles and generosity. They’re guaranteed to leave you smiling but with food for thought, too. They feature some of the top screen talent of the day, headlined by legendary stars Cary Grant, James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Charles Laughton, Ronald Colman and Joel McCrea, and guided by top directors including Leo McCarey, Frank Capra, Preston Sturges, George Stevens and Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Interviews, documentaries and behind-the-scenes anecdotes will enrich your enjoyment.

Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) A reserved English valet finds himself in the wild west when an uncouth nouveau riche American wins his services in a poker game. Charles Laughton gives an outstanding performance in this heartwarming movie that was nominated for the best picture Oscar.
You Can’t Take It with You (1938) Comic complications ensue when a woman from a blissfully eccentric family, and the son of wealthy snobs, fall in love. This classic received seven Oscar nominations and won for picture and director (Frank Capra). Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore and Edward Arnold head the cast.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) Will a good-hearted prize fighter, taken to heaven 50 years before his time and reincarnated as a millionaire playboy, find true love amidst all these complications? Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains and Evelyn Keyes head the cast of this whimsical and touching delight. It received seven Oscar nominations including picture, director, leading actor, supporting actor (James Gleason) and screenplay, and it won for screenplay.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941) Does comedy matter in an often sorrowful world? A movie 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 film that was written and directed by the astonishingly gifted Preston Sturges. Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake are featured.
The Talk of the Town (1942) An unjustly imprisoned radical escapes from jail and vies with a distinguished, tradition-minded jurist for the hand of a school teacher. Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman star in a picture that proposes that sometimes the true spirit of the law lies beyond the letter of the law. It received seven Oscar nominations, including picture and screenplay.
People Will Talk (1951) An unconventional doctor defends his humanist practices and finds love within the walls of his own clinic, in this heartening film that’s anchored by Cary Grant’s stellar performance. Jeanne Crain, Walter Slezak and Hume Cronyn co-star.

Six Tuesdays, Oct 29 to Dec 3, 2019
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Fee: $130

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 www.mcnallyrobinson.com and click on Community Classroom. Please note that contents, fees and dates are subject to change.