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 35 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 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 >>




For white-knuckle suspense matched with intelligent adult drama, the best films of director John Frankenheimer are hard to beat. After cutting his teeth in the golden age of live television dramas, he moved to the big screen and created a masterful series of thrilling movies, often on explosive, topical subjects. Don Anderson has chosen five of them for this absorbing course. He will introduce each one with extensive background information and trivia, and bonus interviews and documentaries will enhance your enjoyment.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962): Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh star in this gripping, cold war-era political thriller. Co-star Angela Lansbury displayed her dark side in a chilling, Oscar-nominated performance as Harvey’s mother.
Seven Days in May (1964): The American military looks to take over the government, in this tense, all-too-believable story. The exceptional cast includes Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Frederic March, Ava Gardner and Edmond O’Brien, who received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for this performance.
The Train (1964): Frankenheimer re-teamed with Burt Lancaster for this pulse-quickening, fact-inspired story about the French Resistance’s attempt to stop the Nazis from stealing France’s art treasures during the final year of World War Two. Paul Scofield and Jeanne Moreau co-star.
Seconds (1966): Rock Hudson gives an outstanding dramatic performance in this harrowing, Twilight Zone-like tale of a middle-aged businessman’s desperate search for a new life.
Black Sunday (1977): Terrorists threaten an attack on the Super Bowl, in this electrifying, grandly scaled suspense drama starring Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern.

Five Thursdays, Mar. 30 – Apr. 27, 2017, 7:00 pm to 10:00 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.



Movie icon Kirk Douglas turns 100 on December 9, 2016 (yes, he’s still with us!). To honour the centenary of this true acting legend, Don Anderson has chosen five of his greatest films for this dynamic course. They will display the full range of his talent, from his trademark intensity to the thoughtful and tender. The movies were directed by some of the most brilliant of all filmmakers, including Stanley Kubrick and Billy Wilder. Don will enhance your enjoyment with plentiful background information and several absorbing interviews.

Ace in the Hole (1951): In this startlingly timely drama, Douglas portrays a hard-boiled big-city reporter, banished to a small desert town, who exploits a local tragedy in an attempt to return to his former glory. A flop on release, this cynical Billy Wilder film has become a certified classic.
Lust for Life (1956): Douglas gives a deeply sensitive, Oscar-nominated performance as tormented painter Vincent van Gogh. Gorgeously filmed on authentic locations, this is one of the greatest portraits of an artist in screen history. It received additional Oscar nominations for adapted screenplay and art direction, and Anthony Quinn won the supporting actor award for his vivid portrayal of van Gogh’s artist friend, Paul Gauguin.
Paths of Glory (1957): Based on a true-life incident from the First World War, this deeply moving film finds Douglas as an officer in the French army who is assigned to defend three soldiers who are unjustly being tried for cowardice. Director Stanley Kubrick’s first great film is one of the finest anti-war movies of all time. So potent is its impact that it was banned from exhibition in several countries for many years.
Spartacus (1960): Douglas stars in (and served as executive producer of) this spectacular drama about a slave army’s revolt against Rome in the first century B.C. The best written (Dalton Trumbo), best directed (Stanley Kubrick), the most uncompromising of the late `50s/early `60s historical epics, it boasts a superlative cast that includes Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton and Peter Ustinov. It won four Academy Awards out of six nominations, including Ustinov as supporting actor. Please note: this session will begin at 6:30 pm.
Lonely are the Brave (1962): A fiercely independent modern-day cowboy becomes the target of a manhunt after escaping from prison, in this compelling character portrait co-starring Gena Rowlands and Walter Matthau. Douglas has cited it as his best film.

Five Thursdays, Jan. 12 – Feb. 9, 2017
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, except as noted.
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.



This sweeping, dynamic course spirits you away on five fabulous adventures! Overflowing with brave deeds, epic conflicts, sterling heroes, exotic locales, thrills and romance, these classic pictures span more than 50 years of movie-making. Don Anderson will introduce each film with plentiful background information about the stars and film makers, and special features such as interviews and documentaries will increase your enjoyment.

The Sea Hawk (1940): Swashbuckler supreme Errol Flynn top-lines this lavish Warner Bros. blockbuster about a gallant sixteenth-century English sea captain who suspects that Spain plans to mount an armada to invade his homeland. Oscar nominations: music (Erich Wolfgang Korngold), art direction, special effects, sound.
The Great Escape (1963): This fact-based powerhouse follows Allied airmen as they tunnel their way out of a high-security World War Two German POW camp. Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough head a sterling cast that includes James Coburn, Charles Bronson and many more.
Please note: this session will run approximately three hours and 30 minutes.
The Man Who Would Be King (1975): Two ambitious British ex-soldiers set out to make their fortunes in a remote Middle Eastern country in this gloriously old-fashioned movie based on a Rudyard Kipling story. Sean Connery and Michael Caine make a fantastic pair of rogues, aided in spades by the sure hand of veteran director John Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre). Oscar nominations: adapted screenplay, art direction, costume design, editing.
The Last of the Mohicans (1992): In this thrilling, visually lush version of James Fennimore Cooper’s renowned 1826 novel, a bold frontiersman finds himself caught between English, French and Native American forces as they play out the American chapter of the Seven Years’ War. Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe head the cast, under the direction of Michael Mann (Heat).
El Cid (1961): Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren star in this mammoth epic about 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.
Please note: This session will run approximately three hours and 30 minutes.

Five Mondays, October 31 to November 28, 2016, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, except as noted
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.