THE SCOOP | Order of Canada Appointees Announced, Including Big Names From The Arts

(L-R) George Stroumboulopoulos (Photo: Danilo Ursini/ CC BY 2.0); Ardyth Brott (Photo courtesy Brott Music); Linda Manzer (Video image capture)
This week, Governor General Mary Simon announced 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada. The honorees include a diverse group of industry leaders, authors, luthiers, artists, and journalists.
The appointments feature three “companions” of the Order, the highest level of recognition, alongside 15 officers—one being an honorary officer—and 59 members.
Ardyth Brott, C.M. stands out as the Executive Director of the Brott Music Festival. As the widow of the late conductor Boris Brott, she has been pivotal in establishing the festival, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and BrottOpera. The Brott Music Festival is noted as Ontario’s premier and Canada’s largest orchestral music festival, now celebrating its 36th year. Ardyth has also achieved literary success with her best-selling book, “Jeremy’s Decisions.”
Deantha Edmunds, C.M., a native of Corner Brook, developed her musical talents from a young age, drawing inspiration from her father’s choir experiences in Hopedale, Labrador. She has been recognized for her roles as a composer, mentor, and performer, with notable audiences including King Charles and Pope Francis. 
Patricia Fraser, C.M., has been the Artistic Director of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre for almost three decades. She has played a crucial role in developing a supportive network for dance education in Canada.
Tim Jones, C.M., the former CEO of Artscape in Toronto, has significantly impacted Canada’s arts scene, contributing to the creation of cultural venues and affordable housing for artists. Currently leading Base31 in Prince Edward County, Jones continues to fuse arts, entertainment, and community development.
Linda Manzer, C.M., a renowned luthier from Almonte, Ontario, began her celebrated fifty-year career under the influence of Joni Mitchell. She apprenticed with Jean-Claude L’arrivée and Jimmy D’Aquisto, leading to innovations like the Pikasso guitar. Her recent Sunflower Guitar initiative has raised significant funds for Ukraine.
George Stroumboulopoulos, C.M., affectionately known as “Strombo,” is celebrated for his two-decade-long influence in music media. His career includes a variety of roles, from VJ on MuchMusic to hosting on CBC, Rogers, and Apple Music. He has been pivotal in showcasing emerging artists and remains a prominent figure in Canadian households.
Other distinguished recipients include filmmaker Peter Pearson, visual artist Yisa Akinbolaji, and musician and multiculturalism advocate Alfredo Caxaj.
For the complete list of honorees, see [HERE].

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto. Latest posts by Michael Vincent (see all)

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Angela Gheorghiu Explores Puccini’s Rare Gems

A te, Puccini (Signum)
Presto Classical | Apple Music
Giacomo Puccini died 100 years ago of throat cancer, on November 29, 1924. Almost every opera he wrote was an instant hit, so he hardly bothered to write anything else – other than some church music, a string quartet and a fistful of drawing-room songs that get little attention. I don’t think I have seen a complete album of them before.
His thumbprint is recognisable throughout. A ‘Storiella d’amore’ in his early 20s sounds like a sketch for a Mimi aria in La Bohème a decade later. The title song, ‘A te’, written when he was just 16, sounds like chippings off Verdi’s woodpile. ‘Avanti, Urania’ belongs more to Tosca mode. The songs, with piano accompaniment, are mildly enjoyable, borderline trivial. The last track, ‘Melanconia’ aims for psychological profundity and misses by a country mile. Puccini had many assets but depth, spirituality and intellect were not prominent in his creative portfolio.
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Accompanied by Vincenzo Scalera, the Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu milks these miniatures for all – and more than – they have got. The last time she sang in London, Gheorghiu was savaged in the Times for singing her first three arias some way out of tune with the orchestra. Here there is no problem with intonation (unless it was digitally corrected). Gheorghiu’s instrument is still formidable and pleasurable, notwithstanding a tendency to shrillness in the upper storeys. I’d give the producer Anna Barry a cover credit for keeping emotional overflow in check and letting Gheorghiu remind us how she sounded at her abundant best.
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Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries. Latest posts by Norman Lebrecht (see all)