Brian Finley


Brian Finley enjoys a multi-faceted career as a composer, pianist, director and impresario. In additional to several works for the stage, Brian’s compositions include music for piano, voice, choral works and arrangements for full symphony orchestra. He has written and produced several full-length opera-musicals including SAMSON (2001), Rapunzel (2005) and The Selfish Giant (2010) and most recently, an opera based on his own original story The Pencil Salesman inspired and commissioned by Dr. Agnes M. Herzberg (2016). As a director he has staged musical productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound of Music, The Magic Ornament and his own works including Requiem for a Millennium and A Westben Christmas Carol.

As a pianist, Brian has performed with orchestras from Dallas to Calgary as well as at the Olympic Music Festival in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, England, and the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Having appeared in over 10 international piano competitions including the 8th International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, he won the third prize in the AMSA International Competition in Cincinnati as well as the Gina Bachauer Award in Dallas. His recordings include solo piano music from Wigmore Hall, three critically acclaimed CDs with his wife, soprano Donna Bennett as well as world premiere recordings of his Requiem for a Millennium (1999) and Rapunzel (2005).  He has also been heard on CBC, CFMX, KING-FM in the US and on Soviet Television. As an accompanist, he has collaborated with some of Canada’s top singers including Adrianne Pieczonka, Richard Margison, Marie-Josée Lord, Mark DuBois, John Fanning as well as his cousin, Gerald Finley. With a Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Toronto, Brian's principal teachers included Maria Curcio (UK), Boris Lysenko and William Aide.

Together with his musical and life partner, soprano Donna Bennett, Brian co-founded the Westben Arts Festival Theatre near Campbellford, Ontario in 1999, serving ever since as the organization’s Artistic & Managing Director. Described as a cultural cornerstone in rural Ontario, the festival has brought together both professional and amateur musicians at “The Barn”, a uniquely inspiring custom-built timber-frame theatre situated in a lush meadow amongst the gently rolling farmlands of Northumberland County. Presenting artists ranging from Angela Hewitt to Oliver Jones, they have exposed audiences to an array of top quality musical presentations of fully-staged traditional and world premiere operas, symphonic and choral works, chamber and solo music, jazz, world and music theatre.  Their work has contributed to community-building in the region, and has played an important role in supporting Canadian music and emerging artists. Brian was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 in recognition of his work within his community and with his fellow Canadians. For their work with Westben, Donna and Brian were both appointed Members of the Order of Canada in 2017. 

Muddy Hack - Mike Wallace - creative genius

Muddy Hack - aka Mike Wallace

Ken Tizzard

Few Canadian musicians have had as fascinatingly diverse a career as Ken Tizzard. In over two decades Ken has gone from bassist in top Canadian rock bands The Watchmen and Thornley to emerging as an eloquent roots-based singer/songwriter with a prolific solo career.

"No Dark No Light" - Ken Tizzard 

“His new album No Dark No Light is his strongest work yet.  
The sparse instrumentation is acoustic-based, allowing Tizzard’s evocative and deeply soul-searching songs to shine.”
Kerry Doole - New Canadian Music
“Tizzard is a born storyteller… a little Townes Van Zandt can be heard as he 
performs a descriptive and hugely impressive folk blues number that speaks of how the devil lives in St Johns Newfoundland… his vocal style has more to do with John Hartford than anyone other than himself for presentation, 
warmed with a hint or two of James McMurtry.”
Maurice Hope - Americana UK 

Ontario Kelly Caravan Haylan

Ontario Kelly and Caravan Haylan

Terry Kelly (Ontario Kelly) and Joe Hay (Caravan Haylan) met some time around the turn of the century.  Terry recorded Joe’s first project on a 4 track and was instantly taken by his creativity, unique song writing and lyrics. They result was a 4-song EP that Joe shared with his dedicated and passionate fans, which were his family and friends. Terry recorded a version of one of the songs from that project, “Flower”, and this was later released on his Gibbusself-tilted” album.  

In the years that followed, Joe played drums for Terry at performances in and around the Trent Hills area.  Perhaps their most memorable gig was at one of Todd Kerr’s famous Canada Day parties, where a 6x6 swimming raft was pulled out of the Trent so that they could have a stage.

Joe and Terry recorded a lot of music in those years, mostly informally, for fun. Joe appeared on Terry’s Gibbus “self-titled” album, playing drums, harmonica and guitar. The album, released in 2002, was co-produced by Ken Tizzard and charted on campus radio across Canada, reaching #2 at University of Toronto’s CIUT FM radio.    

Terry and Joe often covered each other’s tunes at performances. Joe recorded Terry’s tune, “Montreal Protocol” and released this as part of his “Baskerville Oldface” EP.

Terry eventually moved to Ottawa to pursue a career in the public service and Joe moved to Peterborough, where he now owns and operates the Amusé Café with his partner, Lindsay Brock. There was always a yearning to work together on a comprehensive project, however, they never really got around to it, until now.


Stay tuned for Ontario Kelly and Caravan Haylan…


Elly Kelly

Elly Kelly - Nothing starts fans feet moving quicker than a good old-time tune played by someone who takes their music seriously. Elly Kelly is that person. Not unlike Floyd Cramer who had a unique touch that produced a sound all his own on piano, Elly Kelly has her own special touch on the accordion. You can sense that she loves the music and "lives" each note while she plays.


Elly Kelly - St John's Waltz 


Elly Kelly on Breakfast Television 

Elly Kelly with Terry Kelly - Isle Of Newfoundland 

Stay informed from BSR

Social Media