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