Artistic & Managing Director – Westben Arts Festival Theatre
Brian Finley is the co-founder of Westben Arts Festival Theatre as well as its Artistic & Managing Director. He also continues his multi-faceted career as a pianist, composer, director and impresario.
As a pianist, Brian has performed with numerous orchestras including the Dallas Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic as well as at the Olympic Music Festival in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, England and the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. He has appeared in over 10 international piano competitions including the 8th International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, and he won the third prize in the AMSA International Competition in Cincinnati as well as the Gina Bachauer Award in Dallas.
Brian’s compositions range from solo piano music to songs, choral works and arrangements for full symphony orchestra that have been heard from Victoria to Vienna. Many of his compositions, including his 70-minute Requiem for a Millennium, have been published internationally by Boosey & Hawkes in New York. His recordings include a collection of solo piano music from Wigmore Hall, three critically acclaimed CDs with his wife, soprano Donna Bennett as well as several recordings for CBC, CFMX, KING-Fm in the US and Soviet Television. As a director he has staged musical productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound of Music, Requiem for a Millennium, his own musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for Westben. In addition, he has written and produced three full-length opera-musicals: SAMSON (2001) and with Ken Tizzard Rapunzel (2005) and Selfish Giant (2010). Brian is currently working on an opera called The Pencil Salesman to be premiered at Westben in 2015.
Winner of two Floyd S. Chalmers Awards from the Ontario Arts Council, Brian holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Toronto as well as an ARCT. Principal teachers include William Aide, Boris Lysenko and the Schnabel pupil Maria Curcio with whom he worked in London, England. He has been a full scholarship student at the Banff Centre and the Victoria International Festival, as well as a frequent performer at the Olympic Music Festival in Washington. In 2002, Brian was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of his work within his community and with his fellow Canadians.