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On a Good Note

Composer James Rolfe wins $10,000 Ontario award

Opera can be cool. Composer James Rolfe (BMus 1983, MusM 1984), known for making operas a hot ticket with a wide audience, has received the Louis Applebaum Composers Award. The $10,000 prize, established by the Ontario Arts Foundation, honours excellence in music composition for theatre, music theatre, dance or opera. Rolfe composed the opera sensation Beatrice Chancy, which was performed across Canada between 1998 and 2000. George Elliott Clarke, the E.J. Pratt Professor in Canadian Literature at U of T, wrote the libretto for Chancy, while soprano Measha Brueggergosman (Mus Bac Perf 1999) performed the title role. Rolfe’s new children’s opera, Elijah’s Kite, will premiere in New York in April.

Four alumni have been appointed to the Order of Canada – the country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. Joining the order as members are Michael Macklem (BA 1950 TRIN), founder of Oberon Press, for communications; Lorna Marsden (BA 1968 UC), president and vice-chancellor of York University, for education/administration; Willy Norris (PhD 1956) of Calgary for science; and Clayton Ruby, partner, Ruby & Edwardh, for law.

Professor Wendy Pfeffer (MA 1974, PhD 1979) of the University of Louisville has a new title to add to her business card – Chevalier. The Government of France named Pfeffer a Chevalier in the prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) for her work as a scholar of French literature.

Naked ambition sometimes pays off. Actor David Julian Hirsh, star of the Showcase TV series Naked Josh, won a Gemini for Best Performing Arts Documentary Program for producing a film about Canadian actors looking for their big break in Los Angeles. Camp Hollywood follows the highs and lows of aspiring actors – including Hirsh himself – living at the Highland Gardens Hotel, a low-budget lodging just off Hollywood Boulevard. Hirsh studied criminology at U of T in the early 1990s.

Mario Bento (BASc 1988) is helping keep an island paradise clean and sustainable. Bento is project manager of Antigua’s first plastic and aluminum recycling facility, the Waste Recycling Corporation. The Rotary Club of Antigua-Sundown, which opened the facility last fall, won the United Nations Volunteers program award for “Volunteerism for National Development.” As the club’s director of service projects, Bento accepted the award on behalf of the Rotary Club at UN House in Barbados in December.

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