Honorary Degrees

N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may be available at the University Archives.

Name: Gerald Finley
Convocation date: October 24, 2015
Citation / biographical information:
Grammy award-winning bass-baritone Gerald Finley is a leading singer and dramatic interpreter of his generation, with acclaimed performances at the world’s major opera and concert venues and award‑winning recordings on CD and DVD in a wide variety of repertoire. Mr. Finley’s career is devoted to the wide range of classical vocal art, encompassing opera, choral, orchestral and song, collaborating with the greatest orchestras and conductors of our time.
Mr. Finley was born in Montreal, began singing in Ottawa, and completed his musical studies in the UK at the Royal College of Music in London, and King’s College, Cambridge. He made his debut in the chorus of the Glyndebourne Festival in the UK, moving on to the main baritone roles of Mozart; his Don Giovanni, Figaro and Count have since been heard on DVD, and live in the major opera houses of the world.
In recent years, his successful focus has been in the Wagner and Verdi repertoire: as Hans Sachs at the Glyndebourne Festival, as Amfortas in Parsifal at Royal Opera Covent Garden, Iago in Otello on CD and as Falstaff at the Canadian Opera. He has excelled in creating leading roles, most notably J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams’ Doctor Atomic, and Jaufré Rudel in Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin.
In 2012, his CD Arias in English received the Canadian Juno Award in Vocal Performance and the DVD release of Doctor Atomic was awarded the Grammy for Best Opera Recording.
Modern day composers have written extensively for Mr. Finley in concert repertoire and include Peter Lieberson, Mark Anthony Turnage, and Einojuhani Rautavaara.
As a celebrated song recitalist, Mr. Finley works regularly with pianist Julius Drake. His many solo recital CD releases have been devoted to songs of Barber, Britten, Ives, Ravel, Liszt, and Schubert and Schumann song cycles. He has won an unprecedented three Gramophone Awards in the Solo Vocal category. The release of Schubert’s Winterreise was awarded the 2015 Juno Award.
He is a Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music and gives celebrated masterclasses throughout the world, most recently at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and the Schulich School at McGill University.
Mr. Finley was honoured by Opera Canada with a Ruby Award in 2012. In 2014, Mr. Finley climbed Kilimanjaro for the charity Help Musicians UK raising $10000 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Degree received: Doctor of Letters

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