Julie Payette, Canada's 29th Governor General
Julie Payette, Canada's 29th Governor General

Governor General Announces New Order of Canada Appointments

Brian Robertson, Jay Switzer and Jann Arden are three of eight music industry notables announced as new appointments to the Order of Canada by Governor General Julie Payette.

Named an Officer of The Order of Canada is Brian Robertson, recognised for "his steadfast leadership in developing, promoting and enhancing our entertainment industry on air, on screen and on stage."

Robertson served as CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) president from 1974 to 2004 and was one of the founders of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). He was also President of CRIA’s licensing arm, the Audio-Video Licensing Agency Inc. (AVLA, and now known as Connect). He represented Canada on the board of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and was a past-President of the Toronto Arts Awards Foundation, a Governor of the Shaw Festival, and was instrumental in the creation of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation.

Also named an Officer is actor William Shatner, a man who has also dabbled in music and who served as Juno Awards host in 2012. He is honoured for "his iconic contributions to popular culture spanning theatre, television and film, and for his philanthropic support of causes related to health care, the environment and the well-being of children."

Jay Switzer is named a Member of the Order of Canada for his exemplary leadership in the Canadian broadcasting community and his mentorship of emerging Canadian artists and filmmakers.

The son of cable pioneer Israel (Sruki) Switzer and CITY-TV co-founder Phyllis Switzer, he worked closely with Moses Znaimer in the ‘70s and ‘80s, helping build a marquee of successful brands that included MuchMusic, CityTV, CP24, Fashion Television, and going on to become President of CHUM Television. He also co-founded four specialty TV channels under the blanket branding Hollywood Suite.  

Jann Arden is named a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of "her achievements as a singer-songwriter and broadcaster, and for her extensive charitable work."  Beginning with her 1993 debut Time For Mercy, the Calgary-based Arden has released 14 albums. She has been nominated for 19 Juno Awards, winning eight.

She received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2006 and a year later was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2007, she also won the International Achievement Award at the 2007 Western Canadian Music Awards. Arden has written four memoirs, the most recent being 2017's Feeding My Mother.

Quebec jazz bassist Alain Caron is honoured as a Member of the Order "for his contributions as a six-string electric bass virtuoso and his role in mentoring musicians in Canada and abroad." Caron was a founding member of popular fusion ensemble UZEB. Between 1976 and 1992, the group recorded ten albums that sold over 400,000 copies and performed in more than 20 countries. As a solo artist, he has released seven albums, two of which won Felix Awards. He has also recorded with Leni Stern and Gino Vannelli and toured with such artists as Mike Stern, Biréli Lagrène, Didier Lockwood, and Billy Cobham.

BC jazz guitarist Oliver Gannon also receives Member status, and is cited "for his achievements as a musician and his contributions to Vancouver’s jazz scene." Gannon won a Juno Award for Best Traditional Jazz Album in 1983 for his album of duets with Fraser MacPherson, I Didn't Know About You. In 2003 he was named Canada's Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year by the National Jazz Awards, and he has performed on many Juno nominated albums, including three with Ian McDougall. He has released seven albums under his name.

Gordon Stobbe is named as a Member of the Order of Canada, "for his commitment to the preservation of fiddle music as a performer, composer and teacher." Originally from Saskatchewan, Stobbe has lived in the Maritimes since 1977. He has hosted and performed on television series and radio shows, performed in musical theatre productions, and is in-demand as a fiddle instructor across Canada. He has published many fiddle instruction books and tune collections of traditional as well as original music.

Also honoured as a Member is Valerie Tryon, "for her internationally celebrated career as a pianist and for her contributions as an educator and builder of classical music culture." The British-born Tryon has lived in Canada since 1971 but continues to pursue an international performing and recording career. She has performed piano concertos with the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and other major orchestras.

As a soloist, she is especially noted for her performances of the works of Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff. Currently 'Artist-in-Residence' at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, she is active as a concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, accompanist and adjudicator.

Read the full list of appointments here

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