Music professor Brian Cherney appointed to the Order of Canada

A dozen other members of the McGill community are also honoured by Governor General Julie Payette
Brian Cherney has been a professor at the Schulich School of Music since 1972

Brian Cherney, a professor of composition at the Schulich School of Music has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (OOC). Cherney was recognized “for his lifelong devotion to Canadian music, as an internationally renowned composer, educator and scholar,” according to the OOC citation.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette (BEng’86, DSc’03), Governor General of Canada, announced the 61 new appointees to the OOC on December 30.

“Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation,” read the announcement. “More than 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order. Those who bear the Order’s iconic snowflake insignia have changed our nation’s measure of success and, through the sum of their accomplishments, have helped us build a better Canada.”

Appointments are made for sustained achievement at three levels: Companion, which recognizes national pre-eminence or international service or achievement; Officer which recognizes national service or achievement; and Member which recognizes outstanding contributions at the local or regional level or in a special field of activity. Officers and Members may be elevated within the Order in recognition of further achievement, based on continued exceptional or extraordinary service to Canada.

Closing on 50 years at Schulich

Cherney has been a fixture at the Schulich School of Music since 1972, where he teaches composition, twentieth-century analysis and twentieth-century music history. In 2005, he was the recipient of an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Faculty.

Cherney is also an award-winning composer who has written more than one hundred pieces, including concertos for violin, oboe and piano; chamber concertos for viola and cello; music for orchestra and much chamber music; as well as for solo instruments and choir. His music has been performed and broadcast throughout Canada, the USA, South America, Japan and Europe.

His String Trio (1976) and his orchestral work Into the Distant Stillness (1984) both won recognition at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, the former tying for first place. In 1985 he was awarded the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music for River of Fire.

“The Schulich School of Music congratulates Professor Cherney on this well-deserved honour and celebrates, with pride, his long association with the School and McGill University,” says Brenda Ravenscroft, Dean of the Schulich School of Music. “In addition to the key role he has played in shaping Canadian music and culture through his creative and scholarly work, Professor Cherney has inspired generations of students and colleagues through his musical and intellectual prowess.”

On top of the Cherney, another 12 members of the McGill family were appointed to the Order of Canada. They include:

Guy Berthiaume (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his leadership in the preservation of our collective heritage and for making it more accessible to all Canadians.

Guy Berthiaume (BCom ’80. MBA’86) is Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus. A historian specialized in the study of Classical Antiquity, he served as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec from June 22, 2009 to June 21, 2014, and, from June 23, 2014 to August 29, 2019, he served as Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

Myer Bick (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his exemplary leadership in fundraising for health establishments as well as for his multifaceted community service.

Myer Bick (BA’66, BCL’69) is the President Emeritus of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation. Bick was involved with the JGH for 17 years, serving as President and CEO until his retirement in 2018. During his tenure at the JGH, Bick led two major capital campaigns that achieved $200 million and $250 million respectively.

John Burrows (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his scholarly work on Indigenous rights and legal traditions, which have had a significant impact across Canada and abroad.

John Borrows is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School and is considered a leading authority on Canadian Indigenous law and constitutional law. Burrows is a recipient an Aboriginal Achievement Award in Law and Justice, a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, and a Fellow of the Academy of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. He was a Distinguished Tomlinson Visiting Professor at McGill’s Faculty of Law, in residence for the 2017-2018 university year.

John Challis (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his seminal contributions to the field of obstetrics and gynaecology, and to health research and innovation in Canada and abroad.

John Challis, who did is renowned for his research with colleagues from around the world focusing on pregnancy, preterm birth and the lingering impacts of stress on the fetus. Challis completed his training at Universities of Cambridge, University of California, San Diego and Harvard Medical School and held a junior research fellowship at Wolfson College, University of Oxford and McGill.

Serge Demers (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his multidisciplinary research into marine ecosystems and for his leadership within several marine science organizations.

Former Director of the Institut des sciences de la mer, Serge Demers (Graduate Management 2000) is renowned for his multidisciplinary research on marine ecosystems and for his leadership in several organizations related to marine sciences.

Elizabeth A. Edwards (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her foundational contributions to bioremediation and for amplifying the value of cross disciplinary collaboration.

Elizabeth A. Edwards, (BEng’83, MEng’85) is internationally known for her work on bioremediation, on the application of molecular biology and environmental genomics to microbial processes, and the translation of laboratory research into commercial practice.

Vivek Goel (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his contributions as an academic and administrator who is committed to the advancement of public health services, evidence-based health care and research innovation.

Vivek Goel (MDCM’84) is a distinguished scholar with an extensive background in teaching, research and university administration. His research has focused on health services evaluation and the promotion of the use of research evidence in health decision-making.

Marilyn McHarg (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her expertise and leadership of global health initiatives supporting underserved communities, notably through Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.

Marilyn McHarg, who earned a Master’s degree in Applied Sciences in Nursing from McGill in 1987, was President and CEO of Dignitas International, as well as a founding member and General Director of the Canadian section of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, the world’s leading independent medical humanitarian organization.

Morris Moscovitch (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his contributions to the fields of clinical neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience, notably his ground-breaking memory research.

Morris Moscovitch (BSc ’66) has been a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto since 1971. Moscovitch is a senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute and Baycrest Centre, where he is also the Max and Gianna Glassman Chair in Neuropsychology and Aging. There he works exploring the brain mechanisms that mediate cognitive functions, such as memory.

Brian David Segal (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his leading business acumen in Canadian academic administration and for supporting numerous charitable endeavours.

Brian David Segal (BSc.’64) was President of Ryerson University from 1980 to 1988 and President and Vice-Chancellor of University of Guelph from 1988 to 1992. From 1992 to 1999 he was Publisher of Maclean’s magazine and Senior Vice President of Rogers Publishing. From 1999 until his retirement at the end of 2011 he was President and CEO of Rogers Publishing.

Daniel John Taylor (Officer of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For his achievements as an internationally renowned opera singer and for his commitment to mentoring the next generation of Canadian singers.

Countertenor Daniel Taylor, (LMus’92), is one of Canada’s most celebrated cultural ambassadors. Distinguishing himself with moving performances and known for his warmth and humour, he has appeared on the world’s greatest stages with prestigious orchestras, composers and artists. Serving as founding artistic director and conductor of the Theatre of Early Music, and of the critically-acclaimed ensemble The Trinity Choir, he is highly regarded as a university professor and mentor to the next generation of singers.

Frances Westley (Member of the Order of Canada)

OC citation: For her contributions to the study and application of social innovation in Canada and abroad.

Frances Westley (DipEd’72, MA’74, Phd’78) is a renowned scholar and consultant in the areas of social innovation, strategies for sustainable development, strategic change, visionary leadership and inter-organizational collaboration. She was the James McGill Professor of Strategy at the Desautels Faculty of Management, where she designed and directed an MA program in national voluntary sector leadership and the McGill Dupont Program for Social Innovation.

Did we miss anybody? If you know of an Order of Canada honouree with ties to McGill who was announced in this latest round but isn’t mentioned above, please let us know at