Why we do what we do
Looking at the Stars is a Canadian Registered Federal Charity authorized to issue tax receipts for charitable donations.
Historic first prison event. Bath Institution, December 29, 2015, with Dmitri Kanovich, Founder, and Lukas Geniušas, Founding Musician.
We would like to expand our classical music gift program across the globe
— to everyone, who needs classical music most and expects it least
— and continue to restore dignity and hope where it was lost.
We provide our classical music gifts to prisoners in federal correctional facilities, residents of long-term care institutions, refugees and war victims in Canada, Lithuania and Ukraine.
More than 100 interactive classical music concerts have been presented to about 7,500 attendees and millions of people across the globe viewed our recitals in the war zone in Ukraine.
We create a unique environment of respect and reflection. We invite world-class musicians to present a repertoire of classical and contemporary compositions. Our concerts promote intimate interaction between performers and audience members, elevating passive consumption to interactive engagement.
Founder and CEO
Looking at the Stars Foundation
A former refugee, Dmitri Kanovich refers to the first 29 years of his life, spent behind the iron curtain in then Soviet Lithuania, as his incarceration period. As soon as he made the decision to exit, he was immediately fired from a prestigious job as a state traitor and was forced to smoke fish and bind books up until his expulsion from the Soviet jail in the fall of 1983.
After receiving his first bitter education as a new immigrant in Austria and Italy, in December 1983 he arrived in Canada as a refugee with his family, $300 in his pocket and a firm belief in the brighter future.
30 years later after a successful corporate career as a business and IT executive, he parted with most of his illusions and has recognized the necessity to commit himself to doing something meaningful to him personally and to his new home country. Dmitri chose to gift classical music to those, whose struggles and challenges were similar to his own – those, who needed the “therapy” of classical music most and who expected it least and Looking at the Stars Foundation was created for this very purpose in April 2016.
Since then over 100 such gifts (conversational music concerts) were delivered to the inmates of correctional institutions, residents of long-term care facilities, refugees and war victims in Canada, Lithuania and Ukraine.
And the journey continues.
“I Look at the Stars” is the name of the first book written by my father, back in 1959. It is the story of an orphan in a little village whose only fortune is the sky full of stars. In the story the boy looked at them every night. They were his inspiration. They helped him feel good about the world and every human being, because the stars had the magic power of inspiration through distraction. They were a diversion into an imaginary world of justice, peace and brotherhood; the world and the stars converged into a single universe of love and hope. This project was inspired by this story and my family.”
Considered one of the world’s foremost classical violinists, Gidon Kremer has performed with all of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, conductors, and concert halls. He has received many prestigious awards, including international awards for his recordings that now number 120 albums. He plays a violin made by Nicola Amati in 1641 and is the author of four books. In 2016, Kremer received the Praemium Imperiale prize that is widely considered the Nobel Prize of music.
Kremer accepted the appointment of the Honorary President of Looking at the Stars following a performance for the inmates of Pacific Institution in Abbotsford, BC.
“I was thrilled to share my music with these inmates, they were receptive, enthusiastic and I found them to be more attentive than typical concertgoers I’ve performed for,” said Kremer. “I am pleased to receive this honor and endorse Looking at the Stars for the incredible work they do, because music feeds the soul, it heals, and the positive emotions one feels, opens a part of them that allows them to share their feelings.”
Lukas Geniušas, Founding Musician
Russian-Lithuanian pianist Lukas Geniušas has firmly established himself as one of the most exciting and distinctive artists of his generation.
Praised for his “brilliance and maturity” (The Guardian) he is invited to give recitals in the most prestigious venues all over the world such as Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Salle Gaveau, Auditorium du Louvre, Frick Collection New York, Phillips Collection, Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Teatro Carlo Felice, Sala Verdi in Milan and the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. He is also regularly invited to festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Piano aux Jacobins, Rheingau, the Ruhr Piano Festival, Schloss-Elmau and the Lockenhaus Music Festivals.
Artistic Director, European Union
Due to his exceptional musical sensitivity and talent as well as appealing forms of expression and unique interpretations, Darius Mažintas has gained broad recognition by Lithuanian audiences. As well-known Lithuanian conductor maestro Saulius Sondeckis said in 2010, “the pianist is worth international attention, too.” This graduate of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre is a winner of numerous national and international music competitions.
Several albums were recorded by the pianist among which a solo album (2011) including pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Scriabin present. The biography of the pianist encompasses over 150 successful concerts as well as numerous cultural and interdisciplinary initiatives aimed at spreading classical music for broader audiences.
S. Gordon Harwood, Artist in Residence
Gordon supports Looking at the Stars as Artist in Residence, creating abstract works of art during the musical performances with the musicians in the correctional institutions in Ontario and Quebec. In describing his abstract work, “I consider myself a colourist; possessing a growing appreciation for the relationship between colour, brush stroke, and the emotive energy that can engage the viewer. He enjoys the collaborative effort of working alongside the musical performers associated with Looking at the Stars.
His work can be found at www.sgordonharwoodartist.com.
Mychol Scully, Technical Director
Mychol Scully supports Looking at the Stars as Technical Director, managing the Foundation’s website, and consults on marketing and social media initiatives. His past experience as Systems Analyst, Project Manager, Facility Designer, and owner of CORE Design Services provides a diverse skill set that enhances the work of the Foundation.
Our Board of Directors
Dmitri Kanovich (Founder, Chairman, Treasurer)
Executive Director, Candid Opinion Ltd.
Peter J. Lambert (Director, Secretary)
Investment Advisor, Bank of Montreal
S. Gordon Harwood (Director, Artist in Residence)
Principal, Gallery Papillon
Let us know if you’d like more information about what we’re doing. New interactive music series are constantly under development. We’re also working on pubic fund-raising events you will want to attend.