Why we do what we do
Looking at the Stars is a Registered Federal Charity (Charitable Registration No. 77958 5298 RR0001), authorized to issue tax receipts for charitable donations.
We pursue a vision to expand our program serving prisons and long term care homes across Canada, and to explore international opportunities to bring dignity and restore hope to those isolated and debilitated by
We also produce classical music concerts featuring world class musicians for long-term care home residents to lift their spirits and enhance their day
Founder and CEO
Looking at the Stars Foundation
A former refugee and IT Executive, now a social entrepreneur Dmitri Kanovich refers to the first 29 years of his life, spent behind the iron curtain in then Soviet Lithuania, as his incarceration period. Born and raised in a family of a writer and an editor where art and love reigned, on the outside he was always subject to humiliation and harassment from his early childhood. For a very long time the truth about the nature of this evil empire was concealed from him both by the system and by his protective parents.
A smuggled-from-Poland/Finland forbidden Western fruits – Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker, Jimmie Hendrix, Deep Purple, Masters Degree in Economics and Mathematics from Vilnius State University, member of the Lithuanian national trap shooting team, accidental discovery of Tchaikovsky and Mozart, early marriage and divorce, first prestigious employer, a severe accident – a short summary of Dmitri’s experiences while in the Soviet “paradise”. 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. First, he delivered pizza and sold vacuum cleaners, then got hired as a programmer and ultimately becoming an IT Executive. In 1997 Dmitri’s career led him to US, then South Africa, then Russia. He returned to Canada in 2014 after 17 years of globetrotting – working for major global corporations, meeting unique personalities, falling and rising and … learning a lot more about the world and himself. After parting with most of his illusions, he has recognized the necessity to commit the rest of his life to doing something meaningful to him personally and useful to the country, which has become a new home to his family and which has been generous to him.
Over the course of his journeys Dmitri has gradually become attached to classical music. The works of Rachmaninov, Chopin, Mozart and other composers often helped him though his challenges and struggles and inspired hope and dignity, when both were about to be lost. It did not take a lot to decide, how to accomplish his new objectives upon his return to Toronto. 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 50 such gifts (conversational music concerts) were delivered to the inmates of Canadian correctional institutions and residents of long-term care facilities. The program is now expanding into Lithuania.
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.”
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.GalleryPapillon.net.
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 (Chairman / CEO / Secretary / Treasurer)
Gwen Burrows (Secretary)
Executive Director, International Partnerships, University of Toronto
Stan Harwood (Director)
Artist in Residence
Saverio Veltri (Director)
VP, Wealth Management TD
Larry Jackson (Director)
Journalist, former Global News Anchor
Peter J. Lambert MSc, CIM (Director)
Investment Advisor, Bank of Montreal
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.