Bernie Finkelstein has been one of the leading figures in both the Canadian and worldwide music industry for over 45 years.
He began his career managing two of Canada’s earliest internationally known groups, The Paupers and Kensington Market. Later he handled management for Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan, Dan Hill, Barney Bentall, Stephen Fearing and Blackie & The Rodeo Kings. Currently he continues to manage Bruce Cockburn.
In 1969 he founded True North Records Canada’s oldest and one of it’s largest independent record companies. Over the years the label has released recordings by Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan, Stephen Fearing, Carole Pope & Rough Trade, Randy Bachman, The Rheostatics, Lynn Miles, Lenny Breau, 54-40, Moxy Fruvous, Lighthouse and Lorraine Segato, to name only a few. With over 500 releases, 40 Juno Awards and 40 gold and platinum records to its credit, True North is an incredible Canadian success story.
In 2007 Bernie sold True North and began to wind down his management and publishing activities. Prior to selling, True North had licensing ventures with UK-based Cooking Vinyl, Denver based Sci-Fidelity, New York-based Plump Records, Los Angeles-based Fuel 2000, Boston-based Tone Cool, Vancouver’s Guitarchives and distributed recordings by many artists including The Guess Who, Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Oysterband, Susan Tedeschi, Kelly Joe Phelps and the North Mississippi Allstars.
In addition, Finkelstein started The True North Publishing Group which had extensive interests in music publishing and overseeing a rich catalogue of works by song-writers including Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLauchlan, Barney Bentall and Rough Trade. Other copyrights include various film and television soundtracks (Going Down The Road, Waterwalker, Franklin…) and covers by artists as diverse as Anne Murray, The Barenaked Ladies, Jerry Garcia, kd Lang, The Rankins, Maria Muldaur, Jimmy Buffett, Judy Collins, Elbow, Dan Fogelberg and The Barra MacNeils, to name a few.
Finkelstein’s industry involvement has been varied and extensive. It includes a one-year term as Chairman of the Ontario Film Development Corporation and a total of six years on their Executive Committee and Board. He has also been on the Board of Massey and Roy Thomson Halls as well as the board of the SOCAN Foundation. He is also a past Chairman of the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) now known as CIMA, of which he was also one of the original founding members. Bernie has served as a board member of the Canadian Association Of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and the board of The Toronto Arts Awards. He was also the Chairman of MUCHFact for 26 years (which he also founded), and has served on the board of Starmaker.
In 2003 he was acknowledged by his peers, with his election to the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame.
Further on April 2, 2006 Bernie was given the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the Juno Awards held in Halifax NS. This is the highest honour given to a non-musician by the music industry.
In 2008 he was presented with the Estelle Klein Award awarded annually by the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals.
On February 9, 2007 Bernie was awarded the Order Of Canada in a ceremony held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
On April 17, 2012 his memoir True North (A Life In The Music Business) will be released on the McClelland & Stewart imprint.
Bernie Finkelstein was born in Toronto, Ontario, where he still lives and works when not at his country home in Prince Edward County.