May 4, 2017—Legendary rock artist Burton Cummings, internationally celebrated tenor Ben Heppner, and generous arts philanthropist Henry Hung will be named Honorary Fellows of The Royal Conservatory at the organization’s signature fundraising event, The Royal Occasion, on May 10, 2017. The Honorary Fellowship is the highest designation conferred by The Royal Conservatory.

“Burton Cummings, Ben Heppner, and Henry Hung have each made enormous contributions to Canadian culture and the arts. In this milestone year of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, we are tremendously proud to honour these exceptional individuals by awarding them with Honorary Fellowships,” says Dr. Peter Simon, Michael and Sonja Koerner President & CEO of The Royal Conservatory.

Mr. Cummings and Mr. Heppner will each present an intimate performance at The Royal Occasion in breathtaking Koerner Hall. They will perform alongside past and current recipients of The Henry and Margaret Hung Scholarships, the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra, and talented students of The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School and Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists.

Burton Cummings is that rare artist who has transcended time, genres, and generations with a body of work that continues to resonate with fans both old and new. His voice is regarded as one of the finest in rock music and he continues at the top of his game as a performer, singer, songwriter, and recording artist. With The Guess Who, he scored an unprecedented string of international hits and albums and is recognized as Canada’s most beloved rock ‘n’ roll son. Mr. Cummings has received many awards, accolades, and accomplishments including being a member of the Canadian Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the Order of Canada. 

Renowned worldwide for his portrayals of the dramatic tenor repertoire, Ben Heppner is acclaimed for the beauty of his voice, incisive musicianship, and his generosity with audiences. Mr. Heppner’s repertoire includes the most challenging roles, from Wagner’s Tristan and Lohengrin, to Verdi’s Otello, and Berlioz’s Aeneas. His illustrious career has taken him to opera stages and concert halls around the world, from The Metropolitan Opera and Covent Garden to La Scala and Paris Opera. Mr. Heppner is a Companion of the Order of Canada. Now retired, he brings what made him an opera star to the CBC airwaves as host of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and Backstage with Ben Heppner.

Mr. Henry Hung is the president and owner of Shiu Pong Group of Companies, a diversified real estate development company based in Toronto. Beginning in 2000, as Chair of The Royal Conservatory’s Building Committee, Mr. Hung lent his expertise in overseeing the design process, permit application, construction and completion of the 1,135-seat Koerner Concert Hall. Mr. Hung’s legacy of support for The Conservatory continues by participating in the Annual Educational Scholarship Program. Since 2010, he has provided academic scholarships to several exceptional young students of The Glenn Gould School. Mr. Hung’s imprint on the broader cultural mosaic of Toronto is recognized through his support for the Chinese Cultural Center of Greater Toronto, the Ontario Chinese Artists Association, and the Toronto Dragon Boat Festival.

As Honorary Fellows of The Royal Conservatory, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Heppner, and Mr. Hung join a distinguished group that includes Bruce Cockburn, Sir Andrew Davis, Lang Lang, David Foster, Leon Fleisher, Nelly Furtado, k.d. lang, Oscar Peterson, Bramwell Tovey, and The Tragically Hip.

To learn more about The Royal Occasion, please visit

To purchase tickets, contact Rachel Solomon at 416.408.2824 x536 or

The Royal Conservatory thanks event sponsors TELUS, TD Bank, Labatt, and Aimia as well as our many table sponsors.

The Royal Conservatory of Music is one of the largest and most respected music and arts education institutions in the world. Providing the definitive standard of excellence in music education through its curriculum, assessment, performances, and teacher education programs, The Conservatory has had a substantial impact on the lives of millions of people globally. In addition, the organization has helped to train a number of internationally celebrated artists including Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, David Foster, Sarah McLachlan, Angela Hewitt, and Diana Krall. Motivated by its powerful mission to develop human potential through leadership in music and the arts, The Royal Conservatory has emerged over the last two decades as a leader in the development of arts-based programs that address a wide range of social issues. 


Isabel Struik
The Royal Conservatory
416.408.2824 x552