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Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music will unveil today a campaign cabinet composed of couples, the latest step toward paying for its greatly expanded and upgraded Bloor Street home.

The 56-member cabinet is chaired by former BMO president Tony Comper and his philanthropist wife, Elizabeth, and will lead a $50-million fundraising drive that the Compers hope to finish before the end of 2009, by which time the new Telus Centre for Performance and Learning should be fully built.

The cabinet roster boasts a fairly broad array of expertise and is made up largely of husband-and-wife teams, which Tony Comper thinks is "kind of a unique approach."

The Compers attracted a strong presence from BMO, including Nada Ristich, BMO's senior manager of corporate donations, and David Fleck, the head of the bank's capital markets equity products division. Other corporate heavyweights include Telus president of business solutions Joe Natale, McCarthy Tetrault chair and chief executive officer Janet Ross and Acuity Funds president and chief investment officer Ian Ihnatowycz, who with his wife, Marta Witer, donated $5-million to the conservatory's first capital campaign.

Liberal MP Bob Rae lends political heft while his wife, journalist and author Arlene Perly Rae, joins Globe and Mail publisher Phillip Crawley and former Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane as the cabinet's media representatives.

For artistic credentials, the cabinet will lean on Mary and Tim Elia, the owners of Oxford Churchmusic, Mirvish Productions associate producer Linda Intaschi, and pianist and RCM faculty member Dianne Werner, who joins the cabinet with her husband, Royal Conservatory president Peter Simon.

The new fundraising drive follows a $60-million campaign successfully completed in 2006. After a pair of $10-million gifts flowed in from the federal and provincial governments, matched by a third from lead donor Telus, the conservatory gained confidence and altered its plans to a more ambitious construction that would preclude the need for further expansion in the future. The overall fundraising goal is now set at $110-million.

The conservatory has already secured enough money to open most of its new facilities in September, the only exception being the 1,140-seat Koerner Hall concert space, which is expected to open in the fall of 2009 and will probably absorb much of the money yet to be raised.