Monday, 3 June 2013

Maestro Mario Bernardi, 1930-2013

I learned today while listening to WFMT Chicago that Maestro Mario Bernardi died Sunday 2 June in Toronto at the age of 82. He was the founder, creator of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and we owe it to him that it is such a fine orchestra. He was Music Director from 1968 to 1982 and his name is closely linked forever with the NAC.

He was born in Kirland Lake, Ontario in 1930, moved to the Veneto with his mother in 1936 and will study at the Music Conservatory in Treviso and in Venice for several years. A pianist and organist of great talent, he became conductor at the age of 25 with the Canadian Opera Company. In 1959 he will perfect his conducting technique at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Erich Leinsdorf. In 1963 he moved to London, UK as Music Director of the Sadler's Wells Opera Company. During his time in Ottawa, he also founded the NAC Summer Opera Festival now defunct due to Government cuts in 1982. He made many recordings of works by Schumann and took the NAC on tours around the world.

He was decorated by the Governor General with the Order of Canada in 1972 and he also received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime achievement. He was principal conductor of the CBC Radio Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. A man of very great talent and personality.

I dedicate to his memory this piece of music by Dimitri Shostakovich, Jazz suite no.2, IV, Waltz 1.

1 comment:

  1. I kept thinking of WFMT - I lived in Chicago for 10 years and this was my AM station. Carl Grapentine ! Bless'em!