Mario Bernardi

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Mario Bernardi
Mario Bernardi (left), and Bramwell Tovey (right) in 2005
Born(1930-08-20)20 August 1930
Died2 June 2013(2013-06-02) (aged 82)
Resting place Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
Occupationconductor, pianist
Awards Order of Canada

Mario Bernardi, CC FRSC (20 August 1930 2 June 2013) was a Canadian conductor and pianist. [1] He conducted 75 different operas and over 450 other works with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. [1]

Order of Canada Canadian national order

The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Canada judges to have "made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life".

Conducting Directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures

Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.



Bernardi was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, [1] and spent his first six years in Canada. After his family moved to Italy, [1] Bernardi studied piano, organ, and composition with Bruno Pasut at the Manzato Conservatory at Treviso and took his examinations at Italy's Venice Conservatory. [1]

Kirkland Lake Town in Ontario, Canada

Kirkland Lake is a town and municipality in Timiskaming District in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. The 2016 population, according to Statistics Canada, was 7,981.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

After graduating in 1945, his family returned to Canada where he finished his studies at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. [1] He then was a concert pianist.

The Royal Conservatory of Music music education organization and performance venue headquartered in Toronto, Canada

The Royal Conservatory of Music, branded as The Royal Conservatory, is a non-profit music education institution and performance venue headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was founded in 1886 by Edward Fisher as The Toronto Conservatory of Music. In 1947, King George VI incorporated the organization through royal charter.

Toronto Provincial capital city in Ontario, Canada

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populous city in Canada, with a population of 2,731,571 in 2016. Current to 2016, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), of which the majority is within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), held a population of 5,928,040, making it Canada's most populous CMA. The city is the anchor of the Golden Horseshoe, an urban agglomeration of 9,245,438 people surrounding the western end of Lake Ontario. Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

In 1957 he conducted the Canadian Opera Company, [1] and in 1963 was coach and assistant conductor at the Sadler's Wells Opera Company (now the English National Opera). [1]

Canadian Opera Company opera company and producer

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) is an opera company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest opera company in Canada and one of the largest producers of opera in North America. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre. For forty years until April 2006, the COC had performed at the O'Keefe Centre.

English National Opera opera company based in London

English National Opera (ENO) is an opera company based in London, resident at the London Coliseum in St Martin's Lane. It is one of the two principal opera companies in London, along with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. ENO's productions are sung in English.

In 1968 he became the founding conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, [1] and also became the music director in 1971. [1] He then led the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra from 1984 until 1992. [1] From 1983 until 2006 he was the principal conductor of the CBC Radio Orchestra. [1] He then retired from full-time work, although he continued to perform with numerous orchestras as an occasional guest conductor; [1] he was named NACO's conductor laureate in 1997. [1]

The National Arts Centre Orchestra is a Canadian orchestra based in Ottawa, Ontario led by Music Director Alexander Shelley. The NAC Orchestra's primary concert venue is the eponymous National Arts Centre. Since its inception, the Orchestra has commissioned more than 90 works, mostly from Canadian composers. The NAC Orchestra is an award-winning recording orchestra, releasing two recordings per year. The Orchestra has visited more than 125 cities in Canada and more than 130 cities internationally in its 50-year history, including a coast-to-coast Canadian tour in 1999 and again in 2016. Most recently in May 2019, the NAC Orchestra completed a major European tour, performing and delivering education events five countries in 7 cities and.

Ottawa Federal capital city in Ontario, Canada

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec; the two form the core of the Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) and the National Capital Region (NCR). As of 2016, Ottawa had a city population of 934,243 and a metropolitan population of 1,323,783 making it the fourth-largest city and the fifth-largest CMA in Canada. In June 2019, the City of Ottawa estimated it had surpassed a population of 1 million.

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is an orchestra based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The orchestra gives the majority of its performances in the Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons. It is also the resident orchestra for the Calgary Opera, Alberta Ballet Company, and the Honens International Piano Competition.

He has made several dozen recordings for CBC Records, the CBC's in-house label, among others. [1]

CBC Records was a Canadian record label owned and operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which distributed CBC programming, including live concert performances, in album and digital format(s). For much of its history, the label focused primarily on classical music and jazz, as well as tie-in albums to CBC Radio shows such as Royal Canadian Air Farce and Brave New Waves.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, branded as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian federal Crown corporation that serves as the national public broadcaster for both radio and television. The English- and French-language service units of the corporation are commonly known as CBC and Radio-Canada.

He died on 2 June 2013 in Toronto. [2]

Personal life

Bernardi worked until age 80, when he had a serious stroke and moved to a care home. He continued to play piano until he lost sufficient finger dexterity. [3]

Bernardi was married, with one daughter and two grandsons. [3]


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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Mario Bernardi at The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. "NAC Orchestra founding conductor Mario Bernardi dies". CBC News, 3 June 2013.
  3. 1 2
  4. Office of the Governor General of Canada . Order of Canada citation . Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 24 May 2010
  5. "Mario Bernardi biography (1999)". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  6. "Mario Bernardi biography (2001)". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  7. "2006 New Fellow Citations" (PDF). Royal Society of Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Colin Davis
Co-Music Director, Sadler's Wells
Succeeded by
Charles Mackerras