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 placeMount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
Occupation(s)conductor, pianist
AwardsOrder 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]


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 [it] at the Manzato Conservatory at Treviso and took his examinations at Italy's Venice Conservatory.[1]

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.

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]

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]

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

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

Personal life[edit]

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]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Mario Bernardi at The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ "NAC Orchestra founding conductor Mario Bernardi dies". CBC News, 3 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Mario Bernardi: A brilliant and demanding maestro who conducted Canada to musical maturity".
  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.

Further reading[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by Co-Music Director, Sadler's Wells
Succeeded by