2015/2016 Note from the Maestro
We celebrate our 40th by looking back at some of our greatest successes and by looking forward, too. I am thrilled that two of the world’s greatest musicians, Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth, have accepted our invitation to join us to perform Brahms’ Double Concerto for our opening Gala. Juno award winning composer and Calgarian, Allan Bell, has accepted our commission to write a new work to mark this special year. We are also excited to welcome Thomas Yu, CBC’s Piano Hero, to play Rachmaninoff in our Scintillating Soundtracks program.
As always, offering Calgary’s most gifted young people the opportunity to perform with orchestra remains part of our core mission. This year we will have Elaine Quilichini’s remarkable Calgary Girls Choir, two brilliant young pianists, and the winners of the Calgary Concerto Competition (C3) joining us. Finally, to bring the season to a rousing close, we revisit one of the greatest works ever written, Beethoven’s mighty 9th Symphony!
It is a season of celebration! We look forward to you joining us!
Music Director and Conductor
ROLF BERTSCH BIO
“Confident and fluid on the podium, this Canadian is obviously a natural conductor who has been trapped too long in a pianist’s body…” Montreal, The Gazette
Hailed for his passion and natural musicianship, Rolf Bertsch has quickly become one of Canada’s leading conductors. Appointed Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal by Charles Dutoit in January 2000 and named Conductor in Residence for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons, he has built an impressive reputation as conductor, pianist, communicator, teacher and adjudicator. His career has spanned a wide spectrum of musical experience and styles and has taken him to Europe, the Orient, and throughout North and South America.
Laureate of numerous competitions, Rolf Bertsch served for many years as pianist of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, as well as solo pianist and, subsequently, conductor for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. His career as pianist has included a solo performance with the OSM in New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall.
Rolf Bertsch’s career took an important turn when he was named Resident Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held from 1998-2001. During this highly successful tenure he also served as Music Director of the Calgary Civic Symphony Orchestra and Altius Brass, and worked regularly with Calgary’s chamber music ensemble Rosa Selvetica and at the University of Calgary.
Rolf Bertsch has conducted most of the orchestras in Canada including those of Montreal, Toronto, the National Arts Centre, Calgary, Edmonton, Québec, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Nova Scotia. He has collaborated with many of Canada’s and the world’s finest artists.
In the summer of 2005, he was part of an international faculty at the Canton International Summer Music Academy in Guangzhou, China. In the last year, he worked at the Canada Council for the Arts as the Program Officer for the Professional Orchestra and Opera/Music Theatre programs, overseeing the federal granting process for those communities.
Mr. Bertsch began his musical studies on the violin and went on to study piano, cello, composition, jazz, and conducting. He holds diplomas from a number of prestigious institutions including McGill University, the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the Conservatoire de musique du Québec (Montréal), the Folkwang Hochschule (Essen, Germany), and Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts).
In addition to his duties as Music Director and Conductor of the Calgary Civic Symphony, he currently teaches piano and coaches Academy program students at the Mount Royal University Conservatory and works as a free-lance conductor, pianist and arts consultant.
Previous Music Directors / Conductors
Over the years, the Calgary Civic Symphony has had the pleasure of with working with very talented music directors and guest conductors.
- Kenneth L. Nielsen, 1975-1983
- Stephen Franse, 1983-1986
- Janos Horvath, 1988-1993
- Gerald Wirth, 1994-1998
- Rolf Bertsch, 1998-2000
- Mel Kirby, 2000-2002
- Rosemary Thomson, 2002-2008
- Rolf Bertsch, 2008 – present