This season, Bob Bernhardt begins his 37th consecutive year with the Louisville Orchestra as Assistant Conductor, then as Associate Conductor, then Principal Guest Conductor of Kentucky Opera, and is now in his 22nd season as Principal Pops Conductor. But…who is Bob Bernhardt?
For nearly four decades, Bernhardt has been a constant presence with the LO and continues to bring his unique combination of easy style, infectious enthusiasm and wonderful musicianship to the city and orchestra he loves.
Bernhardt is concurrently Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan and Principal Pops Conductor and Music Director Emeritus of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.
He previously spent 19 seasons as Music Director and is now in his 26th year with the company. He is also an Artist-in-Residence at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Previously, he was Music Director and conductor of the Amarillo Symphony and the Tucson Symphony, and Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Rochester Philharmonic.
In the past decade, Bernhardt has made his conducting debuts with the Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, New Jersey Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony and Santa Barbara Symphony, all of which were rewarded with return engagements.
He has a continuing thirteen-year relationship with the Edmonton Symphony, conducting there several times each season, and as Festival Conductor for their Labor Day Festival, Symphony Under the Sky. He made his debut with the Boston Pops in 1992 at the invitation of John Williams and has been a frequent guest there ever since.
Recently, he returned to the podiums in Vail, Boston, Nashville, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Grand Rapids, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Santa Barbara, Portland, Louisiana and Rochester; made his debut with the Utah Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic; and will conduct the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa for his first time this season.
His professional opera career began with the Birmingham Opera in 1979, two years before he joined the Louisville Orchestra. He worked with Kentucky Opera for 18 consecutive seasons; and with Chattanooga Opera, he conducted dozens of fully staged productions in a genre he adores.
Born in Rochester, New York, he holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California’s School of Music, where he studied with Daniel Lewis. He is also a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he was an Academic All-American baseball player. (While not all the research is in, Bernhardt believes that he is the only conductor in the history of music to be invited to spring training with the Kansas City Royals. After four days, they suggested to him a life in music.) His two children, Alex and Charlotte,live in Seattle. He and his wife, Nora, live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
For more information on The Louisville Orchestra and upcoming performances, visit LouisvilleOrchestra.org