Originally from New Westminster, British Columbia, Karl Hirzer has performed across Canada, as well as in the United States, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. He completed his graduate studies in 2015 at the McGill University Schulich School of Music, studying piano performance with Ilya Poletaev, and orchestral conducting with Alexis Hauser. He was subsequently accepted into the prestigious Menuhin Festival Gstaad Conducting Academy, where he worked over the summer following with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra and Neeme Järvi, Leonid Grin, and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Upon returning to Montreal in the fall, he ﬁlled the role of Assistant Conductor to the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Guillaume Bourgogne.
Beginning piano lessons at the age of six, Karl Hirzer played numerous instruments in various ensembles throughout his youth, eventually obtaining his ARCT diploma at the age of seventeen. He then relocated to Victoria, British Columbia to pursue undergraduate studies in music at the University of Victoria, where he studied piano with Bruce Vogt, and was introduced to the art of conducting by Ajtony Csaba. In 2011, he won the Johann Strauss Scholarship Competition, enabling him to travel to Salzburg, Austria and study with renowned Mozart scholar Robert Levin as part of the Mozarteum Sommerakademie. He has been the recipient of many scholarships and awards from McGill University and the University of Victoria, the latter of which he graduated from with distinction. He has played or conducted in masterclasses for Zsolt Nagy, Olivier Gardon, Eitan Globerson, Walter Prossnitz, and Colin Tilney.