A pillar of Calgary's vibrant arts community since 1955.
The Calgary Philharmonic is a pillar of Calgary’s vibrant arts community and since 1955, has grown to be one of Canada’s most celebrated live music ensembles. Each Season, the Orchestra presents classical masterworks, pop favourites, bold collaborations, and cutting-edge new works. Led by Music Director Rune Bergmann, the Calgary Philharmonic consistently attracts world renowned guest artists and dynamic conductors. The Orchestra welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually and, in 2017, launched its live-stream initiative — an immersive, digital concert experience for audiences around the world.
At the start of the 2017/2018 Season, the Orchestra welcomed Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann as Music Director. His elegant interpretations and reputation as an inspiring and profound musician continue to attract the attention of orchestras around the world. He has been Principal Guest Conductor of Lithuania’s Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra since 2013 and Artistic Director of Norway’s innovative Fjord Cadenza Festival since its inception in 2010. Maestro Bergmann entered this role with a prominent vision to showcase the Calgary Philharmonic on the world stage.
The Calgary Philharmonic was created in the 1955 merger of the Alberta Philharmonic and the Calgary Symphony. Performing in Calgary’s Grand Theatre to a small but enthusiastic audience at first, the Calgary Philharmonic gained wider attention in 1957 with the completion of its first home, the Jubilee Auditorium. As the audience grew and public acclaim heightened, in 1985 the Calgary Philharmonic moved to its permanent home in Arts Commons’ Jack Singer Concert Hall, one of North America’s most acoustically acclaimed venues.
Past Music Directors of the Calgary Philharmonic include Grammy and Emmy Award-winning conductor Roberto Minczuk from 2006 to 2016; the late Mario Bernardi, who guided the Orchestra from 1984 to 1992 and led them through a period of tremendous artistic growth. He also led its first North American tour which brought the ensemble to new creative heights. The tour garnered rave reviews after performing in some of the world’s best-known concert venues, including Carnegie Hall. From 1995 to 2003, the legendary Hans Graf was Music Director, leading its award-winning European tour in the fall of 2000, making the Calgary Philharmonic the first Western Canadian orchestra to tour Europe. In June 2006, the Orchestra gave Hans Graf the honourary lifetime title of Music Director Laureate in recognition of his immense contributions. Other past music directors and principal conductors include: Henry Plukker (1955 to 1962) Haymo Taeuber (1963 to 1968), José Iturbi (1968 to 1969), Maurice Handford (1970 to 1975), Franz-Paul Decker (1975 to 1977 – interim), and Arpad Joo (1977 to 1984).