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Conductors

MUSIC DIRECTOR

Rune Bergmann

Rune Bergmann is the Calgary Philharmonic Music Director and Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland.

An energetic and compelling figure on the podium, Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann (pronounced Rue-na Bairg-mahn) is a dynamic, versatile conductor with an extensive classical, romantic, operatic and contemporary repertoire. Considered among today’s most talented young Scandinavian conductors, his elegant interpretations and reputation as an inspiring and profound musician continue to attract the attention of orchestras throughout the world.

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, among the distinguished orchestras and opera houses abroad with which Maestro Bergmann has developed relationships are the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian National Opera, Mainfranken Theater Würzburg, and Philharmonie Südwestfalen, as well as the symphony orchestras of Malmö, Helsingborg, Bergen, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Trondheim, Karlskrona, and Odense, and Lisbon’s Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa. In North America, he has guested with such orchestras as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (where he led the world premiere of Grawemeyer Award-winning Serbian composer Djuro Zivkovic’s Psalm XIII), Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, the Calgary and New Mexico Philharmonics, and the Brevard Music Festival.

A multi-talented musician who also plays trumpet, piano, and violin/viola, Rune Bergmann studied choir and orchestral conducting under Anders Eby, Jin Wang and Jorma Panula at Sweden’s Royal College of Music. He graduated with high honours from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, where he studied conducting under Chief Conductor Emeritus of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/former principal conductor of the Vienna Radio, Finnish Radio, and Danish National symphony orchestras, Leif Segerstam. Honours include the 2010 Kjell Holm Foundation Culture Prize, the 2009 SMP Press culture award, and second prize in Helsingborg’s 2002 Nordic Conducting Competition. Maestro Bergmann’s former posts include deputy – General Musik Direktor with the Augsburger Philharmoniker and Theater Augsburg in Germany.

ASSOCIATE CONDUCTOR

Karl Hirzer

Canadian musician Karl Hirzer is an emerging talent on the global stage of young conductors. Honing a passionate will to collaborate with musicians and communicate with audiences, he has garnered both critical and professional acclaim as a captivating presence on the podium.

Since September 2016, Hirzer has held the position of Resident, then Associate Conductor with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been guest conductor with the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Regina Symphony Orchestra, and is a regular guest conductor with the contemporary group Land’s End Ensemble. American composer John Corigliano hailed a collaboration with the latter on a performance of his song cycle, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ stating: “Mr. Hirzer brought a combination of detailed accuracy and intense musical feeling to the work, resulting in an absolutely marvelous performance.”

In the past, Hirzer has acted as Assistant Conductor for the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. He has also worked with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra as an active member of the Menuhin Festival Gstaad Conducting Academy. He was a Conducting Fellow at the 2017 Cortona Sessions for New Music. A diverse musician and collaborator, he has performed with various renowned soloists such as Evelyn Glennie, Jonathan Crow, Chris Botti, Owen Pallett, Agata Szymczewska, and many others. During the 2019/2020 season, Hirzer enjoyed taking on the additional role of Assistant Chorus Master with the Calgary Philharmonic.

An advocate of presenting new music to audiences in complement to canonical works, Hirzer’s repertoire ranges from Mozart and Haydn, to Boulez and Lachenmann. He has conducted numerous world premieres, and advocates inviting audiences to discover the full spectrum of eras, nationalities, and experiences pervading the classical and contemporary catalogues. A steadfast educator, Hirzer was recently on faculty as conductor and chamber coach at the 22nd Morningside Music Bridge program in Warsaw, Poland.

Hirzer has been taught by Guillaume Bourgogne, Alexis Hauser, Boris Brott, and Ajtony Csaba, and he has participated in masterclass sessions with Neeme Järvi, Leonid Grin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Zsolt Nagy, and Chris Younghoon Kim.

Trained as a pianist, Hirzer holds bachelor's (University of Victoria) and master's (McGill University) degrees in performance, as well as an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto Diploma, obtained at age 17. His piano teachers have included Ilya Poletaev, Bruce Vogt, Michael McMahon, Walter Prossnitz, and Anne Wilson Unger. He was a winner of the Johann Strauss
Scholarship Competition, funding studies at the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg, during which time he studied in the class of Robert Levin.

Vince Ho
NEW MUSIC ADVISOR

Vincent Ho

Vincent Ho is a multi-award winning composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and theatre music. His works have been described as “brilliant and compelling” by The New York Times and hailed for their profound expressiveness and textural beauty, leaving audiences talking about them with great enthusiasm. His many awards and recognitions have included three Juno Award nominations, Harvard University’s Fromm Music Commission, The Canada Council for the Arts’ “Robert Fleming Prize”, ASCAP’s “Morton Gould Young Composer Award”, four SOCAN Young Composers Awards, and CBC Radio’s Audience Choice Award (2009 Young Composers’ Competition).

During the period of 2007-2014, Dr. Ho has served as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s composer-in-residence and had presented a number of large-scale works that have generated much excitement and critical praise. His Arctic Symphony has been described “as a beautiful work that evokes the Far North in a very special way” (John Corigliano), and “a mature and atmospheric work that firmly establishes Ho among North American composers of note” (Winnipeg Free Press). His percussion concerto, titled The Shaman, composed for Dame Evelyn Glennie was hailed as a triumph, receiving unanimous acclaim and declared by critics as “Spectacular” (The New York Classical Review), “A powerhouse work” (The Winnipeg Free Press), and “Rocking/mesmerizing…downright gorgeous” (The Pittsburgh Gazette). His second concerto for Glennie titled From Darkness To Light, Ho’s musical response to the cancer illness, was lauded as “a lasting masterpiece of sensitivity and perception” (Winnipeg Free Press). His cello concerto, City Suite, composed for Canadian cellist Shauna Rolston, has received similar praise with critics calling it “Thrilling” (Windsor Star) and “Overflowing with striking ideas…The most successful piece heard at this year’s Festival” (Classical Voice America).

Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1975, Vincent Ho began his musical training through Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music where he received his Associate Diploma in Piano Performance. He gained his Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary, his Master of Music from the University of Toronto, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California. While still an undergraduate student, Ho was awarded a scholarship to attend the Schola Cantorum Summer Composition Program in Paris, France, where he received tuition from Juilliard School of Music and the Paris Conservatoire tutors. His mentors have included Allan Bell, David Eagle, Christos Hatzis, Walter Buczynski, and Stephen Hartke. In 1997, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Schola Cantorum Summer Composition Program in Paris, where he received further training in analysis, composition, counterpoint, and harmony, supervised by David Diamond, Philip Lasser, and Narcis Bonet.

In his free time, he enjoys running, reading, traveling, dancing, hiking, playing chess, and learning the keyboard works of Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, and Ligeti (among many others). He is also an enthusiast of old-time radio shows, photography, crime noir, Zen art, jazz, Jimi Hendrix, graphic novels, and Stanley Kubrick films.

Dr. Ho has taught at the University of Calgary and currently serves as Artistic Director to Land’s End Ensemble and New Music Advisor to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. His works are published and managed by Promethean Editions Ltd and Peters Edition.

Awards and Honours
• 2020 – Juno Award nomination,”Classical Composition of the Year” for Kickin’ It 2.0.
• 2020 – Western Canadian Music Award nomination, Composer of the Year.
• SOCAN’s “Jan V. Matejcek Award” (2019).
• 2019 – Juno Award nomination,”Classical Composition of the Year” for Arctic Symphony.
• 2018 – Western Canadian Music Award nomination, Composer of the Year.
• 2018 – Western Canadian Music Award (winner – Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra), “Classical Artist/Ensemble of the Year” for the CD “Orchestral Music of Vincent Ho”.
• 2018 – Juno Award nomination, “Classical Album of the Year” (Large Ensemble) for the CD “Orchestral Music of Vincent Ho”.
• 2018 – Juno Award nomination, “Classical Composition of the Year” for The Shaman: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra.
• The University of Calgary, Faculty of the Arts’ 2017 Alumni Award.
• The Manitoba Arts Council’s 2015 “Major Arts Grant” – $30,000.00CAN.
• Finalist in the 2009 CBC/Radio-Canada’s EVOLUTION – National Composition Prize. “Nature whispers…”was awarded The People’s Choice Award based on the online votes of listeners from across the country.
• 2008 – Western Canadian Music Award nomination, “Best Classical Composition of the Year” for String Quartet No.1.
• 2007 – Western Canadian Music Award nomination, “Best Classical Composition of the Year” for Nighthawks.
• Harvard University’s prestigious “Fromm Music Commission” (2006) for the creation of Sonata for Violin and Piano for Gwen Hoebig (violin) and David Moroz (piano).
• The Portland Chamber Music Festival’s “2006 Composers’ Competition Prize” for Shattering the Ethereal Resonance.
• The 2006 Canadian Music Centre’s “Emerging Composer Prize” for Stigmata.
• The Canada Council for the Arts’ Robert Fleming Prize for most talented young composer of the year (2006).
• Finalist in the 2005 Hultgren Solo Cello Works Biennial for Stigmata.
• The ASCAP Foundation’s “2004 Morton Gould Young Composer Award” for Dragon Realms.
• Second Prize in the SOCAN Foundation’s 2004 Awards for Young Composers for Dragon Realms (Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards – works for 13 performers or more).
• Second Prize in the SOCAN Foundation’s 2004 Awards for Young Composers for Stigmata (Pierre Mercure Awards – solo/duet category).
• The University of Southern California’s “Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize” for Dragon Realms (2004).
• EARPLAY’s “2004 Donald Aird Memorial Composition Award” for Stigmata.
• Third Prize in the SOCAN Foundation’s 2000 Awards for Young Composers for Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra (Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards – works for 13 performers or more).
• Second Prize in the SOCAN Foundation’s 1999 Awards for Young Composers for String Quartet No. 1(Serge Garant Awards – works for 3-12 performers).
• First Prize in the 1999 Peel Music Festival for Three Scenes of Childhood (Toronto, Ontario).
• The Audience Prize in the 1999 Toronto New Music Festival for Three Scenes of Childhood.