Our Music Director

Bernhard Gueller, Music Director

Bernhard Gueller has been music director of Symphony Nova Scotia since 2002.

Well known to audiences internationally for the passion, mastery, and drama he brings to the concert hall, Gueller has been acclaimed for his “profound interpretations” and the “stunning responses he gets from musicians.” He is praised by musicians, critics, and audiences alike for his musical purity and fresh approach to the podium.

With a reputation for his mastery of contemporary works, Gueller has commissioned several concerti for Symphony Nova Scotia. These include a concerto for accordion, for oboe, and one for piano. In February 2012, he premiered a piece for tabla and orchestra by Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne; other Canadian composers he has worked with include Derek Charke and Tim Brady. He has also given the first performance of works by composers such as the German composer Werner Egt, as well as Peter Klatzow’s I Am an African, a setting of words by Thabo Mbeki, which was premiered in May 2012.

Gueller has served as music director and principal conductor with various orchestras, including the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra. His career has taken him to top concert halls in America, Australia, Russia, Japan, China, Korea, South Africa, and Brazil, as well as across Europe in Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden, and his native Germany. Festivals he has conducted include Schwetizinger in Germany, Scotia Music Festival in Halifax, and Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. He has conducted several orchestras in Canada, most frequently the Victoria Symphony.

Gueller has collaborated with many leading soloists, such as cellists Daniel Mueller-Schott, Wolfgang Schmidt, Maria Kliegel, Claudio Bohorquez, and David Geringas; pianists Anton Kuerti, Ivo Pogorelich, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Lars Vogt, Peter Donohoe, John Kimura Parker, and Wayne Marshall; violinists James Ehnes, Antje Weithaas, and Giora Schmidt; trumpeter Maurice Andre; and entertainers Lionel Ritchie and David Foster. He also collaborated with soprano Elza van den Heever in a Strauss/Wagner concert for South African television.

Beginning his career as a cellist, Gueller won the United German Radio Conducting Competition in 1979 and for nearly 20 years ran tandem careers. He studied conducting under the mentorship of legendary conductor Sergiu Celibidache, who regarded Gueller as his best student. Gueller also attracted the attention of the renowned American arts administrator Ernest Fleischman who “was deeply impressed by his extraordinary musicianship, his marvellous ability to communicate with the musicians, and … his charismatic impact on the audience.”

Gueller has made many recordings for national and international broadcast. His CD with Symphony Nova Scotia, Dancing in the Light, was released to critical acclaim. This followed a CD with mezzo soprano Hanneli Rupert and the Cape Town Philharmonic, and other recordings with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, German Brass, and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.

To contact Maestro Gueller, email us at info@symphonyns.ca.