A letter from Music Director Bernhard Gueller

Bernhard Gueller

I have been given the extraordinary chance to program a “Bucket List” of my favourite orchestral music for 2017/18 to mark my final season as Music Director. So Symphony Nova Scotia’s gift to me becomes my gift to you, the donors, subscribers, and friends who have supported my artistic vision for the past 15 years. Thank you for that.

I have witnessed the power of that support before, in making very special programs possible. Early on in my time with Symphony Nova Scotia, I had a vision for the orchestra to play larger, romantic repertoire, treating audiences to music they seldom heard, and allowing musicians to play works they were seldom able to play. In order to do so, we needed to expand the orchestra with added musicians.

At that time, a single donor, Bee Huxtable, stepped up to make my first “Festival” happen. That was in 2006. Over time, more donors came forward – my friends Judy Grant and Peggy Corkum and others. With that financial support, the Festival became an annual, much-anticipated season grand finale.

This season represents another such point in time; another opportunity to support the many, many expanded programs we will share together.

Record ticket sales and subscriptions over the past few years tell me that you, my audiences, are very happy. But unlike in Germany, where orchestras are almost fully state-funded, here ticket revenue is not enough. Over one-third of the budget needs to come from donors like you.

Knowing how much more funding is required for expanded orchestras and very special artists makes me feel even more fortunate to have been given the chance to bring you these concerts – concerts like Giora Schmidt playing Brahms and Rajaton for the recent ABBA tribute. And there is much more to come, including the Gershwin and Bernstein concerts in April!

It has become a bittersweet time of “lasts” for me. I have conducted my last season opener, and soon I’ll do my last Nutcracker and then the last Messiah and the last Mozart program and then a last Festival – and that is, next year, the end for me as Music Director. It makes me think about people I’ve known for 15 years. I’m very happy that we end this whole thing with great, GREAT music.

I want to mention how generous I find Canadians to be and how they so easily choose to give to sport, animals, and the homeless. But art and music is as important as food – but for the soul. In rich first world countries like ours, it should never be a question of either one or the other. It always has to be “as well as” for a healthy community.

Your orchestra is not just a collection of players – it’s alive and thriving, evolving, and continually improving and reaching new heights. To make certain it stays a vital part of the community, donors need to ensure that their support evolves too. Donations must provide for the exceptional talent that we enjoy so much year after year.

I would be thrilled if you could please think about making a gift that helps the orchestra continue to grow artistically. Make a donation that nurtures creativity and provides the resources for these talented, professional artists to live up to their boundless potential. Think about the terrific returns you enjoy on your investment. Reflect on what this orchestra means to you. Consider what having it within our community means for others.

Let the joy of the unexpected and unforgettable moments we share drive your generosity this season.


Bernhard Gueller
Music Director, Symphony Nova Scoti

P.S. Thank you for your past support. I hope you will join me by making your donation again this year.