Symphony Nova Scotia celebrates Bernhard Gueller’s 16-year tenure with “Grand Finale” Festival  

Grand Finale Festival concerts are Gueller’s final as Music Director of Symphony Nova Scotia

Halifax, NS – Symphony Nova Scotia’s annual end-of-season Festival launches next week, in a four-concert “Grand Finale” celebration of Maestro Bernhard Gueller’s 16-year tenure as the orchestra’s Music Director.

Featuring Symphony Nova Scotia’s expanded orchestra and superstar Canadian pianist Marc- André Hamelin, the “Grand Finale” Festival is Maestro Gueller’s personal farewell to the Halifax community that’s been his home for the past 16 years. It’s also the culmination of his “Bucket List”, a season of rare, exciting concerts and repertoire that aren’t often heard in Halifax.

“This season has been very special to me,” says Gueller. “Both because it is my last one as Music Director of Symphony Nova Scotia, and also because we have performed pieces that mean so much to me. My years here and this one in particular have been a wonderful journey and I shall miss so much about Symphony Nova Scotia and Halifax. ”

Gueller’s “Grand Finale” concerts include:

  • Brahms with Marc-André Hamelin
    Tuesday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 9, 7:30 pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax
    Program includes: Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 and Symphony No. 1
    Featuring: Symphony Nova Scotia, conductor Bernhard Gueller, and pianist Marc- André Hamelin
  • Beethoven’s Ninth – ALMOST SOLD OUT!
    Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12, 7:30 pm, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax
    Program includes: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor” and Symphony No. 9
    Featuring: Symphony Nova Scotia, conductor Bernhard Gueller, pianist Marc- André Hamelin, The Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus, soprano Leslie Ann Bradley, mezzo-soprano Anita Krause, tenor Michael Barrett, and baritone Gregory Dahl

All four of the Festival’s concerts highlight superstar Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin, who is one of the world’s great piano virtuosos, with a tireless international touring schedule and rave reviews from across the globe. He’s been called “an international treasure” (New York Times) and “a paragon of virtuosic refinement” (Boston Globe), with “legendary technique” (Gramophone) and “supernatural control” (The Telegraph).

“I am so looking forward to the return of one of Canada’s foremost pianists – and to his interpretation of the First Brahms Piano Concerto as well as Beethoven’s gigantic Emperor Concerto,” says Maestro Gueller. “The orchestra’s collaboration with Hamelin during the 2015/16 concert season stands out as a highlight of my year, and I know his repeat appearance will be a great event.”

After next week’s Festival, Gueller will step down as Symphony Nova Scotia’s Music Director. However, he will then take on the new role of Conductor Laureate, returning to Halifax at least once per year from his new home base in South Africa.

“I’m back in November for two concerts, and I’m sure that I will come back and visit, and take holidays here. There will never be a cut off,” says Gueller. “We made great friends here. I am especially grateful to our donors, and have very fond memories of our annual Festivals, which for the past 13 years or so have been made possible by donors who gave money to support them. Many others donated to the endowment. And of course, we have had so many loyal audience members over these past 16 years. I am very, very grateful.”

Gueller’s 16 years with Symphony Nova Scotia have been marked by financial stability and artistic excellence. His extensive musical expertise, precise conducting, and positive working relationships have earned him the respect and loyalty of his colleagues, and his thoughtful concert programming, dramatic interpretations, and commitment to education and accessibility have made him an audience favourite.

“We are deeply honoured to have spent 16 wonderful years with Bernhard,” says Chris Wilkinson, CEO of Symphony Nova Scotia. “Our orchestra has benefited immensely from his generous, inspirational leadership, and we’ve been the envy of orchestras the world over for this level of artistic direction. We look forward to continuing with Bernhard as Conductor Laureate, and are extremely grateful to have his support in the transition to a new Music Director.”

Symphony Nova Scotia has begun a search for a new Music Director, and the search will continue throughout the 2018/19 concert season. In the interim, Gueller will provide artistic leadership in partnership with Jeanne Lamon, the orchestra’s Principal Baroque Leader, and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador, as well as a dedicated team of orchestra  and Board members, staff, and volunteers.

“While we will deeply miss Bernhard’s on-site artistic leadership, we’re excited about what the future will bring,” says Wilkinson. “We have a truly excellent orchestra of engaged, professional, locally-based musicians, and we remain deeply committed to our core values of artistic excellence, creativity, and community engagement. We will continue our search for a new Music Director with the goal of finding a great fit for our orchestra and our community.”

Tickets are limited for Maestro Gueller’s “Grand Finale” Festival concerts, with both performances of Beethoven’s Ninth almost sold out. Prices start at $35 (HST included) and $16 for under -30s.

Tickets are available at the Dalhousie Arts Centre box office (6101 University Avenue, Halifax), at 902.494.3820, or online at

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia’s orchestra. With a home base in Halifax and performances across the province, Symphony Nova Scotia reaches more than 50,000 Nova Scotians of all ages each year with a diverse mix of concerts, free community programs, and educational outreach. Under the thoughtful and dynamic leadership of Music Director Bernhard Gueller, it is the largest employer in Nova Scotia’s cultural community, and has won many awards, including five East Coast Music Awards for classical music. Visit to learn more, listen online, or get tickets today!