As the founding conductor of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1969, Mario Bernardi helped realize the vision of a national centre for the performing arts in Canada. Under his leadership, the Orchestra flourished artistically, touring and recording widely. Notable among his achievements were the creation of a renowned summer opera festival and the commissioning of dozens of new Canadian works.
The National Arts Centre (NAC) paid tribute to Mario Bernardi with two initiatives in honour of his extraordinary contribution to music: a permanent memorial unveiled on July 1, 2013 and a new orchestral commission to be premiered this evening.
Situated outside of Southam Hall, a bronze bust by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy serves as a permanent memorial and a lasting reminder of Mario Bernardi’s important place in Canadian musical history. And now, a new, full-length orchestral work by NAC Award Composer Ana Sokolović, dedicated to his memory, speaks to Mario Bernardi’s commitment to the creation of new Canadian work.
The National Arts Centre Foundation wishes to thank the many donors from across Canada whose support made these two special tributes possible.