David Bernard, Music Director
"Anyone who experienced Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for the first time in this concert is spoiled for life. Conducting from memory, David Bernard led a transcendent performance of The Rite of Spring with intensity, passion and fervor. Segues were seamless, contrasts were vivid and Stravinsky’s whirling exchanges of voices were expertly choreographed."
“David Bernard is an exceptional conductor. His performances are marked by a strong sense of the music’s structure, an outstanding feeling for orchestral texture and phrasing, and a dynamic rhythmic propulsion that makes itself felt even in quiet passages. Bernard's interpretations are splendidly proportioned; from the first note to the last the listener feels that this is the way the whole work must go…balances are expertly judged and wonderfully blended…overall, distinguished and elegant music-making.”
– Fanfare Magazine
" The performance showed the benefits of considerable preparation. Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring had poetry and meaning, managing the proto-jazz changes in the score and the challenging, delicate passages that alternate with the grinding fortissimi, building a dark, memorable crescendo around the rising chords that indicate the procession of the ancients, and blasting through the thunderous Final Dance and Sacrifice in powerful fashion. That energy carried into the Ride of the Valkyries and a performance of Wotan's Farewell that had real poetry with Mr. Bernard relishing each bar of the famous final chords."
– Paul Pelkonen/SuperConductor
" A first rate conductor. With no score, an animated and present Maestro Bernard led a phenomenal performance of incredibly difficult repertoire --masterly in shaping, phrasing, technique and expressivity. A great pleasure to watch and listen to." -
-Judges of The American Prize Conducting Competition
David Bernard has gained recognition for his dramatic and incisive conducting in over 20 countries on four continents, including a nine-city tour of the People's Republic of China and a guest conducting appearance with the China Conservatory Orchestra. Bernard has served as Music Director of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony since 1999 and under his leadership, the orchestra has thrived, expanding in size and achieving critical acclaim.
A multiple First Prize Winner of the Orchestral Conducting Competition of The American Prize, David Bernard was described by the judges as "a first rate conductor. With no score, an animated and present Maestro Bernard led a phenomenal performance of incredibly difficult repertoire—masterly in shaping, phrasing, technique and expressivity”. Alan Young of lucidculture praised Bernard’s recent Lincoln Center performance of Stravinsky and Wagner: “Conducting from memory, David Bernard led a transcendent performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Segues were seamless, contrasts were vivid and Stravinsky’s whirling exchanges of voices were expertly choreographed.” (February 2015)
Active throughout the greater New York City area, David Bernard has appeared as a guest conductor with the Brooklyn Symphony, the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Litha Symphony, the Massapequa Philharmonic, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, the Putnam Symphony and the South Shore Symphony. Mr. Bernard has previously served as Music Director of the Stony Brook University Orchestra, the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island, and Theater Three.
Devoted to the music of our own time, Mr. Bernard has presented world premières of scores by Bruce Adolphe, Chris Caswell, John Mackey, and Ted Rosenthal, and distinguished concert collaborators have included Carter Brey, David Chan, Catherine Cho, Pedro Díaz, Stanley Drucker, Bart Feller, Ryu Goto, Whoopi Goldberg, Sirena Huang, Judith Ingolfsson, Christina Jennings, Yevgeny Kutik, Anna Lee, Jessica Lee, Kristin Lee, Jon Manasse, Anthony McGill, Spencer Myer, Todd Phillips, and James Archie Worley.
David Bernard’s discography includes 17 albums spanning music from Vivaldi to Copland, including a complete Beethoven symphony cycle praised for its “intensity, spontaneity, propulsive rhythm, textural clarity, dynamic control, and well-judged phrasing” (Fanfare). About his release of 20th century orchestral music by Copland, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, and Bartók, Fanfare Magazine wrote:
"David Bernard is an exceptional conductor… His performances are marked by a strong sense of the music’s structure, an outstanding feeling for orchestral texture and phrasing, and a dynamic rhythmic propulsion that makes itself felt even in quiet passages.” (July 2014)
David Bernard is passionately committed to elementary and secondary school music education, continuously developing new talent and providing solo performance experience to exciting young artists. His leadership in fundraising for music education programs has bolstered outreach, community music schools and conservatory preparatory programs—most notably the Harmony Program (a New York City initiative modeled after Venezuela’s “El Sistema”) and the Lucy Moses School. Mr. Bernard and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony have also established the Parent’s Association Endowed Scholarship Fund at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division.
David Bernard is an alumnus of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Stony Brook University, Tanglewood, and Saratoga Performing Arts Center.