David Bernard
conductor
  • Biography
  • Discography
  • Reviews
  • Itinerary
  • Out of This World
  • Media
David Bernard

DAVID BERNARD is recognized for his dramatic and incisive conducting in the United states and in over 20 countries on four continents. Currently, he serves as Music Director of both the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony and the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra, with both ensembles known for expanding audiences and increased critical acclaim. A multiple First prize winner of the Orchestral Conducting Competition of The American prize (most recently in 2018-19), he was described in the judges’ remarks as “Conducting from memory, David Bernard exhibits remarkable skill and considerable elan in a vibrant reading of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Not content with a cool, furrowed-brow approach to this music, his interpretation is alive to the nuances of color and, indeed, the dramatic arc, of this legendary work. His is a considerable achievement by any standard.”

Notable recent performances in New York City include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. David Bernard has led symphony orchestras throughout the greater-New York City area: Brooklyn, Greater Newburgh, Island, Litha, Putnam and South Shore, as well as the New York Symphonic Arts ensemble and the orchestra of the Manhattan School of Music. During the 2019-20 season, he made his debuts with Connecticut’s Greenwich Symphony Orchestra and Iowa’s Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.

David Bernard is intensely devoted to the expansion of the audience for classical music, and his successful efforts include engaging families in the community through schools, presenting multi-media concerts and developing “Classical Music from the InsideOut,” wherein audience members sit among the orchestra during performances. InsideOut Concerts offer unsurpassed experiences and a heightened level of engagement for audiences of all ages, and have garnered acclaim from WQXR, Newsday, ClassicalWorld and The Epoch Times.

Devoted to the music of our own time, David Bernard has presented world premières of scores by Bruce Adolphe, Chris Caswell, John Mackey, Ted Rosenthal and Jake Runestad, while distinguished concert collaborators include Carter Brey, David Chan, Catherine Cho, Adrian Daurov, Pedro Díaz, Stanley Drucker, Bart Feller, Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Ingolfsson, Jessica Lee, Jon Manasse, Spencer Myer, Todd Phillips, Inbal Segev and Michael Stern.

David Bernard is a pianist and harpsichord/continuo player, and often leads Baroque works from the keyboard and performs in the dual role of soloist and conductor. He has also prepared new editions of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1 and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and The Firebird Suite (1919 version), published his own editions of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2, and written a textbook of music theory, The Structural Principles of Music. Mr. Bernard lectures on musicology, music history and musicianship, most recently “Musicianship in Performance,” an exploration of the decisions made when creating performances.

David Bernard is an alumnus of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Stony Brook University, The Tanglewood Music Center and Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and studied with Sergiu Celibidache, David Lawton, Roger Nierenberg and Arthur Weisberg.

David Bernard’s discography includes over 25 albums spanning music from Vivaldi to Copland, and released on Amazon.com, iTunes, Napster and Rhapsody.

www.davidbernard.com

Bizet: Symphony in C

“SOUNDS OF AMERICA”
Barber: Adagio for Strings
Copland: Appalachian Spring (suite)
Copland: Clarinet Concerto
soloist: Jon Manasse
Bernstein: Symphony Dances from West Side Story

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

Recursive Classics: RC139941

Bizet: Symphony in C

DVORÁK: The Late Symphonies
Symphony #6 in D, Op. 60
Symphony #7 in d, Op. 70
Symphony #8 in G, Op. 88
Symphony #9 in e, Op. 95 (“From the New World”)

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

Recursive Classics: RC137552

Bizet: Symphony in C

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony #6 in b, Op. 74 (“Pathétique”)

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

Recursive Records: RC2059912

Bizet: Symphony in C

STRAVINSKY
The Rite of Spring
The Firebird Suite (1919)

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

 Recursive Records: RC2057001

Bizet: Symphony in C

COPLAND: Appalachian Spring (suite)
RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé (Suite #2)
STRAVINSKY: The Firebird Suite (1919)

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

Recursive Records: RC2057008

Bizet: Symphony in C

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony #5 in e, Op. 64
Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

Recursive Records: RC2057013

BEETHOVEN: The Nine Symphonies

soloists: Susanna Eyton-Jones, soprano
Jan Wilson, mezzo-soprano
James Archie Worley, tenor
Michael Riley, bass-baritone
with Brearley Singers
Central City Chorus
New York City Master Chorale
with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

PACS

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons, Op. 8

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons, Op. 8

soloist: David Chan, violinist

CIMAROSA: Oboe Concerto in C

soloist: Pedro Díaz, oboist
with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

PACS

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons, Op. 8

SCHUMANN: Symphony #2 in C, Op. 61
BRAHMS: Symphony #3 in F, Op. 90

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

PACS

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons, Op. 8

MOZART: Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622

soloist: Stanley Drucker

BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61

soloist: David Chan
with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

PACS

STRAUSS

STRAUSS
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

PACS

RACHMANINOFF: Symphony #2 in e, Op. 27

RACHMANINOFF: Symphony #2 in e, Op. 27

with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

PACS

Dvorák’s symphonies are well represented in the recording catalogue, with multiple performances - especially of the late symphonies - featuring seasoned orchestras led by conductors legendary and otherwise. So do we really need another set played by an amateur ensemble under an intrepid music director? Not so fast. More than a few moments in this release of symphonies 6-9 suggest that a fully professional ensemble is being guided by a forceful and insightful conductor. The performances go far in conveying the lyrical effusion, dramatic contrasts and boisterous spirits abounding in these works. The fact that the members of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony are classically trained but make their livings in other vocations is no impediment to affecting and robust music-making.

 GRAMOPHONE

Pulcinella Suite, Stravinsky’s bold reworking of pieces by the Baroque composer Pergolesi, was played with zest by the admirable Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, conducted by David Bernard.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

There’s a tremendous sheen to these performances of Dvorák’s later symphonies; Bernard and his Park Avenue musicians prove why they’ve won many fans in Manhattan and beyond. The oh-so familiar Ninth stands proud, but I’ve played their lyrical Eighth on loop. ★★★★

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

Is David Bernard one of the great conductors of the 21st century? The four releases by Bernard and his Park Avenue Chamber Symphony that I’ve reviewed over the past year lead me to think so. He is a conductor who can find something fresh to reveal in even the most familiar works, not by doing anything especially eccentric but through a combination of intensity, spontaneity, propulsive rhythm, textural clarity, dynamic control, and well-judged phrasing. Any of those four releases could have found a place on my Want List, but the one that deserves precedence is his traversal of the nine Beethoven symphonies, a milestone for any conductor. The performances in this set range from persuasive to extraordinary. The riveting realization of the mighty Ninth falls into the latter category.

FANFARE

AN AFTERNOON OF SWEETS AND DELIGHTS with the Eglevsky Ballet [headline]
The Massapequa Philharmonic under the direction of David Bernard regaled the audience with the music of Tchaikovsky. Throughout the performance, I felt as if I were listening to a pre-recorded sound track because it was so smooth. What a wonderful addition and elevated element for the audience! Balletomanes and all ballet enthusiasts need not travel to Manhattan to experience a Nutcracker. The choice of Long Island’s Tilles Center for the Performing Arts was the ‘perfect’ venue. On a scale of #1-10, I give this a definite #12.

BROADWAYWORLD.COM

One may miss the sonorous heft and large-scale dimensions of classic full-orchestra [Tchaikovsky] Pathétiques from Karajan, Mravinsky and Solti, yet Bernard and his musicians frequently shed new and valuable light on a thrice-familiar standard, abetted by a recorded ambience that evokes concert-hall realism.

GRAMOPHONE

My favourite recent Beethoven cycle is a largely unnoticed one from Copenhagen. This disc of No 9 is another outsider. As a performance, it’s a winner: dramatic, witty, eloquent and boasting some startling choral work in the last movement. The finale is outstanding: the moment early on where bass Brian Kontes encounters the combined forces of the New Amsterdam Singers, the West Point Glee Club and the Young New Yorker’s Chorus is an exhilarating surprise. The massed singing has thrilling weight and immediacy. Tenor Cameron Schutza is a standout among Bernard’s excellent quartet of soloists. There’s a refreshing absence of bombast at the close, and an abundance of uninhibited joy. Well worth investigating.

THEARTSDESK.COM

Saturday afternoon at Newburgh’s Downing Park, the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra held its annual free summer concert, conducted by David Bernard, the first of four candidates to be the next maestro. He chose as his theme “Opera Goes Pops” to show the lyric drama of opera music to embody emotions and tell stories. Bernard introduced each piece with its history and meaning to make the large family audience aware of opera’s power and appeal. His direction was personable, concise and at ease. Musicians and listeners were in tune with him from start to finish.

TIMES HERALD-RECORD (Middletown, NY)

A charming well-prepared performance. Bernard chose a stylistically well-balanced program, one that presented music from three different centuries. The performance of Shostakovich’s challenging Fifth Symphony was very impressive.

NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW

David Bernard did an excellent job of conducting the world premiere of my piece Aha! in Avery Fisher Hall. With great enthusiasm and diligence, David communicated the rhythmic intricacies of the music to the musicians in rehearsals, and he worked efficiently in the time he had to inspire and instruct the orchestra. I was very pleased with his grasp of the new score and his ability to bring out details as well as shape the large phrases. David brought a fine-tuned sense of balance and color to the music, and his energy infected the players in the best possible way. It was a fine experience, and I would welcome another opportunity to work with him.

BRUCE ADOLPHE, Composer

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony’s performance of Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony was captivating throughout; the clarity of rhythm and the musical conviction of the players were superb in what was a sparkling account. Music Director David Bernard made the most of Beethoven’s melodic material by emphasizing the shape of the musical line. All dynamics were presented with great contrast, but Bernard also brought out the nuanced Haydnesque elements in the music: the humor, the grace, the lightness of touch in the orchestration, and he emphasized the Viennese dance music that permeates the score.

NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW

David Bernard is a fine conductor who achieves a great rapport with the ensembles he conducts. His musical ideas are sound and convincing and his rehearsal style is courteous, clear and encouraging. The New Amsterdam Singers had a rewarding experience singing the Mozart Requiem under his direction.

CLARA LONGSTRETH, Music Director, The New Amsterdam Singers

A riveting and stellar performance on all fronts. Music Director David Bernard, who led the performance while playing the harpsichord, did an excellent job of maintaining solid ensemble-playing and consistently driven tempos in what was a crisply articulate, high-energy account [Vivaldi The Four Seasons]. A memorable performance, Bernard conducted the Gloria from memory and with an astute ear for phrasing and color.

NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW

Mr. Bernard has a great gift for empowering the musicians in his orchestras to perform to their best abilities without sacrificing his required control as a conductor. As simple as this seems, it is actually a very rare combination of skills found only in the best of conductors.

SHEM GUIBBORY, First Violinist, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

Towering, Epic Majesty from the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony [headline]
David Bernard conducted from memory; he has these pieces [Beethoven Symphony #4; Mahler Symphony #1] in his fingers, leading the orchestra with a vigorous meticulousness, bolstered by a confidence that there were no limits on where this music might go, from a whisper to a scream. Employing the entirety of the sonic spectrum, the orchestra responded with a frequently exhilarating performance.

LUCID CULTURE

New York City has lots of big attractions that people around the world are well aware of. But New York City also has smaller gems that don’t get the same attention but still shine just as brightly. The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony is one such gem. This superb ensemble, led ably by David Bernard, delivered an impressive performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, which many, more well known and well funded, orchestras would be jealous of.

BWW CLASSICAL WORLD.COM

Where is the fireworks vibrantly exist is in the [Tchaikovsky] Symphony No. 5. David Bernard brings together all elements of orchestral virtuosity throughout the score. The opening Andante - Allegro con anima pulsates with energy and riveting strength; the fugato tosses and tussles with convincing fussiness. The first horn in the subsequent Andante cantabile is warm, soft and formed. Within the Symphony’s third movement Tchaikovsky’s transitioning hemiola techniques creates a bit of teasing frivolity that’s especially well highlighted under Mr. Bernard’s direction. In the Finale we find the brass in their finest, polished glory; violins are patriotically perky and flounced in the coda. The sound is well balanced, captivating and breathless.

CONCERTONET.COM

Bernard is an exceptional conductor. This album will grab you from the first notes of Bartók’s Dance Suite and never let you go until the finale of the Firebird Suite. 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. I have seldom, if ever, heard a performance of Appalachian Spring as good as this. It is finer than such famous past performances as Serge Koussevitzky’s or the composer’s own recording. It is, quite simply, stupendous in every respect, and I should add that the sonics in toto are absolutely mind-boggling. This is an essential recording. No matter how many other versions you may own of these works, Bernard’s readings will be at or near the top of your list.

FANFARE

There are scores of decent recordings [Stravinsky The Rite of Spring] around. Why should this one be worthy of attention, played by a semi-professional New York orchestra? The playing is impressive, the lean, clear sonorities are an asset, and the finer details hit home with pleasing immediacy under David Bernard’s baton. This performance is a zinger. Good, clear recorded sound.

THEARTSDESK.COM

Maestro Bernard leads with a deft hand, and always seems to demonstrate a stylish precision. When [Copland’s]Simple Gifts arrives, we expect it to be something special, and it is. Bernard and his team avoid sentimentality and play it with joy and love. Bernard ensures that Ravel's score [Daphnis et Chloe, Suite No. 2] exudes the proper fairy-tale magic and mysticism it deserves. The textures are always lush and luminous, the story unfolding at a steady but not insistent pace. When the excitement develops, it, too, is properly judged--not too indulgent, not too overdone, yet with conviction and sprightly animation. [Stravinsky]: Under Bernard's direction, this is one of the most satisfying Firebird Suites I've heard.

CLASSICAL CANDOR

10/24/2021 (3pm)

MASSAPEQUA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (NY)

Berner Middle School Auditorium

Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #3
soloist: Maxim Lando
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4

11/20/2021 (2&5pm)

PARK AVENUE CHAMBER SYMPHONY (NYC)

Mary Flagler Cary Hall, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music

“InsideOut Concert: Venerable Variations”
Mozart: Rondo in D
soloist: Maxim Lando, pianist
Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn
Elgar: Enigma Variations

12/12/2021 (3pm)

MASSAPEQUA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (NY)

Berner Middle School Auditorium

“Sounds & Tastes of the Season”

12/18/2021 (1&7pm)
12/19/2021 (1pm)

EGLEVSKY BALLET

Tilles Center for the Performing Arts (Brookville, NY)

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
with Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

3/6/2022 (3pm)

PARK AVENUE CHAMBER SYMPHONY (NYC)\

Concert Hall, Adelphi University Performing Arts Center (Garden City,  NY)

Verdi: La forza del destino (overture)
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #2
soloist: Spencer Myer
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4

4/2/2022 (3pm)

MASSAPEQUA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA

Concert Hall, Adelphi University Performing Arts Center (Garden City, NY)

Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn
Liszt: Les Préludes
Dvorák: Cello Concerto
soloist: Carter Brey

5/14/2022 (2&5pm)

PARK AVENUE CHAMBER SYMPHONY (NYC)

Mary Flagler Cary Hall, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music

“InsideOut Concert”
Mahler: Symphony #5

5/22/2022 (3pm)

MASSAPEQUA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (NY)

Berner Middle School Auditorium

Bruch: Scottish Fantasy
soloist: Alexandra Woroniecka, violinist
Brahms: Symphony #1

OUT OF THIS WORLD :
MAESTRO DAVID BERNARD and DR. JACKIE FAHERTY

Conductor David Bernard and astrophysicist Jackie Faherty (of the American Museum of Natural History) have developed Out of This World, a new kind of multimedia and multi-disciplinary presentation of Gustav Holst’s The Planets that is captivating audiences and selling out venues.

As maestro Bernard introduces each planet from the musical perspective, Dr. Faherty mirrors the presentation from the scientific viewpoint. Together, they reveal how the science and music complement each other and are fascinatingly, inextricably linked. All of this is illustrated with one-of-a-kind images that make astronomy - and music - come alive. Concertgoers come away feeling like astronomers-for-a-day, carried through our solar system by the unforgettable music of Gustav Holst!

Media Interest: Read Newsday’s profile of the most recent Out of This World here: http://bit.ly/MPONewsdayOutOfThisWorld

Holst: The Planets (InsideOut Concerts: The Family Experience)

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
Mary Flagler Cary Hall, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music (NYC)
February, 2019

Brahms: Symphony #2 in D, Op. 73 (mvt. I: Allegro non troppo)

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church (NYC)
May, 2018

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé (Suite #2)

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church (NYC)
February, 2018

Stravinsky: “Sacrificial Dance” from The Rite of Spring

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
Rose Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (NYC)
February, 2016

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra (mvt. I: Introduzione. Andante non troppo - Allegro vivace)

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
Rose Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (NYC)
December, 2015