Bernhard Gueller photo by Scott Blackburn [cropped]

Bernhard Gueller



Well-known to audiences internationally for the passion, mastery and drama he brings to the concert hall podium, Bernhard Gueller is also acclaimed for his “profound interpretations”, the “stunning responses he gets from musicians” and the excitement he elicits. Cue called his direction of the KZNPO at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in South Africa in July “inspiring and commanding” … “Gueller’s moulding of sophisticated tonal blending, especially noticeable from the woodwinds, in the two middle movements showcases the work of a conductor at the peak of his creative powers.”

He is acclaimed by musicians, critics and audience for his musical purity and continually garners praise for the fresh approach he applies under his “amazingly suggestive baton”.

Music director of Symphony Nova Scotia in Canada since 2002, Bernhard Gueller is also principal guest conductor of the Victoria Symphony in BC, Canada and has conducted several Canadian orchestras in Calgary, Edmonton and in October Hamilton. Has also served as music director, principal conductor and principal guest conductor with various orchestras, including the CTPO in Cape Town, the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, the Suddeutsche Junge Filharmonie Esslingen and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and has been a guest conductor in South Africa for more than 20 years. His career has taken him to many top concert halls from America and Australia to Canada, Russia, Japan, China (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong), Korea, South Africa, and Brazil, as well as countries in Europe such as Spain, Italy, France, Norway and Sweden and his native Germany where he, for instance, conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony and the Munich Philharmonic.

He has also conducted in festivals internationally, including the CTPO in the International Festival of the Canary Islands, the Schwetzinger Festival in Germany, the Scotia Festival in Halifax and Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.

Gueller has collaborated with many leading soloists such as cellists Daniel Mueller-Schott, Maria Kliegel, Claudio Bohorquez and David Geringas; pianists Anton Kuerti,Jon Kimura Parker,  Ivo Pogorelich, Jan Lisiecki, Janina Fialkowska, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Lars Vogt, Peter Donohoe, Philippe Bianconi  and Wayne Marshall, violinists Joshua Bell and James Ehnes, trumpeter Maurice Andre and entertainers Lionel Ritchie and David Foster. He has also collaborated with Met soprano, Elza van den Heever, in a concert of Wagner and Strauss with the Cape Town, Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded for South African television by kykNet, and Pretty Yende.

With a reputation for his mastery of contemporary works, Gueller has commissioned several concerti for Symphony Nova Scotia. These include a concerto for accordion, for oboe and one for piano. He has premiered for the Concerto for Tabla and Orchestra by Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne and works by other foremost Canadian composers such as Derek Charke and Tim Brady. He has also given the first performance of works by composers such as the German composer Werner Egt and South African composer Peter Klatzow and has several works dedicated to him.

Gueller has made many recordings for national and international broadcast. His CD, Dancing in the Light, of works by contemporary Canadian composer, Christos Hatzis, with Symphony Nova Scotia, was released to critical acclaim. This followed a CD with South African mezzo soprano Hanneli Rupert and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and others with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, German Brass and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. A CD of contemporary Canadian works by Tim Brady is being released in September.

He was awarded a doctorate by Dalhousie University in Halifax for his services to music in the province.

Beginning his career as a cellist, Gueller won the United German Radios Conducting Competition in 1979 and for nearly 20 years ran tandem careers, deputing for the legendary conductor Sergiu Celibidache who regarded Gueller as his best “pupil”. Gueller also attracted the attention of the renowned arts administrator Ernest Fleischman who “was deeply impressed by his extraordinary musicianship, his marvellous ability to communicate with the musicians, and… his charismatic impact on the audience”.

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