Principal guest conductor of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director Laureate of Symphony Nova Scotia in Canada, Bernhard Gueller continues to be acclaimed for his interpretations and phrasing, and the excitement he brings to the podium. “He is a favoured conductor, both of players and audiences, undoubtedly because of his carefully prepared but always musically rewarding performances”(South Africa’s WeekendSpecial.co.za). He is acclaimed by musicians, critics and audiences for his musical purity, and continually garners praise for the fresh approach he applies under his “amazingly suggestive baton”.
Having stepped down in 2018 after 16 years as music director of Symphony Nova Scotia, Gueller stepped into a new role as Music Director Laureate and in the last two years, prior to the advent of Covid-19 returned to both SNS and British Columbia’s Victoria Symphony where he was also principal guest conductor. He also made his debut with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in New Jersey pre-Covid and returned to Halifax to conduct the Scotia Festival of Music again. He has conducted many other orchestras in Canada including the Edmonton and Calgary Philharmonic orchestras and is a frequent guest conductor with the KZN Philharmonic and the Johannesburg Philharmonic, in South Africa, returning to them as soon as Covid restrictions were over. He will return to Symphony Nova Scotia in 2023.
During Covid and based in Cape Town, Gueller further established the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s international presence with more than 25 streamed symphony concerts, several ‘Cyber Symphonies’ series, which received acclaim from those who viewed them across the world.
Gueller has had many high-level collaborations with internationally acclaimed soloists, including Canadian violinist James Ehnes and pianists Jan Lisiecki, Janina Fialkowska, Anton Kuerti, Jon Kimura Parker and Marc Andre-Hamelin, along with pianist Lars Vogt, violinist Joshua Bell, and Metropolitan Opera singers Pretty Yende, Elza van den Heever and the late Johan Botha, as well as soprano Pumeza Matshikiza.
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”.
He has also been music director in Nuremberg and principal guest conductor of the Johannesburg Philharmonic. 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, Bulgaria, Italy and Sweden, and his native Germany where he, for instance, conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony and the Munich Philharmonic.
He has conducted in festivals internationally, including the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra in the International Festival of the Canary Islands, the Schwetzinger Festival in Germany, the Scotia Festival in Halifax, and the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival and National Arts Festival in South Africa.
Gueller has made many recordings for national and international broadcast and several acclaimed CDs including two with the CPO – with South African mezzo soprano Hanneli Rupert and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the concerti of Vieuxtemps and Saint-Saëns with South African cellist Peter Martens. Others include two with contemporary Canadian composer, Christos Hatzis, one of contemporary Canadian works by Tim Brady which won an East Coast Music award, and a CD of orchestrated lieder by Schubert, all with Symphony Nova Scotia. His latest CD with Symphony Nova Scotia with songstress Sarah Slean was nominated for a Juno Award in 2021. He has also recorded CDs with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, German Brass and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. Gueller was awarded a doctorate by Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for his service to music.
“Gueller … is a podium master. His skill and profound musicality enabled him to concentrate on how best to bring out Schumann’s many elegant musical ideas and structures.”
- Bernhard Gueller conducts the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra Tchaikovsky S no 5, excerpt mvt 1
- Bernhard Gueller and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra Tchaikovsky 3rd mvt excerpt 2016
- Bernhard Gueller . Cape Town Philharmonic Tchaikovsky mvt 4
- Live at the Cape Town City Hall on June 16, 2016, Bernhard Gueller conducts the 102-year old Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra in the 5th Symphony by Tchaikovsky
- Symphony Nova Scotia's Music Director, Bernhard Gueller, gives us the inside scoop on the orchestra's performance with cellist Denise Djokic.
- Out of Canada and Africa with Bernhard Gueller
- Bernhard Gueller Conducts The Nutcracker for the 100th time