Jun 03, 2013

By Scott Walker

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The founding conductor of one of Canada’s leading orchestras has died.

Maestro Mario Bernardi founded the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1968.

NAC President Peter Herndorf calls him “a national figure who played a seminal role in the life of classical music in Canada.”

Bernardi was born in Kirkland Lake but grew up in Italy where he studied at the Venice Conservatory. He began his professional career with the Royal Conservatory Opera School in Toronto. He also conducted at Sadler’s Wells in the UK before coming back to found the NAC orchestra.

The Canadian flag is flying at half-mast at the NAC in his memory. A bust commissioned earlier this year will be unveiled on Canada Day at the NAC’s Southam Hall, where he conducted hundreds of concerts.

Maria Bernardi was 83.

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