Music Director Emeritus
Marking his 26th anniversary with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Music Director Emeritus, Bob Bernhardt, formerly served as Music Director and Conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera for 19 seasons. He was the second Music Director in the combined company’s history, and is its first with the title Emeritus. Along with the extraordinary rejuvenation of our city, Bernhardt likewise led the CSO into its most exciting, hopeful and inviting period with his unique blend of dedication, commitment to excellence, and sense of humor. A lover of all genres of music, he is equally at home in symphonic, operatic, pops and educational performances.
Concurrently, Bob is in his 22nd year as Principal Pops Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, and is in his 37th consecutive season with the company. This is also his 4th season as Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan. He is also an Artist-in-Residence at Lee University and conductor of the Lee Symphony.
Bernhardt recently made his conducting debuts with the Baltimore Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic, all of which resulted in return engagements. This season marks the 26th anniversary of his debut with the Boston Pops (at John Williams’ invitation in 1992), and is returning to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for the 13th consecutive year as conductor of their Symphony Under the Sky Festival and as a guest on several of their subscription series. This season he will appear as a guest conductor with the orchestras in Detroit, Florida (Tampa), Columbus, New Jersey, Portland (ME), and Louisiana.
Formerly, he was the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic (1995-98), Artistic Director of the Sewanee Music Festival in 1999, Music Director and Conductor of the Tucson (AZ) Symphony Orchestra (1987-95), Principal Guest Conductor of Kentucky Opera (1991-96), Artistic Director of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta (1993-97) and Music Director of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra (1985-1987).
He was a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Union (NY) College, where he was an Academic All-American Baseball Player, and captain of the school’s soccer team. His children, Alex and Charlotte, live in Seattle. He and his wife, Nora, live on Signal Mountain.