Robert Bernhardt


Bob Bernhardt brings a unique perspective and ability each time he is on the podium, and in every genre. He was recently named Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids (MI) Symphony. Concurrently, he is Principal Pops Conductor with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (where he was Music Director for 19 seasons) and is in his 18th season as Principal Pops Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra (and in his 33rd consecutive season there).

Formerly, he was Principal Conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic, Music Director and Conductor of the Tucson Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of Kentucky Opera, Music Director and Conductor of the Amarillo Symphony, and Artistic Director of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta.

The 2012-13 season marked Mr. Bernhardt’s 20th anniversary with the Boston Pops, which he first conducted at John Williams’ invitation in 1992. He has also been a frequent guest conductor of the Baltimore Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, the Seattle Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, the Tucson Symphony, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, and the Pacific Symphony. He has been a guest conductor with many others. A lover of opera, he conducted productions with Kentucky Opera for 18 consecutive seasons, and for 19 seasons with his own company in Chattanooga, as well as many guest conducting engagements with the Nashville Opera. He received his Masters degree with Honors from the University of Southern California’s School of Music, studying primarily with Daniel Lewis. He received his Bachelors-Fine Arts degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum laude, and an Academic All-American Baseball Player. He and his wife, Nora, both dog lovers, live in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, with their rescued cat, Shoogie.

Since making his ESO debut in May 2006, Bob Bernhardt has become a favourite with the orchestra and its audiences. This past fall marked his 10th Anniversary season with the ESO at its outdoor festivals, and he frequently conducts performances in ESO subscription series concerts and specials.