BOWLING GREEN, O.—Each year the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts welcomes a special musical artist as a part of the Hansen Musical Arts series, a residency created and supported by BGSU alumni Dorothy E. and DuWayne H. Hansen. From Oct. 28-Nov. 1, the college will host conductor Robert “Bob” Bernhardt.
His visit includes a public lecture entitled: “If They’re Not Looking at You, Why Do They Need You? A Peek into the Role of the Conductor,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public.
As the Hansen Resident, Bernhardt plans a busy itinerary. “I’m going to be working with, and getting to know, as many aspects of campus/community musical life as I can. I’ll be talking to instrumentalists about the audition process, and answering as many questions as I can about life in the profession,” he said.
His schedule includes conducting a rehearsal with the BG Philharmonia, BGSU Wind Symphony and even the Toledo Youth Symphony, working with student conductors, with singers and accompanists in opera, and “meeting as many people, and hearing as many stories, as I can,” he said.
Bernhardt is not a typical guest; his early career aspirations revolved around baseball rather than music. In fact, he spent four days in spring training with the Kansas City Royals before deciding he was made for music and not the big leagues.
A New York native, Bernhardt earned his master’s degree from the University of Southern California in music, under the tutelage of Daniel Lewis. He began his opera career with the Birmingham Opera, becoming the assistant conductor of the Louisville Orchestra in 1989. He is a frequent guest conductor of the Nashville Opera and owns the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.
“By the time I arrive at BGSU,” Bernhardt said, “I’ll have guest conducted the Detroit Symphony, Boston Pops, Dallas Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Edmonton Symphony, as well as conducted concerts with the Louisville Orchestra, where I am principal pops conductor, and Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, where I am Music Director Emeritus and conductor of pops. I also am Artist-in-Residence at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.”
Along with an extensive resume, Bernhardt has worked with Broadway stars and pop rockers, including Ann Hampton Calloway, Patti LaPone and The Beach Boys.
He said he is excited to visit BGSU. “This will be my first time on campus, and I’ve heard marvelous things about BGSU and the arts.”
The Dorothy E. and DuWayne Hansen Musical Arts Series, established in 1996, brings significant representatives of the musical and creative arts to Bowling Green to share their talent and knowledge with students and the community at large. Dorothy Hansen is an alumna of the College of Musical Arts and DuWayne Hansen is a former chair of the college’s music education department.
Previous guests include Branford Marsalis, Nancy Giles, Terence Blanchard, Benjamin Zander, Craig Schulman, Marin Alsop and Bob McGrath.
For more information, visit www.bgsu.edu/music.