Known for her youthful vibrancy and dynamic versatility with musical genres and styles, Mélanie Léonard has earned both critical acclaim and the respect of Calgary audiences; and is increasingly sought after as a guest conductor with other major Canadian orchestras. She served as Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's Resident Conductor from 2009 to 2012 and as Associate Conductor for the 2012-2013 Season.
A Montréal native, Ms. Léonard illustrates her virtuosity on the classical and jazz scenes. 2007 marked her first collaboration with the Montréal Jazz Festival, as she led the orchestra accompanying Colin James at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier (Place des Arts, Montréal) for the “Jazz à l’année” series. She returned to the same hall to conduct Nikki Yanofsky and Pink Martini’s symphonic shows during the Jazz Festival. She has served as Artistic Director of the Veaudreuil-Soulanges Classical Choir and is also the founder, Artistic Director and conductor of the highly acclaimed Ensemble Prima, a Montréal based chamber ensemble devoted to 20th and 21st century music.
Ms. Léonard’s impassioned love of music, her charming stage presence, and her rapport with musicians and audiences are quickly becoming known on the national music scene. In May 2012, she made her guest conducting debut with Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and in March 2013, she debuted as guest conductor with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 2012 she was honoured with the coveted Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestra Conducting by the Canada Council for the Arts, awarded annually by a Music Advisory Committee comprised of the staff conductors of Canadian orchestras. In the 2013-2014 season, she will make her debut with Montreal based I Musici, Kensington Sinfonia and the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Léonard holds a Doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Montréal, where she studied with Maestri Paolo Bellomia and Jean-François Rivest. She received her Bachelor's degree in theory from the same university, and completed her Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Hartt School of Music, where she studied with Maestro Christopher Zimmerman.
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