St. Louis Symphony announced the appointment of Marie-Hélène Bernard to the position of President & CEO, effective July 1, 2015

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  1. LOUIS (February 11, 2015) Today, the St. Louis Symphony announced the appointment of Marie-Hélène Bernard to the position of President & CEO, effective July 1, 2015.

Since 2007, Bernard has held the position of Executive Director and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, the nation’s oldest continuously performing arts organization, which is now in its bicentennial year. She has previously served as Chief of Staff, Project Manager, and Orchestra Manager for the Philadelphia Orchestra; Orchestra Manager for the Cleveland Orchestra; and President and CEO of the Canton (OH) Symphony Orchestra.

During Bernard’s eight year tenure at the Handel and Haydn Society, the organization experienced an important artistic and financial revival towards its 200th anniversary celebration. Under her leadership, H+H established itself as an essential educational provider and partner to youth and music educators in Massachusetts, and as a leader in early music in the nation. H+H also experienced a substantial growth of its audience size, with 30% of patrons under the age of 44; a budget and an endowment that grew to almost double their original size; remarkable partnership programs in the community that fostered diversity and inclusion; the release of eight titles on the CORO label, one international tour, two domestic tours and a regular local and national broadcast presence.

Barry Beracha, Chairman of the St. Louis Symphony Board of Trustees said: “Marie-Hélène Bernard brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience to the St. Louis Symphony. She is a strong leader with a personable, collaborative approach to communication and management. She brings many great things to this important position. I am confident she will be welcomed to St. Louis and look forward to working with her to further the development and growth of our wonderful St. Louis Symphony.”

St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson said: “I am delighted in the appointment of Marie-Hélène Bernard who will be a wonderful partner in our continued success with the St. Louis Symphony. She combines high artistic ideals with a deep knowledge of the profession and a wonderfully open and engaging personality. I’m looking forward to working with her.”


Kathleen Mattis & Michael Walk, Co-Chairs of the St. Louis Symphony Musicians’ Council, said: “We were most impressed with Marie-Hélène’s collaborative nature and global perspective. She has shown herself able to see many sides of an issue, and to think creatively in addressing problems. We believe she will help the St. Louis Symphony to explore new growth opportunities, and will foster the orchestra’s continuing prominence in the artistic world.”


Marie-Hélène Bernard said: “I am honored to join the St. Louis Symphony and to support this great American treasure. With David Robertson at the helm, some of the world’s finest orchestral players, a  chorus, staff, board & volunteer association whose talent and commitment is extraordinary, and one of the most engaged audiences anywhere, St. Louis has so much of which to be proud. I am thrilled to partner with David, the board, the staff and the community to ensure that this most innovative and resilient of American orchestras continues to thrive and flourish.”


Bernard began her career in orchestra management in 1996, having won a prestigious fellowship with the League of American Orchestras. During that fellowship, she completed residencies with the New York Philharmonic and Minnesota Orchestra. A Québec native, Bernard studied communications, media, and literature at Jean-de-Brébeuf College, law at the University of Montréal, and holds a Master’s degree in arts management from Concordia University (Montreal). She practiced corporate, tax, and intellectual property law for six years in Canada and remains a member of the Québec Bar Association. Bernard plays viola da gamba and serves as Treasurer and President-elect of Early Music America.

The selection of Marie-Hélène Bernard to this post was made by a Search Committee and Selection Committee led by St. Louis Symphony Board Chair Barry Beracha & Vice Chair Kim Eberlein. Members of the committees included St. Louis Symphony Trustees, Music Director, musicians, & senior staff members.

Founded in 1880 and now in its 135th season, the St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest orchestra in the country and widely considered one of the great orchestras in the world. In September 2005, internationally acclaimed conductor David Robertson became the 12th Music Director, the second American-born conductor to hold that post in the Orchestra’s history.  The St. Louis Symphony strives for artistic excellence, fiscal responsibility and community connection while meeting its mission statement:  enriching people’s live through the power of music. The Symphony presents a full season of classical programs and Live at Powell Hall concerts and hundreds of free education and community programs each year.  Media partners include St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 –KWMU, which broadcasts the Symphony’s Saturday night subscription concerts live, and The Nine Network, which features STL Symphony performances on its Night at the Symphony program.

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