Associate Professor, Conducting and Ensembles
B.Mus. (Hartt), M.Mus. (Boston), D.M.A. (Eastman)
American-born conductor Jonathan Girard is one of the rising stars of his generation. A passionate musician committed to engaging audiences with thrilling performances, he continues to gain a reputation as a musical force equally versed in symphonic repertoire, opera, and new music.
As the Director of Orchestras at the University of British Columbia School of Music, Mr. Girard dedicates himself to raising the standard of orchestral training in Western Canada. The UBC Symphony’s 2015-2016 season celebrates the University centennial year with a world première by Jared Miller, Soundscape for a Century Past, and the ninth symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert, and Shostakovich. The 2014-2015 season featured Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, and culminated in two performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with 300 musicians on stage. Highlights of 2013-2014 season included a landmark performance of Le Sacre du printemps to mark the 100th anniversary of the work’s première, and a tour of Western Canada with Canadian violinist David Gillham, featuring the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Strauss’ Don Juan.
WATCH: Dr. Girard talks about the art of conducting.
This past summer, Mr. Girard made his European operatic conducting debut with the European Music Academy leading the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Le nozze di Figaro in opera houses across the Czech Republic. He also worked with Bramwell Tovey as assistant conductor for the inagural season of the VSO Whistler Institue. He was the assistant conductor of the Ohio Light Opera from 2012-2014. His 2014 engagement included 8 performances of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Mr. Girard recently served as cover conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (NY) and made his debut with them in May of 2012.
A champion of new music, Mr. Girard works closely with composers in British Columbia. In May 2015, he premièred Stephen Chatman’s new opera, Choir Practice. He conducted the recording of Chatman’s large work, Magnificat for Orchestra and Choir, which was released on the Centrediscs label in September 2013 and is currently available on Naxos and iTunes. This recording was nominated for a 2014 Juno Award for Best Classical Composition. He is in the midst of a two-year recording project for the Centrediscs label of concerti by British Columbia composers. Mr. Girard has conducted world premières of new works by Ricardo Zohn Muldoon, Elizabeth Kelly, Jung Sun Kang, and John Liberatore, among others. His recording of Kelly’s ISO Amor was selected as a finalist for the ASCAP foundation’s Rudolf Nissim Prize. He has also conducted the North American premières of NONcerto for Trumpet and Orchestra by Richard Ayres and two tone poems by Emmerich Kálmán:Saturnalia and Endre és Johanna.
Mr. Girard was the Visiting Artist Conductor at the University of Northern Iowa School of Music in 2010-2011 and has held positions as the music director of the New Eastman Outreach Orchestra and Waltham Philharmonic (MA), associate conductor of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra (MA), principal guest conductor of the Boston Orpheus Ensemble and assistant conductor of the Portland (ME) Opera Repertory Theatre. At the Eastman School of Music, he studied conducting with Neil Varon and was the assistant conductor of the Eastman Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonia, and the Eastman Opera Theatre.
Mr. Girard has worked with many prestigious ensembles, including the American Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish Academy Symphony Orchestra, Alea III, the Brown University Symphony Orchestra, the Boston University Symphony Orchestras, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players.