Maxim Bernard, Pianist

Some start their piano studies at the age of three, but for Maxim Bernard, they began at age13. However, his further development has been phenomenal; by age 18, he was invited to perform Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

After completing his studies at the Québec Conservatory of Music with  pianist Suzanne Beaubien, his driving passion led him to one of his idols, pianist André Laplante at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where he received his Artist Diploma. Maxim fell in love with the romantic style of interpretation. The great pianists of the past such as Cortot, Horowitz, Rachmaninoff and Friedman are for him a strong source of inspiration.

In 2004, he met the legendary pianist Menahem Pressler at the Orford Arts Centre and the chemistry between them was immediate. After hearing Maxim play, Pressler declared “I believe in your future!” A few months later, Maxim was on his way to the University of Indiana to study with his new mentor, where he earned both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Piano Performance. He developed his unique style, and music has become for him a spiritual experience. His sensitivity, his personal touch, and the spontaneity he brings to his interpretations combine to make him an exceptional pianist.

He has been a prize winner at many competitions, including the CBC Young Artists Competition and the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition. He was the first-prize winner at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Concerto Competition with his interpretation of Brahms’ First Piano Concerto. In 2006, his career was launched after he won the prestigious « International Stepping Stone » of the Canadian Music Competition.

He taught for five years at Indiana University and his qualifications led him to serve on juries of many music competitions throughout Canada.

Maxim Bernard is a versatile musician who adores challenges. That is probably why conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin asked him to learn Ginastera’s challenging Second Piano Concerto in order to perform the Canadian premiere of the work with the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal. Critic Claude Gingras from La Presse then wrote: “The pianist was entirely up to the onerous task, both in power and in introspection. The conductor and orchestra were in perfect synchronicity with him and the spectacular result inspired a long and enthusiastic ovation from the hall.”

Maxim greatly appreciates playing with orchestras. In addition to Orchestre Métropolitain, has been heard (amongst others) with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Nouveau Monde, the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and Les Violons du Roy.

With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Maxim spent the year 2015 in Germany. This stay provided him with the opportunity to give recitals in Cologne and Paris. The year 2016 led him to solo performances in Bonn, at the Konzerthaus in Vienna and at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. In 2019, he made his debut at Wigmore Hall in London.  He was also the guest soloist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the Sinfonia Rotterdam, orchestra with which he made a concert tour of the cities of Rotterdam (De Doelen), The Hague and Amsterdam (Concertgebouw).  

Maxim constantly searches for original ideas for his innovative thematic concert programs. His concert “1914-1918” continues to fascinate his audience. In 2017, he wished to celebrate the career of one of his favorite musicians, Vladimir Horowitz. Maxim recreated the program that the legendary pianist played in Moscow in 1986 on his return home after a 60-year exile.

Maxim also has an interest in languages; he speaks French, English and German.