Marie-Hélène Bernard became Executive Director and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society in April 2007. A Québec native, she studied Communications, Media, and Literature at Jean-de-Brébeuf College (Montréal, Canada) and law at the University of Montréal, and holds a Master’s degree in Arts Management. As an attorney, Ms. Bernard practiced corporate, tax, and intellectual property law for six years in Canada and remains a member of the Québec Bar Association.
Ms. Bernard began her career in orchestra management in 1996, having won a prestigious Orchestra Management Fellowship with the American Symphony Orchestra League. During that fellowship she completed residencies with the New York Philharmonic and Minnesota Orchestra. Over the succeeding eight years, Ms. Bernard served as Chief of Staff, Project Manager, and Orchestra Manager for the Philadelphia Orchestra; Orchestra Manager for the Cleveland Orchestra, where she managed touring activities and worked with Music Directors Christoph von Dohnányi and Franz Welser-Möst; and President and CEO of the Canton (OH) Symphony Orchestra, where she developed significant partnerships and programs, increased earned revenue by 30% and by 15%, and balanced the budget for two consecutive seasons.
Ms. Bernard performed Baroque music professionally for many years (viola da gamba) and serves on the Board of Early Music America.