October 7, 2013… The Stratford Festival has named Berthold Carrière to the honorary position of Director of Music Emeritus. Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino made the appointment official at the Festival’s loyal service dinner on October 6, 2013.
“Bert has made an enormous contribution to music at Stratford,” says Mr. Cimolino. “It was under his tenure that the performance of musicals became such a source of strength and renown for our Festival. He is also, to my mind, one of the very finest composers for the theatre. He is especially gifted in setting Shakespeare’s words to music. In his settings, the words and their meaning never seemed so clear and touching. And his melodies sweetly stay in your mind as a fond memory to savour.
“Bert’s kind personality, his generosity and his care for the Festival have made him not only an important composer and conductor but also a leader who brought humanity to our artistic ambitions. I am delighted to celebrate his contribution by recognizing him as Director of Music Emeritus.”
Mr. Carrière, who served as Director of Music from 1975 to 2007, first joined the Festival as a conductor in 1973 and the following year wrote the music for the new Sandra Jones play Ready Steady Go at the Third Stage (now the Tom Patterson Theatre). He went on to compose or arrange the music for more than 80 Stratford productions, including five that were New York-bound: 1984’s The Mikado, 1998’s Much Ado About Nothing and The Miser, 2004’s King Lear and 2009’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
With the resurgence of musical theatre at Stratford in the 1980s, Mr. Carrière’s responsibilities expanded to include auditioning of singers, reviewing music projects and working with directors and choreographers such as Brian Macdonald, Michael Lichtefeld and Donna Feore. He served as musical director and conductor for a string of enormously successful Gilbert and Sullivans, including: H.M.S. Pinafore, The Gondoliers and Iolanthe, all of which were broadcast on CBC; The Pirates of Penzance; and The Mikado, which in addition to its run on Broadway also toured to The Old Vic in London, was broadcast across Canada on CBC and on A&E in the U.S.
More recently, he was Musical Director for a number of hit musicals at the Festival, including The Sound of Music (2001), My Fair Lady (2002), Oliver! (2006), South Pacific(2006) and My One and Only (2007).
Prior to joining the Festival, Mr. Carrière was Music Director at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Theatre London and the Ottawa Little Theatre. He arranged and conducted music for CBC radio and television and taught in the Ottawa area. In 1967, Canada’s Centennial, he conducted for the Dominion Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in the presence of the Queen. He wrote the music for the popular 1982 television miniseries Little Gloria…Happy at Last.
Mr. Carrière was awarded a Special Tribute Guthrie Award in 1975; two Doras (for The Boy Friend, 1981, and The Mikado, 1987); and the University of Western Ontario’s Alumni Professional Achievement Award (2000). In 2001 he was named a member of the Order of Canada, and he was given the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.