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Simon Rivard is one of the most sought-after conductors on the Canadian music scene, as evidenced by his most recent appointment as Music Director of the Edmonton Opera, the first in the company’s history.

This upcoming season sees Rivard on the podium for reengagements with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Orchestre symphonique de Québec, as well as mainstage débuts at the Toronto Summer Music Festival and Opéra de Montréal in Puccini’s La bohème. Simon returns to his position at Edmonton Opera, conducting Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, and Aquarius: Songs of the Stars. He also continues his collaborations with Toronto-based chamber ensemble The Happenstancers in projects spanning from early baroque to modern experimental. 

In the 2023/24 season, Rivard made his Orchestre symphonique de Montréal début, conducting their celebrated series OSM in the Parks. He also joined the OSM as chorus master for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Festival international de Lanaudière, and returned to assist OSM music director Rafael Payare for their Virée classique summer festival. In addition, he conducted I Musici de Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Laval, Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and Orchestre classique de Montréal, and Edmonton Opera’s productions of Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Wagner’s Das Rheingold.

As a guest conductor, he has joined orchestras across North America and Europe, such as Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Orchestre symphonique de Sherbrooke, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Göteborgs Symfoniker (Sweden). Other recent highlights include productions of Puccini’s La bohème and Tosca with Edmonton Opera, as well as Handel’s Messiah with both the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre classique de Montréal. In 2022, he was also a finalist of the Princess Astrid International Music Competition of the Trondheim Symfoniorkester (Norway). 

From 2018 to 2022, he held the title of RBC Resident Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where he was mentored by Music Director Gustavo Gimeno and Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, and assisted world-class conductors such as Peter Oundjian, Sir Donald Runnicles, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, John Storgårds, Barbara Hannigan, Xian Zhang, and Eun-sun Kim. He acted as Sir Andrew Davis’ assistant conductor on TSO’s JUNO award-winning recording of Massenet’s Thaïs and TSO’s recording of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. From 2018 through 2024, he was the Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.


Passionate for all genres of vocal repertoire, Rivard also excels as a choral conductor. In 2020, he became involved with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Canada’s oldest and largest symphonic choir. He served as their Associate Conductor (2020/22), during which time he led the TMChoir in Against the Grain’s Juno Award-nominated Messiah/Complex. In 2021, he also joined Against the Grain Theatre for their critically-acclaimed digital production of Holst’s chamber opera Sāvitri, for which he garnered praise for his “beautifully captured” musical interpretation (Ludwig Van Toronto).

Since 2019, he has been an Equilibrium Young Artist, as part of Canadian soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan's mentorship program for early-career professional musicians. In September 2021, at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, he conducted the world premiere of the chamber opera Penelope - in the first person by Gavin Fraser, with Barbara Hannigan in the title role. In October 2020, he conducted Hannigan and principal players of the Göteborgs Symfoniker in a recording of Schoenberg’s Op. 1 for the famous All Saints’ Day concert. 

In 2018, he was invited to participate in the first Conducting Mentorship Program at the Verbier Festival Academy (Switzerland), where he was mentored by Valery Gergiev, Gianandrea Noseda, and Gábor Takács-Nagy. In addition to receiving a Special Prize, he was subsequently reinvited to coach the 2022 Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra.

Named in 2017 one of the CBC’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30,” Rivard served in past seasons as Resident Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (2017/18), Acting Music Director of the Orchestre de la Francophonie (2017), Assistant Conductor of the Choir of St. Andrew and St. Paul (2015/17) and Assistant Conductor of the Ottawa Choral Society (2016/17).

Born in Montréal, Rivard studied violin performance with Anne Robert and orchestral conducting with Raffi Armenian at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. He completed an MMus in Orchestral Conducting at McGill University under Alexis Hauser and Guillaume Bourgogne. In addition to his conducting career, he holds a monthly radio feature at ICI Radio-Canada Toronto where he shares his love for classical music to a large number of people.

Current as of May 2024

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