Music Director, Wild West New Music Ensemble
Known for her youthful vibrancy and dynamic versatility with musical genres and styles, Mélanie Léonard is increasingly sought after as a guest conductor. She served as Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s Resident Conductor from 2009 to 2012 and as Associate Conductor for the 2012-2013 season.
A Montréal native, Ms. Léonard illustrates her virtuosity on the classical and jazz scenes. 2007 marked her first of several collaborations with the Montréal International Jazz Festival. She has served as Artistic Director of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Classical Choir and was also the founder, Artistic Director and conductor of Ensemble Prima, a Montréal based chamber ensemble devoted to 20th and 21st century music.
Ms. Léonard’s impassioned love of music, her charming stage presence, and her rapport with musicians and audiences are quickly becoming known on the national music scene. She guest conducted with a number of Canadian orchestras including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, I Musici, Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Léonard worked with acclaimed artists, including Herbie Hancock, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Shauna Rolston, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jens Lindemann, Colin James, Nikki Yanofsky, The Tenors, Oscar Lopez, Pink Martini and Chris Botti. In 2012 she was honoured with the Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestra Conducting by the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2014, she founded the Wild West New Music Ensemble in Calgary, for which she acts as Music Director and Conductor. She also serves as Artistic Director for the Calgary New Music Festival to launch in May 2015. In addition to her conducting career, Ms. Léonard joined the team of La Croisée des Chemins on ICI Radio-Canada Première in Calgary as music correspondent.
Ms. Léonard holds a Doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Montréal, where she studied with Maestri Paolo Bellomia and Jean-François Rivest. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory from the same university, and completed her Master’s of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Hartt School of Music, where she studied with Maestro Christopher Zimmerman.