Maxim Bernard - Pianist

A fervent romantic and a virtuoso who never shies away from a challenge, Maxim Bernard is admired for his refined playing, exceptional phrasing and deep sonority, which arouse the enthusiasm of audiences and earn him rave reviews wherever he performs. He is one of the few Québec pianists to have been awarded five stars for an album by Classica Magazine.


It was with the legendary Menahem Pressler, with whom he studied for seven years, that Maxim Bernard acquired the art of searching the inspiration behind the musical text. During those years, he also developed into a curious and passionate artist, expressed through the many audacious projects he undertakes.


Thus, in 2022, his debut album, Hommage à Horowitz, on the prestigious Pentatone label, features iconic works by Scarlatti, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Liszt, Chopin, Schumann and Moszowski that he infused with his own personal touch, ideas and style.


This project highlights Maxim Bernard’s fascination for giants of the golden age of the piano, such as Rachmaninov, Cortot, Grünfeld, Horowitz among others, through the magic of recordings. This daily frequentation of the masters of the past allows him to follow the evolution of musical interpretation through the years. Reproducing the program of Horowitz’s legendary recital in Moscow in 1986 was a daring venture that transformed Maxim’s nostalgic passion into a success story.


Indeed, Alain Lompech from Classica Magazine awarded five stars to this project which was also praised from Jean-Charles Hoffelé (Indispensables du disque compact classique), who described the album as a "luminous mise en abime, a real celebration of pianistic culture and intelligence".


A versatile musician with a vast repertoire, Maxim Bernard loves challenges. When conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin invited him to perform the Canadian premiere of Ginastera's Second Concerto with the Orchestre Métropolitain at the Maison symphonique de Montréal, famous critic Claude Gingras (La Presse) wrote: “The pianist was entirely up to the onerous task, both in power and in introspection. The conductor and orchestra were in perfect synchronicity and the spectacular result inspired a long and enthusiastic ovation from the audience.”


In 2019, he made his acclaimed debut in a Chopin recital at London's Wigmore Hall. The same year, he embarked on a tour of the Netherlands to perform Chopin's Concerto No. 2 with the Sinfonia Rotterdam conducted by Conrad van Alphen in Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. Beyond Chopin and Romanticism, the Canadian pianist also excels in Baroque, Classical and 20th-century repertoire.


As a guest soloist, he has performed with numerous North American orchestras, including the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Ottawa, Peterborough, Kamloops Symphony Orchestras, the New World Philharmonic, Symphony New Brunswick, and many others. In Canada, he has collaborated with conductors such as Cristian Măcelaru, Ronald Zollman, Dina Gilbert, Mélanie Léonard, Nicolas Ellis and Yoav Talmi.


Maxim also enjoys the complicity between musicians in chamber music repertoire. He has played with Alexandre Tharaud, the wind ensemble Pentaèdre, Les Violons du Roy and many others, and he always welcomes new collaborations.


After winning several competitions, including the CBC Young Artists Competition, the Matinée Musicale Competition in Indianapolis and the Concerto Competition at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, to name but a few, his career was launched in 2006 when he won the prestigious Canadian Music Competition's International Stepping Stone.


With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Maxim spent time in Germany, giving recitals in various cities such as Cologne and Bonn. His solo recitals in Paris, at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and at the Konzerthaus in Vienna were also well received.


A graduate of the Conservatoire de musique de Québec and the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Maxim Bernard also holds a Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Piano Performance from Indiana University. He now passes on his passion for the instrument to students at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec.