published Friday, April 1st, 2011

Bernhardt exits with 2 concerts ‘Bob’s Favorite Things,’ Mahler’s Symphony No. 2

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    Robert Bernhardt, Music Director & Conductor, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera

Maestro Robert Bernhardt will end his 19-year run as music director of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera this week with two special concerts.

The first concert, titled “Bob’s Favorite Things,” is Saturday and will feature a “roller-coaster ride of stuff I love,” Bernhardt said. “Basically, what I did was put together a show based on one of my childhood icons. I put together an ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ without the plate spinners or the animal acts.


“Bob’s Favorite Things.”

  • When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 2.

  • When: 8 p.m. Thursday and April 8.

  • Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.

  • Admission: $19-$78.

  • Phone: 267-8583.

  • Website:

“I just really want people to understand that if something is not included, it doesn’t mean I don’t love it.”

The program for Saturday will include works from “Westside Story,” Puccini, Bill Monroe, Shakespeare, Arthur Golden and John Williams, among others.

Several special guests will be on hand to perform, including Charlotte Bernhardt, the maestro’s daughter, who happens to be an actress. She will read a Shakespeare piece in the first half of the show, then a selection prepared by Arthur Golden from “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

Also performing will be soloists Camille Zamora, Jami Tyzik, Tim King and Brett Hyberger, violinist Denny Kim and pianist Michael Chertok.

Fletcher Bright and The Dismembered Tennesseans will also be on hand to perform four numbers from “Black Tie & Bluegrass,” a new CD featuring music by the band and the CSO Strings Section, conducted by Bernhardt.

While the program features Bernhardt’s favorite things, it is also a representation of the last 19 years.

“That’s true; it is a little bit of everything that we’ve done,” Bernhardt said.

Next Thursday and April 8, Bernhardt will officially end his career as music director of the CSO by leading the orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. He will assume the title of music director emeritus, conducting pops concerts and operas in the future with the CSO.

Bernhardt said presenting the work is a huge undertaking with more than 200 people onstage, adding that it is one of the most profound pieces anywhere.

“I did this work here in 1998 and in four other places with four other symphonies,” Bernhardt said.

“I can say that, if you happen to be in the right mood, this is music that can slightly change you as a person. It is a musical journey that is unparalleled.

“It also has enormous personal meaning to me.”

Bernhardt said he believes he is leaving the orchestra in a good place for the next director, who could be named in the coming weeks.

“I think they are in a place where the new music director can come in with new energy, new vision and a new direction and take them to the next level,” he said.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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