“A Day in the Life” with Vancouver Conductor Gordon Gerrard

Gordon Gerrard is quick to laugh at a joke and too kind to make fun when they fall flat. He is conscientious in a way that allows you to be completely honest with him. If ever there is a difference of opinion he will read, listen and study up to better understand another perspective. This speaks to his deep compassion and his wish to always do the right thing. This loyalty also shows up in his work as a musical and community leader.

Gordon loves to travel the world to see the sights and to visit with friends. He links his friends together, creating a community that will even meet without him, often sending him pictures and messages to say “wish you were here right now!” You can bring him literally anywhere from the middle of a stormy lake on a small sailboat to sacred ceremony and he will show up smartly dressed and he will thrive. Even the pets tend to gravitate toward Gordon. And if you can get him to invite you over for dinner you will be fed and watered as if by the finest of chefs. Gordon Gerrard is a true gem of a human being.

-Written by Marion Newman, friend and colleague

Gordon Gerrard
Guest conductor with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at a drive-in concert (a wild and wacky souvenir from pandemic times!)
Gordon Gerrard
A special concert with the Regina Symphony Orchestra featuring throatboxer Nelson Tagoona
A particularly successful Beef Wellington for Christmas Eve dinner!
Me pretending that I have even the foggiest of notions how to sail!
A photo of me and one of the most influtential mentors I ever had, the late Bramwell Tovey
Gordon Gerrard
Me at the piano—where my relationship with music really started. This was taken as part of a filmed recital at the Canadian Opera Company
Gordon Gerrard
With two dear friends—who also happen to be two of the coolest Indigenous Artists in the country—Jeremy Dutcher and Marion Newman


Which ‘hood are you in?

I recently moved back to Vancouver (for the third time!), and I have found a nice spot in Fairview/South Granville area. Until now, this part of the city has always been sort of an area that I passed through—either out to the airport or over to UBC. But now I’ve had a chance to get to know this fantastic location, and I love it! From my front door, it’s an easy walk down to the seawall and to Granville Island, or a short walk across the Granville Bridge and I’m downtown.

What do you do?

I’m a musician. I started out my professional life as a piano player, working a lot with singers and other instrumentalists. About 15 years ago, I transitioned into the world of conducting, which is now mostly what I do. I’m the Artistic Director of City Opera Vancouver and I’m also the Music Director of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. I also do a lot of guest conducting across Canada and occasionally beyond. I’m lucky enough to work in the world of professional symphony orchestras, with opera companies, and also occasionally in the world of ballet. Increasingly, I do quite a bit of teaching, and I love working with the next generation of young musicians.

What are you currently working on?

Just last spring I took on the role of Artistic Director for City Opera Vancouver—a small company that’s devoted to producing high-quality chamber operas. It’s a great little company, and I’m excited about the things we can build there. Our first “big” production is coming up soon—the Canadian premiere of an opera called Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, and starring the great mezzo-soprano Marion Newman in the lead role. Isabelle Eberhardt is one of the most remarkable people from history that virtually no one has ever heard of. Writer, explorer, spy (maybe?), prototype feminist and an early advocate for decolonization, Isabelle was a force of nature. I’m excited to present to Vancouver this very cool operatic telling of a larger-than-life story.

Where can we find your work?

All the happenings at City Opera Vancouver can be found on our website. If you happen to spend more time in the middle of the country, you can come find me at Regina Symphony. I pop up in performances elsewhere across Canada from time to time, and you can find my schedule on my website.


About Emilea Semancik 158 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: