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Classical guitarist Brad Mahon named new Director of the Conservatory at Mount Royal University

Mount Royal University is beginning 2017 on a high note with the appointment of Brad Mahon, PhD, as the new Director of its world-renowned Conservatory. In this role, Mahon will provide strategic leadership to the largest-of-its-kind music and performing arts education organization in Canada.


Brad Mahon, the new Director of the Conservatory at ‎Mount Royal University, stands in Bella Concert Hall in the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts in late 2016.

“The Conservatory enjoys such a rich history,” said Mahon “It’s a legacy to celebrate locally, nationally and internationally.

“There is also a promising future to look forward to — as we nurture the potential of musicians of all ages, have fun and mentor the great artists of tomorrow.”

Mahon brings extensive experience to the job, including senior roles with the Medicine Hat College Conservatory of Music and Dance and the Conservatory of Performing Arts at the University of Regina.

Over the past 19 years, Mahon has taught at the Conservatory at Mount Royal on a part-time basis.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Brad in a variety of situations and have always found him to be a serious, thoughtful and wonderful musician and human being. He brings a fresh sense of collaborative leadership to the Conservatory. I am looking forward to working with him,” said the Co-ordinator of the Conservatory’s Academy piano program, Rolf Bertsch, who also holds positions with the Alberta Music Education Foundation, Calgary Civic Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Instrumental Society of Calgary.

Mahon earned a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music in guitar performance and a Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology — all from the University of Calgary.

The Conservatory at Mount Royal has played a vital role in Calgary's performing arts scene since 1911. It is located within the $90-million Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2015.

As a music hub, it boasts technically excellent teaching spaces, including 43 soundproofed practice studios, six ensemble rehearsal halls, five masterclass rooms, a percussion room, two classrooms and an early childhood suite.

The Conservatory is well respected for its Academy Program for Young Artists and other orchestral and choral programs, which offer students a comprehensive music education, featuring a balanced, performance-based course of study, with inspiring opportunities to perform with professional musicians and esteemed instructors.

For the first time ever, Conservatory class registrations surpassed the 10,000 mark this fall — as more than 4,000 students participated in existing and new programs unique in their breadth and scope. Examples of exciting new programs include Kathak dance, Taiko drumming and Chinese classical music. School-focused programs were introduced so that more students could participate in music education.

Charles Webber, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension — which includes the Conservatory — praised Mahon as an experienced leader and the sort of director capable of taking the Conservatory to the next level of national and international prominence.

“As a past MRU Conservatory instructor, Dr. Mahon understands the culture of the organization, and he brings the added value of being a much sought after teacher and performer all over the world,” said Webber. “We know he will build on the past successes of Conservatory staff and instructors and that he will help us to affirm Mount Royal University’s stature as an arts education leader in Canada and abroad.”

As Director of the Conservatory at Mount Royal, Mahon will further develop partnerships, so the community can participate in a wide range of festivals, concerts and special events.

The magnificent Bella Concert Hall, also located within the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, draws performers from around the world for the enjoyment of audiences. The Bella is a versatile and acoustically sublime space that has featured a range of performers in its inaugural concert season from the Conservatory’s own, and internationally-acclaimed, Calgary Youth Orchestra to featured soloists like pianist Jan Lisiecki who, before debuting at Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2016, was a Conservatory student.

Lisiecki, who will play at the Bella on Jan. 20, joins a season of diverse artists including reggae legend Ziggy Marley, Canadian songstress Chantal Kreviazuk and international astronaut Chris Hadfield as part of the 2016/17 Music to Your Ears concert series.

For further information, please contact:

Jonathan Love, Media Relations and Communications Officer Mount Royal University
Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension
Cell: 403.850.5787