Maple Leaf

Partner Orchestra

Vancouver Island Symphony


Pierre Simard, Artistic Director

Year founded: 1957

Vancouver Island Symphony (VIS) is a registered charity and professional orchestra for 22 years. VIS presents a 12-concert season of orchestral performances in Nanaimo’s Port Theatre. By attracting professional musicians and acclaimed soloists, offering education and community concerts and programming, and engaging active volunteers and donors, VIS serves as a major creative asset to the Central and North Vancouver Island region developing creative communities. Our wide-reaching audience from Duncan to Campbell River and commitment to education are helping to “Keep Music Live” and foster the next generation of audiences, performers, technicians, and arts professionals. In 2012, VIS was the winner of the City of Nanaimo – Excellence in Culture Award.

Photo credit: Kyle Pearce

Photo of Pierre Simard

Pierre Simard

Birthplace: Montreal, QC

Current home: Rosemere, QC

Acclaimed in Canada and internationally, Pierre Simard is a prominent conductor, composer, and arranger. Artistic and Music Director of the Vancouver Island Symphony, and formerly Associate and Resident Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Simard’s artistry is versatile, compelling, and nuanced, performing every masterwork with remarkable musicianship.

A guest conductor with major symphonies and ensembles in North America and Europe, Pierre Simard has  appeared with Québec’s Les Violons du Roy, Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and symphony orchestras in Edmonton, Victoria, Kingston, Okanagan, Hamilton, and Trois-Rivières, as well as at Arkansas’s Hot Springs Music Festival, Ottawa’s Jazzfest with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Lanaudière’s International Music Festival. He is a former artistic and music director of the Orchestre symphonique de Drummondville and Calgary’s Spiritus Chamber Choir.

An accomplished composer and arranger, his works have been performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and Montreal-based Ensemble Pentaèdre. His compositions include orchestral works, chamber music, vocal cycles, and electronic creations.


The Bastion

June 21, 2017

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

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October 21, 2017

Vancouver Island Symphony, Nanaimo

Nanaimo’s best-known feature—beyond the sweet, infamous chocolatey dessert bar—is most certainly found in the downtown-located, historic, octagonal-shaped Bastion. My contribution to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Canada Mosaic is a celebratory piece that captures the modern hustle and bustle happening on a daily basis around the monument, as well as the nobility attached to such a standing witness of time’s passing.

The Bastion was finished around 1855, some 12 years before the anniversary that we are celebrating; it was declared a local historic site a full 130 years later. My own piece builds upon an orchestral flourish, gives way to a slow, solid central passage, symbolic of the monument’s endurance, before returning to the initial festive manner