Caminante, no hay caminos: hay que caminar.”
(“Traveler, there are no ways but we must go.”)

-On the wall of a
                monastery in Spain

Richard Bradshaw (1944-2007)

2006 National Arts Centre Award

Richard Bradshaw's career has taken him around the world, conducting a wide-ranging repertoire of operatic and orchestral music. In his 17 years with the Canadian Opera Company (COC) he has conducted more than 60 operas and established a reputation for adventurous and innovative programming, forging a strong artistic identity for the company and boosting the careers of countless Canadian singers.

Born in England in 1944, he trained under Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Charles Groves and Sir John Pritchard. Before joining the COC in 1989, he worked at the Glyndebourne Festival (1975-77) and the San Francisco Opera (1977-89).

Richard Bradshaw has introduced a galaxy of Canadian singers to the public, and many have been propelled from their COC engagements to starring roles around the world. Russell Braun, Benjamin Butterfield, Clifton Forbis, Richard Margison, Marina Mescheriakova, Wendy Nielsen, Brett Polegato, Gary Relyea and Michael Schade are only a few.

He has collaborated with such visionary film and stage directors as Robert Lepage, Atom Egoyan and François Girard, garnering international acclaim and attracting new and youthful audiences. «People congratulate me for working with these extraordinary artists,» he says, «and yet I didn't have to go abroad to find them: they're right here! We have such a cornucopia of outstanding talent in this country.»

His commissions of new Canadian works include The Golden Ass (libretto Robertson Davies, music Randolph Peters); The Scarlet Princess (libretto David Henry Hwang, music Alexina Louie); and forthcoming, a new opera by Randolph Peters, libretto by Margaret Atwood. He has increased the profile of the COC Orchestra and Chorus and established an ongoing recording partnership with CBC Records.

A highlight of Maestro Bradshaw's tenure at the COC has been the building of a new opera house for the COC. The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts opened its doors on June 11, 2006, fulfilling a decades-long dream.

Richard Bradshaw is a Senior Fellow of Massey College, Distinguished Visitor in Music and recipient of the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa, University of Toronto; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music; Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France; and Member of the Order of Ontario.