"Hirzer comes across as intelligent and knowledgeable. Efficient and clear in his conducting gestures, he led the orchestra with evident competence [and] impressive flair." - Calgary Herald
Canadian musician Karl Hirzer is an emerging talent on the global stage of young conductors. Exhibiting a devotion to musical collaboration that sees elements of authenticity and spontaneity converge, he has garnered critical acclaim for his performances as a captivating presence on the podium.
Since September 2016, Hirzer has held the position of Resident Conductor, and then Associate Conductor with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a regular guest collaborator with Land's End Ensemble, and in the past has acted as Assistant Conductor for the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. Hirzer has also worked with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra as an active member of the Menuhin Festival Gstaad Conducting Academy. More recently, he was a Conducting Fellow at the 2017 Cortona Sessions for New Music. A diverse musician and collaborator, he has performed with various renowned soloists such as Evelyn Glennie, Chris Botti, Jonathan Crow, and many others.
As an advocate of presenting new music to audiences in complement to canonical works, Hirzer’s repertoire ranges vastly from Mozart and Haydn, to Boulez and Lachenmann. He has conducted numerous world premiers, and is a champion of inviting audiences to discover the full spectrum of eras, nationalities, and experiences pervading the classical catalogue. A steadfast educator, Hirzer was most recently on faculty as conductor and chamber coach at the 22nd Morningside Musicbridge program, in Warsaw.
His teachers have been Guillaume Bourgogne, Alexis Hauser, Boris Brott and Ajtony Csaba; and he has participated in masterclass sessions with Neeme Järvi, Leonid Grin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Zsolt Nagy, and Chris Younghoon Kim.
Trained as a pianist, Hirzer holds bachelor's (University of Victoria) and master's (McGill University) degrees in performance, as well as an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto Diploma, obtained at the age of seventeen. His piano teachers have included Ilya Poletaev, Bruce Vogt, Walter Prossnitz and Anne Wilson Unger. He was a winner of the Johann Strauss Scholarship Competition, funding studies at the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg, during which time he studied in the class of Robert Levin.