FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2018
(THUNDER BAY) Simon Rivard, TBSO’s fine young Conductor-in-Residence will be stepping down from his
post, effective immediately. He will be replaced by the equally gifed and energetic Mélissa Biroun, who
will assume duties as Interim Conductor-in-Residence.
Biroun is a graduate of the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal in classical piano studying under
Louise Bessette, and also a graduate of Vanier College in jazz piano under Eric Harding. Afer graduating,
she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in composition at the Université de Montréal. An accomplished student,
Ms. Biroun won a bursary and two residencies. Her emerging career in composition led to writing jazz and
popular arrangements, and collaborating with a number of ensembles and dance companies.
Internationally, Biroun interned as conductor of the Mihail Jora Philharmonic Orchestra
(Romania), the Adelphi Symphony Orchestra (New York), and has studied conducting under Dina
Since 2016, Biroun has worked as a music teacher at the Collège Sainte-Anne de Lachine
where she led the chorus, jazz combos, chamber orchestra and a vocal a cappella group. The
ensembles have performed at various locales such as the Rialto Theatre and the International
Congress. In 2017 Ms. Biroun was appointed Music and Artistic Director of the Harmonie Calixa-
Lavallée de Sorel.
Concurrent with her position at the TBSO she will be completing her Master’s degree with
Alain Cazes in wind orchestra conducting at the Schulich School of Music at the McGill University.
Citing his reasons for leaving, Mr. Rivard said, “it would be unfair to both the TBSO, the
Toronto Symphony (where he is now Resident Conductor), and to the other obligations that have
arisen since my return to Canada this summer. I would simply be stretched too thin.” Putting that
into focus, Mr. Rivard spent time in the summer conducting at the prestigious Verbier Festival in
Switzerland, and will be auditioning for the music director position at Symphony Nova Scotia this
season in addition to his duties with the TSO.
Speaking to the changes, Music Director Paul Haas says, “These are exciting times for the
TBSO. Simon’s success proves that our orchestra chooses some of the very best talent in the
country. Good for you, Simon! And welcome aboard, Mélissa. I’m sure you are going to love Thunder
Bay—and Thunder Bay is going to love you!”
Ms. Biroun will make her first appearance leading the orchestra on Sunday, October 28, for TBSO’s
Halloween Spooktacular at Grassroots Church.
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For more information contact TBSO Executive Director Gerald McEachern at 506.321.7674