​Fall 2006

Maestro Paolo Bellomia

by Samy Moussa

Accenti Profile : Maestro Paolo Bellomia by Samy Moussa
Paolo Bellomia
Born in Rome and settling in Montreal as a child with his parents, Paolo Bellomia seemed predestined for a career in the arts. "My father was a painter and my mother was a pianist. She gave me my first piano lessons," Bellomia recalls with pride.


In Montreal, the future conductor and professor of orchestral conducting attended French school. "I was registered in the classical course, which was typical of French school in Quebec in those days. We studied Latin, Greek, and so on. I was particularly attracted to literature, acting, poetry... all forms of artistic expression."


Coincidently, the Bellomia family had lived in the same neighbourhood as the eminent conductor Carlo Maria Giulini. "Giulini was a close friend of my father's," Paolo Bellomia recalls. However, the desire to undertake a career in music did not manifest itself until much later. "When I was still in college, I went to hear Glenn Gould in concert. The impact was instant! I decided to study music seriously."


At the University of Montreal, Bellomia earned a Bachelor's degree in piano performance, studying composition under Andr矐r赯st and theory under Massimo Rossi. For a while after completing his studies, he tried his hand at pop and jazz music. "It was a good way to make a living with music, and doing what I liked," he says with some satisfaction. However, the world of classical music beckoned. "Watching television one day while on tour with my pop band, I happened to see Pierre Boulez, chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, give a conducting master class at the Juilliard School in New York. I was hooked!"


A colleague introduced Bellomia to Uri Mayer, assistant to Montreal Symphony Orchestra conductor Charles Dutoit, who gave him his first lessons in conducting. From there Bellomia enrolled at Tanglewood. "At Tanglewood I had the opportunity to study with the likes of Leonard Bernstein, Igor Markevitch, Maurice Abravanel, Andr矐r赩n, Seiji Ozawa, and Zubin Mehta. At the same time, I was studying at the Juilliard School of Music with Sixten Ehrling." It all culminated in a doctorate in music.


In 1990 Paolo Bellomia was named artistic director and conductor of Ensemble Fusions (formerly known as Ensemble du Jeu Pr貥nt), an ensemble whose objective is to promote works by today's young composers. Since 1999 Bellomia is professor of music and head of the conducting program at the University of Montreal. His conducting career has taken him across Canada, as well as to Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United States.


His most recent project is the Leonardo Da Vinci Symphony Orchestra, a Montreal-based classical orchestra he helped found with Gian Carlo Biferali, cultural director of the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre in Montreal, now in its second season. "We want to give young and talented musicians the opportunity to develop into excellent musicians," says Bellomia - an excellent way to combine his two passions, music and teaching, and proving that you can make a living with music and doing what you like!



Samy Moussa is a Canadian composer and conductor living in Montréal.



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