Mélanie Léonard, born in Montréal and raised in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC, is the Music Director of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. Prior to her appointment in Sudbury, she held the positions of resident conductor (2009-2012) and associate conductor (2012-2013) with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
She guest conducted at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and with several Canadian Orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, I Musici, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, Stratford Symphony Orchestra, Niagara Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil. Mrs. Léonard is a sought after studio recording conductor. She lead the orchestra and choir in the studio recording of the music for Aura (music by Gabriel Thibaudeau et Marc Bell), a multidisciplinary show produced by Moment Factory and presented at the Montreal Notre-Dame Basilica. She recorded soundtracks for movies, multimedia projects, and more recently for Paradise City, an immersive environment in a South Korean Hotel complex. In the summer of 2019, she participated in the recording of the music for Cirque du Soleil’s show in Hanghzou, China.
She worked with renowned artists such as Herbie Hancock, Charles Richard-Hamelin, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Shauna Rolston and actors John Rhys Davies (Lord of the Rings) and Garrett Want (Star Trek).
In 2014, she founded the Wild West New Music Ensemble in Calgary, for which she was Music Director and Conductor (2014-2016). During the same year, she co-founded the Calgary New Music Festival and served as its Artistic Director until 2016. She was also the music director of Vaudreuil-Soulanges choir. Maestra Léonard was music collaborator for La Croisée des Chemins on ICI Radio-Canada Première Calgary from 2013 to 2016 and in 2017, Orford Music invited her to give a conference about artistic leadership (Finding human connection in a virtually connected society). In 2018-2019, she was adjudicator for Festival et concours de musique classique de Lanaudière and Festival des harmonies et orchestres symphoniques du Québec.
In 2019-2020, she will be making her debut with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke and Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra. She also has return engagements with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Thunder Bay Symphony and Symphony New Brunswick.
Mélanie Léonard completed her Doctorate in orchestral conducting at Université de Montréal under Maestri Paolo Bellomia and Jean-François Rivest. She holds a bachelor degree in Music Theory from the same university. She received her Masters of Music in Orchestra Conducting from the Hartt School of Music (Hartford, Connecticut), where she studied with Maestro Christopher Zimmerman. In 2012, she received the Jean-Marie Beaudet prize in orchestral conducting, awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts.