Conductor Jesus Manuel Berard was born in Havana, Cuba during the revolution and was raised in New York City. He studied composition, theory and analysis with Donald Martino and Robert Cogan at the New England Conservatory of Music (BM, MM), and with Patricia Carpenter, Jonathan Kramer and Fred Lerdahl at Columbia University (MA, MPhil, PhD-ABD), where he is currently completing his doctoral dissertation on the music of Gustav Mahler. At New England Conservatory, Mr. Berard studied conducting with Piero Bellugi, Frank Battisti, and with David Epstein (MIT) and Carl St. Clair (Boston Symphony Orchestra). During that time he commuted regularly to Yale University to study under the legendary Otto-Werner Mueller, with whom he also studied privately. At the Conductors Institute, he worked intensively under Maestro Harold Farberman and in master class with Larry Rachleff.
A committed educator as well, Mr. Berard has taught and conducted at New England Conservatory, Connecticut College, and Columbia and Hofstra Universities, among other institutions. He has been music director and conductor of the Columbia University Chamber Orchestra, the Connecticut College Orchestra, the faculty Chamber Players at Connecticut College, and the Hofstra University Symphony Orchestra.
As a guest conductor, he has worked with many ensembles, including the Bulgarian State Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Society (Burgas), the Georgetown University Symphony Orchestra, conducted opera for Ridotto in New York, and was selected as principal guest conductor of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra in Maine.
Mr. Berard is founder, artistic director and conductor of the acclaimed Peconic Chamber Orchestra, a 25-member professional ensemble based on Long Island, New York. Residing in Washington, D.C. and on the North Fork of Long Island, he is assistant professor of music at American University, where he serves as director of orchestral activities and conductor of the American University Symphony Orchestra.