Daniel Myssyk will be the guest conductor of the 2022 Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. He is assistant conductor of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and director of orchestral studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. (Courtesy photo)

Bach Festival names conductors for ’23 season

Daniel Myssyk will be the guest conductor for the 31st Annual Bach Festival in summer 2023. He is the assistant conductor of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and director of orchestral studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Benjamin Bergey

“Daniel’s superb musicianship, communicative and expressive presence at the podium, and his wonderful way with people made me know he is the right person to lead our orchestra this season,” said SVBF Artistic Director David Berry, who begins his first season in the new role after taking over from festival co-founder Ken Nafziger.

The first festival concert will be conductor-less and orchestra-led this year. Myssyk will lead Festival Concerts II and III.

Benjamin Bergey, director of orchestra and choirs at Eastern Mennonite University, will serve as assistant conductor. Bergey has participated in the festival for many years in a variety of roles, and is a protégé of Nafziger. As assistant, Bergey will lead the Leipzig service and serve as cover conductor this summer.

More About Daniel Myssyk

Assistant conductor of the Richmond Symphony, Canadian-American conductor Daniel Myssyk was music director of the Montreal-based Orchestre de chambre Appassionata from 2000 to 2016.

In recent years, he has made critically acclaimed appearances with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, among others. In 2015, Myssyk made his debut in Guanajuato (Mexico) where he has been returning almost every season since. In 2019, return engagements have brought him back to Canada to conduct the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières and the Orchestre de la Francophonie.

Myssyk conducts repertoire from the classical, romantic, modern and contemporary periods with great attention to stylistic details. He maintains a continuous engagement with opera in a variety of styles ranging from Mozart to Menotti. He has contributed to the creation of many contemporary North-American works, including the world-premiere of Anthony Brandt’s opera, “The Birth of Something” with Da Camera in Houston.

Myssyk’s recordings have received widespread critical acclaim. His CDs “Czech Serenades” with works by Suk and Dvořák, and “Idyla” (on Fidelio label) were nominated for best recording of the year at the ADISQ awards, Quebec’s equivalent of the Grammys and at the Prix Opus from the Conseil québécois de la musique. A CD featuring American trumpet player and internationally renowned Rex Richardson playing Dana Wilson’s “Concerto for Trumpet and Strings” was released on Summit Records, earning rave reviews from the International Trumpet Guild Journal. His most recent CD, on the Atma label, features works by Quebec composer François Dompierre and has earned excellent reviews from Radio-Canada and Magazine Son et image.

Myssyk has been Virginia Commonwealth University’s Director of Orchestral Activities since 2007. Under his leadership, three VCU Opera productions of “The Gondoliers” (2015), “The Old Maid and the Thief” (2012), and “Hansel & Gretel” (2011) won top prizes at the National Opera Association competition.

His involvement toward the youth reflects a well-honed passion for music education. In addition to his work at VCU, he is a regular collaborator with Senior Regional Orchestras throughout Virginia, among others. He was appointed conductor of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2018.

In the early 2000s, Myssyk was a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School where he spent two summers under the tutelage of David Zinman. A student of Larry Rachleff, he received his Masters Degree in Conducting from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in 2006.

More about Benjamin Bergey

Benjamin Bergey is an energetic and passionate musician, whose conducting has been described as “captivating” and “communicative.” He is a conductor, professor, and church musician. As assistant professor, he conducts the Orchestra, Chamber Singers, and University Choir, as well as teaches music theory and conducting. He also advises the new music and peacebuilding major.

He is an active musician who currently conducts the Rapidan Orchestra in Orange, Virginia. He completed his doctorate and masters at James Madison University in Orchestral Conducting, where he conducted the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, as well as the Opera Orchestra, conducting performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Puccini’s La Boheme.

Additionally, Bergey is a prominent music leader in the Mennonite Church, having recently served as director of music at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church for six years, and notably as music editor for Voices Together, the hymnal for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, as well as compiler and editor for the hymnal’s Accompaniment Edition. He regularly leads worship and resourcing events at assemblies, workshops, and conferences, and is the music planner for the 2022 Mennonite World Conference Assembly music and songbook. His doctoral research focused on how ensemble music is a tool in peacebuilding by bringing diverse people together for building empathy and dialogue, using two groups in Israel and Palestine as examples.