Canadian conductor and pianist Mario Bernardi was born in Ontario on 20 August 1930. His family moved to Italy when he was six years old, and he studied piano, organ and composition at the Manzato Conservatory in Treviso. When his family returned to Canada, he completed his musical training at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music and began a career as a concert pianist.
Bernardi conducted the Canadian Opera Company in 1957 and became coach and assistant conductor at Sadler's Wells Opera Company in London. He was the founding conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa from 1968, becoming the group's music director in 1971, and his last two jobs involved leading the Calgary Philharmonic (1984-1992) and the CBC Radio Orchestra (principal conductor, 1983-2006).
Thereafter he continued to work part-time, and died in Toronto on 2 June 2013, aged eighty-two, leaving dozens of recordings, mostly for CBC Records.