In July, 1997 the first Morningside Music Bridge (MMB) established a new benchmark for international summer programs and garnered national and local media coverage in both Canada and China. Conceived by Paul Dornian, then Director of the Mount Royal University Conservatory, and Andy Chan, Morningside Group, the program brought together Canadian and Chinese young musicians to perform on an international stage and measure themselves against the very best young performers globally.
The program was hosted by Mount Royal University until 2015. In the intervening years it grew to include outstanding participants not only from the two original participating nations and Poland (a core partner since 2003), but from many other countries worldwide. It quickly evolved into Canada’s most extensive and comprehensive summer music training program for young artists, and was described as “without peer in Canada and among the very best in the world” (Dr. Douglas McNabney, on behalf of the Federal Government's Department of Canadian Heritage). The program continued to develop, becoming a fully international program; headquartered in Canada, operating globally and delivered in Boston.
In the early years, Morningside Music Bridge was typically held at the Mount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary, and in more recent years the program has been held at the New England Conservatory in Boston. On occasion MMB moved abroad to amplify the core international experience. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary, in 2006 the program was held at the Shanghai Conservatory Middle School. In 2009 the program was held in Gdansk, Poland, with the generous support of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Stanisolaw Moniuszko Academy. The 20th Anniversary was celebrated in Beijing in 2016 at the Middle School attached to the Central Conservatory, and in 2018 MMB was hosted by the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw; once again with the generous support of the Polish Government and the Stanisolaw Moniuszko Academy.
In 2015, MMB Executive Director, Paul Dornian, became the President + CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Society. From 2015 to Dornian's retirement from the Calgary Philharmonic in 2021, MMB was administered by the Calgary Philharmonic’s suite of educational festival programs through a partnership of the Morningside Music Bridge Foundation and the Calgary Philharmonic Society.
After a lively discussion about the pros and cons of moving the program around the world, or establishing a new long-term home, the Board of the Morningside Music Bridge Foundation decided in favor of a long-term home. In considering locations, MMB was looking for a locale that would be attractive to Canadian and International young artists and faculty, with an appropriate venue in a community that would welcome an international program of its stature.
Today we are pleased to collaborate with the New England Conservatory to hold the program in Boston, with strong international links to the music communities of many different countries. We look forward to growing the MMB network of partnerships in coming years. The Morningside Music Bridge Festival is operated through the Morningside Music Bridge Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable Canadian Foundation.