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Image by Marius Masalar

The Burlington Symphony Orchestra depends on the following group of gifted and devoted individuals to look after the musical direction and the day-to-day operations of this organization.


denis mastromonaco

conductor and music director

Maestro Denis Mastromonaco is widely experienced in both symphonic and operatic conducting. He has held posts with organizations such as Royal Opera Canada, the National Academy Orchestra and the State University of New York, where he taught conducting. While in New York he also worked with the College Symphony, the Hillman Opera, Sinfonia and the Chamber Orchestra. He has been a regular guest conductor of the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra, Czech Republic, and has conducted various international ensembles, including the Camerata Strumetale di Prato, Orchestra dell’Accademia di San Giorgio, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, members of the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Bethany College Choir.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Maestro Mastromonaco obtained a Master of Music Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the State University of New York, attaining summa cum laude honors. With extensive international training, he also holds diplomas in conducting from the Wiener Konservatorium, the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. His work with distinguished conductors and orchestras include Salvador mas Conde, Jorma Panula, Gustav Meier, Hans Zender, Lothar Zagrosek, the Vancouver Symphony, Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, Windsor Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony and the Vidin State Philharmonic, Bulgaria.

As an advocate for music in the community, Maestro Mastromonaco has been Music Director for numerous ensembles and has taught, adjudicated and served as a clinician for schools, arts festivals and competitions all while promoting the importance of music in local communities. He has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Emme Contestabile Prize in Orchestral Conducting from Accademia Musicale Chigiana, the City of Vaughan 2005 Outstanding Citizen Award and in 2013 the Ontario Service Medal for contribution to the arts.

In addition to his position with Symphony on the Bay, Maestro Mastromonaco is also the Music Director for the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, the York Symphony Orchestra, Opera York and the Mississauga Symphony Youth Orchestra.


Karen Stothart

Manager of Operations

Karen is a graduate of McMaster University with a Bachelor of Music and holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.  Karen has taught secondary music for almost four decades and has held a variety of arts administration positions since her semi-retirement from education in 2012. Karen is very pleased to be returning once again to the BSO as Operations Manager in this, their very special, 50th Anniversary season! 


james r. mckay

our music director emeritus

Prof. James R. McKay was appointed Music Director and Conductor in 1995. He retired at the beginning of the 2014-15 season and was granted the title of Music Director Emeritus in recognition of his 19 years in that position. Prof McKay maintains an active schedule as a bassoonist, conductor, acoustic researcher, university teacher and adjudicator. He appears on over a dozen commercial recordings with artists including James Campbell, Anton Kuerti and Steven Staryk, and with ensembles including the Festival of the Sound, the Amadeus Ensemble and the Contemporary Chamber Players of Chicago. 

He is frequently featured as a soloist or conductor in broadcast concerts on the CBC and NPR networks and in many North American, Japanese and European music festivals. His book, The Bassoon Reed Manual, which details Lou Skinner’s theories and practice of bassoon reed making, was published by Indiana University Press in 2000.

Formerly the Chair of the Department of Music Performance Studies in the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario and Director of the Reverberation and Acoustics in Performance Laboratory, a part of the National Centre for Audiology at Western, he carries out research on room acoustics with special attention to the perceptions and needs of musicians in relation to reverberation.

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Dave O'Donnell


Dave is an avid Nikon  professional photographer with a passion for capturing and documenting everything from product stills to high performance sports and racing. Dave is no stranger to orchestras, having played trumpet himself;  his daughter a trumpet player as well performed with the BSO.  During the past 15 years Dave has turned his cameras to focus on orchestras capturing the artists doing what they do best. In Nikon's 100th year Anniversary International Photo contest , drawing 82,000 entries, Dave was a finalist with a photo from his youth orchestra collection. Dave also has a strong McMaster connection being the longest serving Head Coach in McMaster's history.

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