Chad Emry Heltzel

A native of Portland, Oregon, Dr. Chad Emry Heltzel ( leads a versatile career as a conductor, pianist, teacher, and scholar.  He holds DMAs in both orchestral conducting from the University of Toronto and in piano performance from the l’Université de Montréal where he won the concerto competition performing Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with l’Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal.  As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Chamber Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, among others.  His playing has been broadcast across Canada and the United States on both CBC Radio and National Public Radio.  

Dr. Heltzel’s career as a conductor includes engagements as an orchestral, opera, and choral conductor.  Grounded in the standard repertoire, he is an advocate of contemporary music and has led dozens of Canadian and world premieres.  Most recently, he conducted the Vancouver-based Erato Ensemble in the opening concert of their 2021-22 season in music by Luciano Berio and Priaulx Rainier.  In 2017, he served as music director of Toronto New Music Projects and worked with renowned composer Salvatore Sciarrino on the Canadian premiere of his celebrated opera “The Killing Flower.”  Additionally, Dr. Heltzel has recently appeared with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Opera, Opera Nuova, Fairbanks Summer Festival Orchestra, The Venice Symphony (Venice, FL), and the Berlin Sinfonietta.  Upcoming engagements include an invitation to the 2nd International Augsburg Conducting Competition in Germany in May 2022.  

As a dedicated educator, Dr. Heltzel remains active as a teacher, adjudicator, and clinician. He has taught piano at the l’Université de Montréal and the McGill Conservatory, and served as a teaching assistant in orchestral conducting, chamber music, and Italian diction at the University of Toronto.  In 2008, he presented a bi-lingual lecture-recital at l’Université de Montréal on Schenkerian Analysis following a grant-funded independent study with Carl Schachter.  Dr. Heltzel has been a guest lecture-recitalist at the University of Victoria, Syracuse University, McGill Conservatory, and the Portland Piano International Summer Festival.  His doctoral thesis “The Art of Conviction: A Film-based Study of the Rehearsal Techniques of Herbert von Karajan” is available online through the University of Toronto. 

Away from the concert hall and studio, Dr. Heltzel recharges his musical energy with hiking, running, yoga, and listening to recordings.  He makes his home in Vancouver with his fiancée, a native of Changchun, China, and their American Eskimo dog, Jupiter.