Di Bello, Victor

Victor Di Bello. Conductor, administrator, b Toronto, of Italian parents, 11 Feb 1933, d there 31 May 1997. He studied piano with Jessie Blake and Madeline Bone. At 17 he began to study conducting with Heinz Unger and formed the Pro Arte Orchestra - an amateur chamber orchestra which gave one or two concerts annually. He also studied in Toronto with Walter Susskind (under whose auspices he made his TSO debut, 16 Mar 1958) and at the Berkshire (now Tanglewood) Music Center. In 1957 he reorganized the Pro Arte Orchestra as an ensemble of professional string players which made its debut 28 March at the Casa Loma Library. For some years thereafter the orchestra gave concert series annually in Toronto. It played 1962-4 for chamber opera productions directed by Rita Ubriaco at Hart House and appeared at the Stratford Festival in 1967 and 1968. Di Bello was conductor 1958-62 of the Hamilton Philharmonic, and appeared with the NYO, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the CBC String Orchestra (Toronto) in the early 1960s. He served as assistant (1960) to Louis Applebaum at the Stratford Festival, was the festival's music administrator 1962-9, and conducted the Festival Theatre Orchestra in 1972. In 1979 Di Bello began conducting a reconstituted Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of 12 to 15 players, which performed over 220 concerts for young people in Toronto high schools until at least 1990. Di Bello assisted Glenn Gould during the latter's appearances at the Stratford Festival and also was the artistic assistant and contractor for Gould's only completed recording project as a conductor, a 1982 performance of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll. Di Bello also organized a memorial recording for Gould, which was released in 1991. Di Bello donated his papers to the McMaster University Library. In 1998 the Pro Arte Orchestra established a graduate scholarship at the University of Toronto in his name.