Friday January 15, 2016

Conductor Bernard Labadie on what really matters as you face death

Conductor Bernard Labadie on his battle with cancer 17:31

Listen 19:42

Cancer not only halted Bernard Labadie's conducting career in May 2014, but nearly took his life.

After waking up from a month-long coma in November of that same year, the celebrated conductor could barely stand up. Still, as his cancer went into remission, he began the difficult journey back to the podium. 

Today, Labadie joins guest host Gill Deacon to share how his brush with death profoundly changed him as a man and artist — and what he really cared about as he felt his life slipping away. 

"I was honestly supposed to be gone," he tells Gill, recalling discussions of palliative care. 

But as the artist made peace with his prognosis, life gave him the fragile, unexpected gift of a second chance.

WEB EXTRA | Labadie will soon perform Mozart's Requiem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra — a piece Mozart believed he was writing for his own funeral. The work has new meaning for Labadie now. Hear it below.


Bernard Labadie

Seasoned conductor Bernard Labadie is relearning his craft after a brush with death. (Fabiola Carletti/CBC)