When asked about earning the position of music director for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics ceremonies, Dave Pierce doesn’t talk about his extensive experience working on a mega scale, nor does he run down his list of impressively high-profile past and current collaborators. Instead, the 37-year-old Alberta native talks about the feeling of being 16 and standing on the sidelines during the closing ceremonies of the Calgary Olympics and the impact the music had upon him. “I made a promise to myself,” he says, “that the next time the Olympics came to Canada, I wanted to be the guy who did all the music.”

Pierce attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., graduating in 1992. Since then he has established an impressive career. His résumé lists many of the most prestigious positions in the music industry, ranging from his 18-year tenure as arranger, lyricist and then music director and producer for the Calgary Stampede stage show to composing for the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Special to writing orchestral arrangements for some of the biggest pop stars.

But Pierce never lost sight of his Olympic promise. His primary requirement of every job or gig was that it should somehow develop a skill that would help him towards the Olympics. And his commitment paid off. It was precisely Pierce’s broad range of experience that helped him get the job. “It was tailored to exactly the talent and the skill set I have,” he says.

Being the Olympics’ music director meant Pierce basically had two full-time roles. He oversaw every aspect of the preparation of approximately 500 hours of music for the event. And he also took on rigorous administrative tasks, which included gaining clearances and securing rights, using his professional network to hire a range of suitable musicians and getting approval from the IOC, the broadcasters and the organizing committee.

The final production was seen by an estimated three billion television viewers around the world. Pierce worked hard to create music that was suitably rich, multifaceted and exciting for the Olympics while also best representing both the Olympic spirit and the spirit of the country. Pierce was resolute: “The music had to have a global appeal but most importantly, it needed to represent Canada.”