On tour: National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa celebrates 50th anniversary



Marking our first touring project with the National Arts Centre Ottawa, the NAC Orchestra and Music Director Alexander Shelley this month embark on a major European tour celebrating the orchestra’s 50th anniversary.

In addition to symphonic concerts in Saffron Walden, London, Paris, Utrecht, Copenhagen and Stockholm, and education activities in each city, the orchestra presents the extraordinary Life Reflected to audiences in Paris and Gothenburg.

First seen in 2016, Life Reflected is a celebration of youth, promise and courage revealed in the compelling and diverse portraits of four Canadians: Alice Munro, Amanda Todd, Roberta Bondar and Rita Joe. The unique symphonic experience immerses the audience in sound, motion picture, photography, and graphic design, and brings together four remarkable composers, Creative Producer and Director Donna Feore, and an ensemble of extraordinary performers and multi-media artists.

Life Reflected: John Estacio’s I Lost my Talk, based on the poem by Mi’kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe © Fred Cattroll

The orchestra’s symphonic programmes will include works by Ravel, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Dvořák, as well as an NAC-commission by Serbian-Canadian composer Ana Sokolović, and Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child. Alexander and the orchestra will be joined by renowned Canadian performers including pianist Jan Lisiecki, counter-tenor David DQ Lee, soprano Erin Wall, violinist James Ehnes, and actor Monique Mojica.

In a recent interview with bachtrack, Alexander Shelley spoke of the inspiration behind the tour’s theme, “Crossings”:

“[It] is emblematic of what is at the heart of this tour. As well as crossing multiple European borders, we will cross expectations: many people will be hearing the orchestra for the first time. We will also cross generations: we do a huge amount of community engagement and education work in every city. In London, for example, we will be resident at the Royal College of Music, where I will be joined by Alison Balsom and Esther Abrami to host ConneXXIons 2019, in partnership with the RCM and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Here we’ll use technology to link in real time youth ensembles in Canada and UK, playing newly created works inspired by our tour theme.”

Tour dates

12 May, Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
14 May, Cadogan Hall, London
17 & 18 May, La Seine Musicale, Paris
20 May, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht
22 May, DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen
24 May, Stockholm Concert Hall
26 May, Gothenburg Concert Hall – as part of the Point Music Festival

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