National Arts Centre Orchestra embarks on major european tour in celebration of 50th anniversary


National Arts Centre Orchestra embarks on major european tour in celebration of 50th anniversary

April 17, 2019 – OTTAWA (Canada)

On the occasion of its 50th Anniversary, the National Arts Centre Orchestra under the leadership of Alexander Shelley is embarking on a European tour in May 2019. CROSSINGS: the NAC Orchestra 50th Anniversary European Tour will feature concerts and collaborative community outreach events in 7 cities and 5 countries: London, Paris, Utrecht, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Saffron Walden. On this tour, Alexander Shelley and the NAC Orchestra will break new ground for the orchestral experience with an unprecedented representation of Canadian art, artists and stories.

“Crossings is emblematic of what is at the heart of this tour….we are crossing expectations, generations and distances and as we engage with new and diverse audiences, artists and young people to experience music and to make music together.”

– Alexander Shelley, NAC Music Director.

Celebrating the best of canadian art and artists the nac

Orchestra is proud to include six Canadian compositions on the CROSSINGS’ program–the most ever taken on an international tour by a Canadian orchestra. The featured Canadian composers are: Ana Sokolović, Claude Vivier, Zosha Dicastri, Jocelyn Morlock, Nicole Lizée, and John Destacio. NAC President and CEO, Christopher Deacon says: “An ambitious tour like this is fundamental to who we are. It’s about championing Canadian artists and allowing them to shine on the world stage; it’s about saying, loudly and proudly, that this exceptional ensemble is among the world’s best; and it’s about making connections with audiences overseas as we share Canadian music, culture and stories.”

In London and Saffron Walden, Calgary-born Jan Lisiecki will perform Ravel’s piano concerto in G. Also on the program is Korean-Canadian countertenor David DQ Lee singing Montrealer Ana Sokolović’s 2019 Juno award-winning Golden Slumbers kiss your eyes. Canadian soprano Erin Wall will sing celebrated Quebec composer Claude Vivier’s ethereal Lonely Child in Paris, Utrecht, Copenhagen and Stockholm. GRAMMY® award-winning violinist James Ehnes will join in several cities to perform Mendelssohn’s violin concerto.

Breaking new ground for the orchestral experience

CROSSINGS will spotlight the NAC Orchestra’s Life Reflected with performances in Paris and Gothenburg. For this adventurous, multi-media creation work, Alexander Shelley brought together four remarkable Canadian composers to collaborate with Creative Producer and Director Donna Feore and Montreal’s studio NORMAL. They created an immersive symphonic experience that brings to life the stories of exceptional Canadian women with music, motion and word. The music of composers Zosha Di Castri, Jocelyn Morlock, Nicole Lizée and John Estacio will feature the NAC Orchestra, Guna/Rappahannock actor Monique Mojica and soprano Erin Wall and celebrate the stories of Alice Munro, Amanda Todd, Roberta Bondar and Rita Joe.

Sharing diverse stories across disances, generations and expectations

Beyond the stage and in each city, Alexander Shelley and the musicians of the NAC Orchestra will collaborate with community partners and engage with them in meaningful educational events. Each event will be an opportunity to spark conversations and exchanges around diverse human experiences. With over 60 education events planned for the tour, engaging over 3,000 people directly. Highlights include:

London, 13 May — ConneXXions 2019, Crossing distances through collaboration: In partnership with the Royal College of Music and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, join NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley and the acclaimed trumpet soloist Alison Balsom for a special ‘connected’ event. Violinist Esther Abrami from the Royal College of Music will perform. The Brent District School band in London and Orkidstra, in Ottawa, Canada will make music and connect in real time.

Paris, 16-17 May — L’Élan musical: Three NAC Orchestra Ensembles in residence at La Seine Musicale, will bring together continents and generations by collaborating with six mediation students from Université Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle to prepare performances for a hundreds elementary students who will spend two days at la Seine Musicale.

Paris, 16 May — An evening with Canada’s Ironwood Quartet: The Ironwood Quartet is made up of musicians from the National Arts Centre Orchestra. In honour of the longstanding friendship between Canada and France, they will perform string quartets by Canadian and French composers, with music by Ana Sokolović, Nicole Lizée and Ravel. The event will take place in the new spaces of the Canadian Cultural Centre where Canadian artist Elaine Stocki’s work will be on display.

Utrecht, 20 May — Catching Cultures Orchestra: Comprised of international refugees and Dutch musicians, they will perform with five musicians from the NAC Orchestra in a cross-cultural celebration of music and identity in the Overvecht district.

Utrecht, 21 May — Muzik Route : Youth composition projects and musical exchanges are at the heart of the Muzik Route project. Syrian refugee children are creating a piece of music that they will then perform with our NAC Ambassador Brass Trio as part of a community concert.

Stockholm, 23-24 May — Sistema Workshop & Orkidstra Exchange: Sistema Södertälje – a highly diverse orchestra – shared a popular Swedish folk song with Ottawa’s Orkidstra who put their own Canadian twist on it. This piece will be workshopped by our musicians and Sistema Södertälje in Stockholm where they will perform it together at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

Gothenburg, 25 May — Alexander Shelley rehearses youth orchestras: Alexander, a champion of social inclusion and Sistema programs around the world will rehearse Gothenburg’s leading Sistema youth orchestras in a two hour rehearsal.

Tour concert programs


Presenter: Saffron Hall ANA SOKOLOVIĆ Golden slumbers kiss your eyes… RAVEL Concerto in G DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”


Presenter: Cadogan Hall, home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra ANA SOKOLOVIĆ Golden slumbers kiss your eyes… RAVEL Concerto in G DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 2


Presenter: La Seine Musical (Insula Orchestra) Concert 1: LIFE REFLECTED Concert 2: CLAUDE VIVIER Lonely Child BRAHMS Symphony No. 2


Presenter: TivoliVredenburg CLAUDE VIVIER Lonely Child MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto BRAHMS Symphony No. 2


Presenter: National Arts Centre in collaboration with the DR Konserthuset, home of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DR Symfoni Orkestret) CLAUDE VIVIER Lonely Child MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”


Presenter: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra CLAUDE VIVIER Lonely Child MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto BRAHMS Symphony No. 2


Presenter: Göteborgs Symfoniker (Gothenburg Symphony – the national orchestra of Sweden) LIFE REFLECTED

Thank you to our donors

The 50th Anniversary European Tour is made possible with leadership support from Tour Champions Janice and Earle O’Born, Major Partners Margaret Fountain, C.M., DFA(h) and David Fountain, C.M., Education Partner Dasha Shenkman, OBE, Hon RCM, and Supporting Partner Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LL.D. (hc).

The National Arts Centre also wishes to thank the Government of Canada for its support. Life Reflected has been made possible by generous donors to the National Arts Centre Foundation who believe in investing in Canadian creators. I Lost My Talk was commissioned for the National Arts Centre Orchestra to commemorate the 75th birthday of The Right Honourable Joe Clark, P.C., C.C., A.O.E. by his family.

About alexander shelley and the national arts centre orchestra

British conductor Alexander Shelley is Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and he was Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (2009 – 2017). Unanimous winner of the 2005 Leeds Conductor’s Competition, he has been in demand around the world, conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Stockholm Philharmonic, among others, and maintains a regular relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the German National Youth Orchestra. Mr. Shelley’s operatic engagements have included The Merry Widow (Royal Danish Opera); Le nozze di Figaro (Opera North), Così fan tutte (Montpellier), and Somers’ Louis Riel (National Arts Centre).

Alexander Shelley recorded for Deutsche Grammophon as well as for Montreal’s Analekta label on which he and the NAC Orchestra released Life Reflected and Encount3rs, New Worlds and Bounds of our Dreams, each championing landmark creations by Canadian artists.

Formed in 1969 at the opening of Canada’s National Arts Centre, the NAC Orchestra gives over 100 performances a year with renowned artists including Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, James Ehnes, Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. It is noted for the passion and clarity of its performances and recordings, its ground-breaking teaching and outreach programs, and nurturing of Canadian creativity. Since its inception, the Orchestra has commissioned 80 works, mostly from Canadian composers.

Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra is a worldclass ensemble of outstanding classical musicians from across Canada and around the world, under the inspiring leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley. Formed in 1969, the Orchestra gives about 100 performances a year in Ottawa, across Canada and around the globe, working with diverse artists of international renown. It breaks boundaries with its regular commissions of new creations including the critically-acclaimed, Life Reflected. Its commissions and recordings won JUNO awards for best new compositions in 2018 and 2019. Details on their current 50th Anniversary tour can be found at The NAC Orchestra reaches a wide audience through national and international tours, recordings, extensive educational outreach across Canada and on tour. The orchestra has a rich touring history, travelling to China, United Kingdom and across Canada in recent years.


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