National Youth Orchestra of Canada 2019

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Odyssey Tour

July 21-29, 2019


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Tour to 5 Canadian Cities followed by Orchestra’s First Trip to Spain

New NFB Feature Documentary “That Higher Level”

Follows the Orchestra’s 12-City Canada 150 Tour

“The National Youth Orchestra of Canada has clearly set the bar high … The string sound glistens and shimmers, while brass are rich yet mellow … NYOC were invariably confident and assured.” The Scotsman (2018 International Tour)


For Immediate Release, May 6, 2019, Toronto, ON …. The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) celebrates its 59th Season with a 5-city Canadian tour, followed by the Orchestra’s first trip to Spain, which includes festival performances in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Alicante, and Granada. The country’s preeminent training orchestra, NYO Canada is comprised of 100 of gifted musicians between the ages of 16 and 28, who come together each summer to attend an 8-week intensive training institute followed by a national and international tour. This year’s orchestra, featuring musicians from nine provinces, is led by British conductor Michael Francis for concerts in Ottawa (July 21), Montreal (July 22 at Maison symphonique), Parry Sound (July 25), Stratford (July 27), and Toronto (July 29 at Koerner Hall), before heading to Spain.

NYO Canada received rave reviews for its most recent tour, with the Toronto Star calling it “a remarkable orchestra,” while Le Devoir found the ensemble “impressive” and praised the performance as “the musical highlight of the summer.” On tour in Europe, the orchestra performed at the Edinburgh Festival’s Year of Young People championships, where The Scotland Herald raved, “Canada brought a huge squad to play in Scotland and fielded the most versatile and promising youngsters the event has seen yet.” This past year, an amazing nine of the orchestra’s current and recent members appeared on CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30 list.

The summer tour concert programme includes Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet, op. 64; suites Nos. 1 and 2 from Manuel de Falla’s The Three Cornered Hat; Mahler’s Symphony No. 5; and Sinfonia Sacra (Symphony No. 3) by Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik. The tour will also feature Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin & Cello op. 102, featuring the winners of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Michael Measures Prize as soloists (to be announced in July).

This spring saw the release of the new feature-length documentary film “That Higher Level” from the National Film Board of Canada. Director John Bolton followed the 100 musicians of NYO Canada over the course of two months to capture the essence of the training institute and, eventually, the journey and performances on tour across the country. The film premiered at the Victoria International Film Festival and was screened at Montreal’s International Festival of Films on Art, as well as in Toronto, Halifax, and Winnipeg. More information on how and where to view this extraordinary film will be available soon. View the trailer here.

British conductor Michael Francis is currently Music Director of The Florida Orchestra and San Diego’s Mainly Mozart, as well as Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. This season, he debuts with the Berlin Radio Symphony, the Minnesota and Pacific Symphony orchestras, and returns to Komische Oper Berlin, the Seoul Philharmonic, and the Milwaukee and Indianapolis Symphony orchestras. Working with young musicians has always been a priority for Maestro Francis. In addition to his tour with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 2015, Francis has made frequent visits to Miami’s New World Symphony and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

For the past 58 years, NYO Canada has enjoyed an iconic reputation as Canada’s orchestral finishing school, providing the most comprehensive and in-depth training program available to our country’s best young classical musicians. Approximately one third of Canadian professional orchestral musicians are alumni of NYO Canada. The orchestra auditions about five hundred students between the ages of 16 and 28 annually, from which 90-100 musicians are selected to participate in the summer training institute where they benefit from rigorous individual, sectional, chamber and orchestral instruction; training in health and injury prevention; and workshops ranging from audition techniques to the skills required to market one’s musical career. The institute culminates in a cross-country tour as well as a recording session, with the audio available for sale to NYO Canada fans worldwide. NYO Canada’s concert tours have included every major Canadian city as well as the United States, Europe, and Asia. In 1996, the delegates to the World Youth Orchestra Conference in Tokyo, who represented 39 countries, voted to award NYO Canada the title “Best Youth Orchestra in the World.”



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