LSM Newswire

Thursday, May 14, 2009

World premiere of R. Murray Schafer commission

NAC Orchestra performs world premiere of R. Murray Schafer commission plus Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with Angela Hewitt on May 20-21

The National Arts Centre Orchestra will present the world premiere performances of the NAC-commissioned work titled Dream-E-Scape by iconic Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer on Wednesday, May 20 and Thursday, May 21 at 8 p.m. in the NAC’s Southam Hall. These Ovation Series concerts feature Ottawa’s own world-renowned pianist Angela Hewitt performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. Conductor Patrick Summers is also leading Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, “Reformation” and Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3

Piano soloist Angela Hewitt will give Musically Speaking Pre-Concert Chats about Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto both nights at 7 pm (in English) hosted by CBC Radio Music Executive Producer Jill LaForty.

R. Murray Schafer, one of Canada’s most gifted, most articulate, most provocative, most eclectic and most performed composers, turned 75 last summer. Dream-E-Scape was commissioned in honour of that milestone. The NAC Orchestra celebrated Schafer in a four-day new music festival and education symposium in March 2008 during which 10 of his works were performed. Many activities of the symposium are archived in the Great Composers section of the NAC’s Performing Arts Education website

The composer writes that “Dream-E-Scape was written in a streak of twenty-six days, scarcely without looking back or trying to remember what had been written the day before. I wanted to try to capture the dream experience of incoherence in which everything is shifting and blurred together. Now we witness one image, now another – shocking, alluring, repellent, voluptuous, risible – totally without consistency or order.”

Angela Hewitt is a phenomenal artist who has established herself at the highest level over the last few years not least through her superb, award-winning recordings for Hyperion. She has a vast repertoire ranging from Couperin to the contemporary and her discography includes CDs of Beethoven, Granados, Rameau, Olivier Messiaen, Ravel, Chopin, and J.S. Bach.

Hewitt says that Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto is among her top four favourite piano concertos, that “lift our spirits to another realm. They simply have, in an inspired performance, an emotional power that is transcendental, and moments that give us goose-bumps. In Beethoven’s Fourth, that moment for me comes at the end of the first-movement cadenza when the orchestra creeps in under a trill in the piano. How does Beethoven do it? Why does something so simple make us feel that way? It is a moment of incredible tenderness. We simply melt – only then to recover our strength for the forceful close. Perhaps it is that remarkable combination of power and tenderness that makes this piece so special.”

Tickets for these National Arts Centre Orchestra concerts with pianist Angela Hewitt and conductor Patrick Summers on Wednesday, May 20 and Thursday, May 21 at 8 p.m. are on sale now at $19.00, $39.00, $49.00, $59.00, $69.00 and $86.00 (GST and Facility Fee included) at the NAC Box Office (Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.), and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111. Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website at

Half-price tickets for students in all sections of the hall are on sale in person at the NAC Box Office upon presentation of a valid student ID card. Live Rush tickets (subject to availability) for full-time students (aged 13 to 29) are $11 at the NAC Box Office from 2 p.m. the day before the concert to 6 p.m. the day of, upon presentation of a valid Live Rush card.

Groups of 10 and more save 15% to 20% off the regular price of tickets to NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances. To reserve your seats call 613-947-7000 ext. 384 or email

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