LSM Newswire

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The 2009 NAC Gala offers a Magical Evening with Yo-Yo Ma and the NAC Orchestra led by Pinchas Zukerman on Oct. 3

Yo-Yo Ma is the greatest cellist today. Everything he touches he turns to gold...gorgeous, almost voluptuous playing.” Boston Herald

Ottawa, Canada – The upcoming National Arts Centre Gala featuring superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma, “the most popular artist in classical music today,” on Saturday, October 3 is sold out. Those lucky enough to have tickets will hear Yo-Yo Ma together with the National Arts Centre Orchestra led by Music Director Pinchas Zukerman. This “Magical Evening with Yo-Yo Ma” is presented by TELUS. The Gala benefits the National Youth and Education Trust which provides funds for the NAC’s wide array of performing arts programming for young artists, young audiences and schools.

Yo-Yo Ma has been a cultural beacon for decades. Young and old flock to his sold-out concerts, coming away moved, thrilled, and inspired. This astonishing artist has performed at the Oscars, the Grammys, the Olympics, and before a live audience of over a million at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He returns to the NAC Orchestra to perform Dvorák’s beloved Cello Concerto with the NAC’s own luminary Pinchas Zukerman leading the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

The concert will also feature rising star pianist AvanYu, a former participant in the NAC Summer Music Institute, performing Chopin’s Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise brillante in E-flat major. Pinchas Zukerman will open the concert with “Blumine” from Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. Additional programming will remain a surprise!

There will be a pre-concert reception for all patrons at 5:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 6:30 p.m. Those who have purchased Encore Seating will join Gala sponsors at a post-concert reception, followed by dinner on the Southam Hall stage.

The NAC is honoured once again to have TELUS, Founding Partner of the National Youth and Education Trust, as the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala – a commitment that reflects TELUS’s continuing support of this primary resource for supporting the artistic development of young Canadians through educational materials, professional training, mentoring programs and young audience performances. The Trust is also supported by Michael Potter, supporters and patrons of the National Arts Centre Gala, and members of the NAC Foundation’s Donors’ Circle.

In addition to TELUS as the Presenting Sponsor, the Gala is supported by A&E, University of Ottawa and TD Bank Financial Group. Media partners are the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Business Journal, Le Droit, Embassy Newspaper and The Hill Times.

Janet Yale, TELUS’ executive vice president, Corporate Affairs, is the Chair of the Gala Committee for the fourth year. Mrs. Laureen Harper is the Honourary Gala Chair.

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years. Later, his principal teacher was Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. He sought out a traditional liberal arts education to expand upon his conservatory training, graduating from Harvard University in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including 15 Grammy® Awards from his discography of over 75 albums, the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), and the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008). Appointed a CultureConnect Ambassador by the United States Department of State in 2002, Yo-Yo Ma has met with, trained and mentored thousands of students worldwide. In 2006, Secretary General Kofi Annan named him a U.N. Messenger of Peace and in 2007 Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon extended his appointment.

Pinchas Zukerman has been Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1998, and his genius and prodigious technique have been a marvel to critics and audiences for over four decades. He is equally respected as a violinist, violist, conductor, and chamber musician while his dedication to teaching has been a major catalyst for many of the education initiatives supported by the National Youth and Education Trust. Pinchas Zukerman’s discography contains over 100 titles, and has earned him 21 Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. He was named first-prize winner of the 1969 Leventritt Competition, and, in 1983, President Reagan awarded him a Medal of Arts for his leadership in the musical world. In October 2002, he became the first recipient of the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence at the National Arts Awards Gala in New York City.

Avan Yu has already, at the age of 21, performed in recital and with orchestras on four continents, consistently captivating audiences with his extraordinary musicianship and prodigious ability. He is the only pianist to win First Prize in both the Junior and Senior Divisions of the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition. Avan Yu won first prize at the Canadian Chopin Competition at the age of seventeen. In August 2008 he captured the Silver Medal and the Audience Award at the Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition in Spain.

He says: “I was 16 years old when I first tackled the Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante in preparation for the Canadian Chopin Competition. My love for it has only grown with time - it’s a wonderful piece that combines elegance, youthful exuberance, and lyricism in a perfect balance. It is astonishing to realize that Chopin completed the work when he was only in his early twenties.”

Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra donate their services for the NAC’s annual Gala.

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