LSM Newswire

Friday, September 25, 2009

NACO, Oct. 8-9: 40th birthday features first-ever performance of Mahler's "Titan" Symphony

Ottawa, Canada – The National Arts Centre Orchestra is turning 40 years old, and to celebrate the occasion, Music Director Pinchas Zukerman will lead the musicians in their first-ever performance Mahler’s mighty “Titan” Symphony No. 1 in Bostonian Bravo Series concerts on Thursday, October 8 and Friday, October 9 at 8 p.m. in Southam Hall.

The special occasion will also be marked by two works from the NAC Orchestra’s four-decade history. Pinchas Zukerman, also one of the world’s most celebrated violinists, will perform Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor, a piece first performed by the Orchestra in 1971 with Szymon Goldberg as both conductor and violin soloist. Maestro Zukerman will also lead stellar Canadian baritone Russell Braun (who has been a guest artist with the NAC Orchestra since 1994) in Songs for an Acrobat, a work commissioned from Canadian Linda Bouchard in 1995 during the period when she was the Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence. The music is set to poems by Quebec writer Maurice Tourigny, a close friend of Bouchard. The NAC Orchestra’s Marquis Classics recording of the work was nominated for a Juno Award. The NAC Orchestra will also perform Songs for an Acrobat at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto later this season on January 16, 2010.

There will be Musically Speaking pre-concert chats both nights at 7 p.m. with music critic Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer. On Thursday, October 8 he will present the talk in English titled “The Beginning and Ending of a World”, and on Friday, October 9 he will present it in French titled “Début et fin d’un monde”.

Mahler’s First Symphony is one of the most original and innovative in music history. With the sole exception of Brahms, and possibly Sibelius, there is probably no other composer than Gustav Mahler whose First Symphony represents such a towering achievement. Among the innovations one can point to are the largest assemblage of orchestral musicians hitherto required in a symphony, and the incorporation of café, pop and gypsy music. And nowhere else are the sounds of nature so pervasively and integrally bound up with the symphonic thought than in the first movement of this symphony. Other things to listen for are the unusual rendition of “Frère Jacques” played by the double bass, and a finale in which seven horns – their bells turned up – proclaim the heroic ending.

The expanded NAC Orchestra for Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 “Titan” is made possible by the Friends of the NAC Orchestra Kilpatrick Fund. The late William Kilpatrick was a longtime NAC subscriber who bequeathed funds to NACOA (now called Friends of the NAC Orchestra), the revenue from which is given to the Orchestra each year to help present a work that requires larger instrumental forces. The Friends of the NAC Orchestra are also celebrating their 40th birthday at this time.

The orchestral forces are also supplemented for this concert by the apprentices of the Institute for Orchestral Studies – five young string players chosen by audition to join the NAC Orchestra in rehearsal and concert, and to receive mentorship from NAC Orchestra musicians, on five different occasions throughout the season.

The concerts are being recorded by CBC Radio 2 for future broadcast on In Concert with host Bill Richardson, on Tempo with host Julie Nesrallah, and for Radio-Canada Espace Musique on Soirée classiques hosted by Michel Keable. Bill Richardson will also host an intermission interview with composer Linda Bouchard and baritone Russell Braun in the Main Foyer.

After the opening concert on Thursday, October 8, the audience is invited to join the musicians in the Foyer for birthday cake and coffee courtesy of Bostonian Executive Suites and Mark Motors Audi.

These concerts also mark the first of this season’s “Exploration of the Symphony” podcast series. You can go online to the NAC’s website at to hear assistant principal double bass Marjolaine Fournier interview music critic Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer about Mahler’s “Titan” Symphony in separate English and French versions.

Tickets for the NAC Orchestra’s 40th birthday concerts on October 8 and 9 in the NAC’s Southam Hall at 8 p.m. are on sale now at $19, $29, $39.50, $50, $60, $70 and $87.50 at the newly renovated 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

Listen to more than 150 NAC Orchestra performances - FREE! - visit



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