LSM Newswire

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The National Arts Centre grants the NAC Award to three prominent Canadian contemporary composers

Recipients John Estacio, Peter Paul Koprowski, and Ana Sokolovic receive music commissions and residencies valued at $75,000 each

OTTAWA, November 30, 2009 — Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre, and Pinchas Zukerman, Music Director of the NAC Orchestra, are delighted to announce the recipients of the prestigious NAC Award. They are John Estacio, Peter Paul Koprowski, and Ana Sokolovic, three talented Canadian contemporary composers with enviably successful careers. Each NAC Award includes a series of commissions and residencies valued at $75,000.

The National Arts Centre is ensuring that Canadian repertoire takes centre stage. Each composer will be commissioned to create three new music works for the NAC Orchestra over the next 5 years, and each will teach students during the NAC’s annual Summer Music Institute. The announcement of these awards underscores the National Arts Centre’s commitment to new music, to Canadian contemporary composers, and to artistic innovation. The NAC is proud to support and promote Canadian music and, over the years, the NAC Orchestra has commissioned 82 Canadian works, all of which have been performed in hundreds of concerts at the NAC and on tour across Canada and around the world.

“Throughout its 40 year history, the National Arts Centre has been fully committed to developing and showcasing Canada’s composers,” said Peter Herrndorf. “Through their imaginative works, our talented music creators give voice to this country’s epic story while celebrating the spirit of its peoples. The NAC is proud to contribute to the great Canadian repertoire through these special awards and our numerous new music initiatives.”

Pinchas Zukerman said, “The second phase of our New Music Program will build on the excellent groundwork we’ve laid over the past 8 years, especially through the development and support of emerging composers in the Summer Music Institute. In addition to creating new work for the Orchestra and its ensembles, our NAC Award composers will add their voices to the excellent faculty we’ve built for training young artists. This Program continues to reinforce the Orchestra’s commitment to creation, performance, and learning.”

Christopher Deacon, Managing Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, said, “The NAC Award gives each of these composers the opportunity to think big and create works of lasting importance that can have an impact nationally and internationally. In our view, these three composers are brilliant and we’re delighted to be able to support their work.”

“On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the award recipients,” said Minister of Canadian Heritage & Official Languages James Moore. “We have a thriving contemporary music scene in Canada, and these awards being presented today are a great way to further its development.”

The National Arts Centre also bestowed NAC Awards on Canadian composers Gary Kulesha, Denys Bouliane, and Alexina Louie in 2002, and the relationship included commissions, education activities, and touring with the NAC Orchestra. Their works were often performed at the NAC and on tour across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The National Arts Centre must train and inspire this country’s next wave of creators. In March 2008, the NAC acted as a direct conduit between a Canadian creative icon and the next generation of artists with a four-day tribute to R. Murray Schafer on his 75th birthday. As part of the NAC’s eXpressions new music festival, the event showcased ten of Schafer’s works, which were broadcast nationally by CBC Radio. Murray also led a choral music workshop and a two-day symposium for students, educators, and young composers. An archive of these activities is available in the Music section of the NAC’s performing arts educational website,



· On July 1, 2009, the National Arts Centre launched the award-winning as part of its performing arts educational website, features over 120 NAC Orchestra recordings from 1969 to the present; fifteen of these are works by Canadian composers. In 2010, will expand to include an additional 65 Canadian compositions. These will be featured in a timeline that will bring a distinctly Canadian dimension to the history of orchestral music by proudly showcasing 51 Canadian composers and placing them within the context of Canadian events, classical music and world history.

· On October 8-9, 2009, Music Director Pinchas Zukerman led the NAC Orchestra in a 40th birthday celebration featuring Canadian baritone Russell Braun performing Songs for an Acrobat… an outstanding work by former NAC composer-in-residence Linda Bouchard. This concert was recorded for national broadcast by CBC Radio. Maestro Zukerman will again be on the podium when the work is reprised as part of the NAC Orchestra’s performance at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on January 16, 2010.

· On November 9, 2009, the National Arts Centre partnered with the Canadian Music Centre (on the occasion of their golden anniversary) to co-present a capacity-audience concert entitled Celebrating Canadian Composers – Canadian Music Centre’s 50th Anniversary. The evening included works by Ann Southam, Christos Hatzis, Harry Somers, Alexina Louie, Abigail Richardson, and Denis Gougeon.

· On March 15, 2010, the NAC will co-produce, with the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, a unique program of Canadian chamber music, choral music, projected visual imagery, dance, and spoken word entitled Made in Canada at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver. This concert will include works by Alexina Louie, R. Murray Schafer, and Stephen Chatman, and a commission by Kati Agógs.

· Also on March 15, 2010, the NAC will launch an online teacher resource guide for elementary schools celebrating Canadian composers, their works and their stories with extensive cross-curricular lesson plans. NAC teacher resource guides have been downloaded over one million times from

· In June 2010, the National Arts Centre will produce and host the 8th annual NAC Composers Program as part of the NAC Summer Music Institute. This program enables talented young composers -- the future of Canadian music -- to create works for live performance and to work with distinguished Canadian and international faculty at the NAC. Since its creation in 2003, the NAC Composers Program has provided training to 41 emerging composers, including affiliate composers (3) and auditors (11), resulting in 28 NAC commissions. The composers, 85% of whom are Canadian, have studied with the three NAC Award composers -- Gary Kulesha, Alexina Louie and Denys Bouliane -- and several international guest composers, including Roberto Sierra (USA), John McCabe (England), Alexander Raskatov (Russia), Joseph Schwantner (USA), and Poul Ruders (Denmark). Each summer the emerging composers have their new compositions workshopped in several sessions with a dedicated ensemble from l’Orchestre de la francophonie canadienne, led by its Music Director and conductor Jean Philippe Tremblay. The pieces are then premiered in a public concert and have been recorded by CBC Radio for future broadcast.



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