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The National Arts Centre Orchestra is an orchestra in Ottawamarker, Canadamarker's capital. It is a classically-sized ensemble currently conducted by Pinchas Zukerman.

Description

Since 1998, Pinchas Zukerman has been the Music Director. Mario Bernardi C.C. is the Conductor Laureate, Boris Brott, O.C., is the Principal Youth and Family Conductor, and Jack Everly is the Principal Pops Conductor.The NACO gives a series of subscription concerts at the National Arts Centremarker each season (over 100 performances a year) and tours are undertaken to regions throughout Canada and around the world.

New York Times has stated that the NACO has "[A] rich, lustrous and highly unified sound”. The Kölnische Rundschau, from Cologne, Germany has stated that “The fact that the National Arts Centre Orchestra under (Zukerman’s) baton is not only an elite ensemble but his equal partner was proven.” The Birmingham Post from Birmingham, Englandmarker has stated “What a wonderfully responsive orchestra these Canadians have created.”

History

The NAC Orchestra was founded in 1969 as the resident orchestra of the newly opened National Arts Centremarker, with Jean-Marie Beaudet as Music Director and Mario Bernardi as founding conductor and (from 1971) Music Director until 1982. Bernardi was succeeded by Franco Mannino (1982 to 1987), Gabriel Chmura (1987 to 1990), and Trevor Pinnock (1991-1997).

Franz-Paul Decker was named to the position of Principal Guest Conductor in 1991, a role he continued until the end of the 1998-99 season. In 1997, founding conductor Mario Bernardi was appointed Conductor Laureate of the NAC Orchestra. In 2001, the young Chicoutimi native Jean-Philippe Tremblay took up the newly created post of Apprentice Conductor for a two-year term.

Touring

The Orchestra has visited 112 cities in Canada and 122 cities internationally in its 38-year history. In 1991/92 Victor Feldbrill led a Canadian tour. In October 1999, the Orchestra completed a coast-to-coast Canada Tour under its new Music Director. In 2002, the NACO toured Atlantic Canadamarker and Toronto, Ontariomarker. In November 2004, there was a British Columbiamarker Tour documented on ArtsAlive.ca. In November 2005, the NACO toured Albertamarker and Saskatchewanmarker. In November 2006, NACO conducted an 8-day tour of the Canadian province of Quebecmarker.

The first international tour, to the Europe, was in 1973 under Mario Bernardi. In 1978, the NACO performed in Italymarker and Germanymarker. In 1985 under Franco Mannino, the Orchestra toured in Japan and Hong Kong.The third European tour in 1990 was with Pinchas Zukerman, who also led the orchestra's 2000 tour to Europe and the Middle East. In 1995, the NACO toured Europe under Trevor Pinnock. In November 2003, with Zukerman as conductor and violin soloist, the Orchestra toured ten cities in the US and Mexico.

Recordings

The NAC Orchestra has 40 recordings, six with Pinchas Zukerman: Haydn, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Schubert and two of Mozart (a CD of flute quartets, and a CD of orchestral music and string quintets). The commissioning of original Canadian works has been an important part of the National Arts Centre’s mandate, with over 50 works commissioned to date.

An all-Mozart double CD was released in 2003 featuring both orchestral and chamber music with Pinchas Zukerman as conductor and violin soloist. A CBC Records chamber music CD of Mozart Flute Quartets featuring principal flutist Joanna G’froerer, guest violinist Martin Beaver, Pinchas Zukerman on viola, and principal cellist Amanda Forsyth was named best Canadian chamber music recording of 2001 by Opus Magazine.

Radio Broadcasts

National Arts Centre Orchestra concerts have been broadcast nationally on CBC Radio on shows such as In Performance, Studio Sparks, Symphony Hall and Tempo.

Educational Outreach Activities

Educational outreach is an important component of the orchestra's activities. During the tours within Canada in 1999, 2002 and 2004, the tours to Europe and Israel in 2000, and the tours to the US and Mexico in 2003, educational activities were added, ranging from master classes and question-and-answer sessions to sectional rehearsals with youth and community orchestras and student matinees.

Teacher Resource Kits have been developed for distribution to elementary schools in the regions toured and across Canada, and the public has been able to follow each tour through fully interactive websites archived on the NAC’s Performing Arts Website at www.artsalive.ca. The Orchestra’s tour of Alberta and Saskatchewan in November 2005 included over 80 education events.

In 1999, Zukerman initiated the NAC Young Artists Programme, which is now part of the NAC Summer Music Institute (SMI) including the Conductors Programme founded in 2001, and the Young Composers Programme founded in 2003. The 2005 SMI assembled over 80 musicians chosen by audition from Canada and around the world to study with an international faculty headed by Zukerman.

Other Orchestra education activities at home include Musicians in the Schools, student matinees and open rehearsals, and master classes. Since the arrival of Pinchas Zukerman, the Orchestra is also exploring education through long-distance Broadband videoconferencing, and increased use of the Internet.

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