News / Ottawa

NAC Orchestra's new season is farewell tribute to Pinchas Zukerman

The National Arts Centre Orchestra revealed Tuesday its new season of theatre programming would be a tribute and farewell to outgoing conductor and music director Pinchas Zukerman, who will be retiring at the end of the season.

“It’s a celebration of his artistic achievement,” said Christopher Deacon, managing director of the NAC. “If we think of the various things he introduced, he made the orchestra bigger, he expanded our repertoire — the Mauler, the Bruckner, so we’re going out with a bang in a sense with some of the initiatives that he brought to us.”

Among the highlights of the season unveiled were that Itzhak Perlman would perform as headliner at this year’s NAC Gala, China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra will perform in Ottawa Nov. 9 as part of their first ever Canadian tour and Zukerman will lead the NAC orchestra in a tour of the U.K.

Zukerman himself told an audience of orchestra supporters that the NAC had benefited from long artistic vision of its founder Hamilton Southam and Liberal Cabinet Minister Mitchell Sharp.

“There is a thread like a tailor,” Zucherman said making a sewing gesture, “and that thread will continue for many years. I’m so convinced of that.”

Part of that continuing thread will be innovative new concerts, such as the NAC’s Friday casual series, that will create more of a lounge settingto draw in a younger crowd and a series of smaller contemporary music performances at the Mercury Lounge in the ByWard Market by members of the orchestra.

It’s a trend that’s caught on in New York City Deacon said of the Mercury Lounge performances. Boundaries of contemporary music are breaking down, he says and so audiences can expect to hear just about any musical language in the performances — from hip hop to classical.

“They’re excited about this and they’re going to have their own video artist there. So, you’ll be hearing the music and seeing the projections and the musicians will be there taking with the audience. It will be a chance to explore some more cutting edge repertoir.”

More info on the season can be found at

Some of the highlights of the season:

· Itzhak Perlman, performs as headliner at this year’s NAC Gala, a fundraiser for music education for children in underserved and remote communities in Canada Oct. 2nd – a stellar night that includes Summer Music Institute alumni Pinchas Zukerman has mentored: Jessica Linnebach, Amanda Forsyth, Viviane Hagner, Ann-Estelle Médouze, Teng Li

· NAC Young Artist Program alumnus Jan Lisiecki, JUNO nominee and recent recipient of Gramophone's 2013 Young Artist of the Year awardwill perform in concert with the NAC Orchestra this June 11 and 12, 2014).

·         This season you’ll hear composer Marc Neikrug’s Bassoon Concerto, an NAC co-commission with three other orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

·         Canadian compositions in 2014-15 concerts: Malcolm Forsyth, A Ballad of Canada (NAC commission); Jordan Pal, Starling: Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra; and R. Murray Schafer Gryphon Trio’s 20th Anniversary Commission.

·         November 12 & 13, the NAC Orchestra brings an incredible production of Midsummer Night’s Dream to life, with guest conductor Alexander Shelley and Canadian actor Colm Feore as narrator.

·         The always-sold-out series Music for A Sunday Afternoon brings you chamber concerts by exceptional soloists: Yosuke Kawasaki, Vadim Serebryany, Pinchas Zukerman, Jonathan Biss, Amanda Forsyth, Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, Inon Barnatan, Joanna G’froerer, Gryphon Trio.

·         2014-15 Vienna Festival: The NAC Orchestra celebrates the artistic expression of what people were talking and thinking about in Vienna in the years 1760-1879.  Brought together by travel along the Danube River, the Viennese court, and a distinct café culture, the painters, composers and thinkers of the day thrived in this philosophical mash-up, rejected prior music structures and created fresh, enduring works.

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