November 2020 update on live performances and events at the NAC.

50 Years of Music with the NAC Orchestra

Conducted by Alexander Shelley

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Music Classical music Masterworks
  • Kevin Lau Dark Angels Suite
  • SALIERI Concerto for Flute and Oboe in C major
  • Béla Bartók Concerto for Orchestra

The NAC Orchestra is celebrating 50 years with free activities all week long. See the full list here.

View the Monday, September 30 concert details here

This spectacular evening of music celebrates the prowess of the NAC Orchestra after 50 remarkable years by shining a light on the singular virtuosity of its members. With a program chosen specifically to showcase the phenomenal agility of the National Arts Centre Orchestra at 50 years young, we honour the organization and the individuals who have championed creativity and excellence in music at all levels – from the classroom to the concert hall.

As one of Canada’s busiest young composers, Kevin Lau has had works commissioned and performed by orchestras and ensembles around the world. The NAC commissioned his Dark Angels, a taut and lyrical work that celebrates the orchestra’s extraordinary musicality and skill, for its 2017 Encount3rs dance project to wide critical acclaim.

Rightly or wrongly, Antonio Salieri’s musical reputation has often been impugned, especially vis-à-vis his relationship with Mozart, but he dominated the Italian-language opera scene for decades. His purely instrumental works are less well known, and his Concerto for Flute and Oboe remained unpublished for 188 years after it was written. Tonight this lovely work comes to life in the hands of the NAC Orchestra’s principal flutist Joanna G’froerer and principal oboist Charles “Chip” Hamann. Friends since the days of summer music camp, G’froerer and Hamann joined the NAC Orchestra at nearly the same time and have cemented their musical camaraderie in the years since.

Béla Bartók began work on his curiously named Concerto for Orchestra from his sickbed in hospital where he suffered from undiagnosed leukemia. The request for a commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra re-energized Bartók, though, and the result is this delightfully contradictory concerto that treats entire sections of instruments as soloists, to brilliant effect.

Concert made possible in part through the Friends of the NAC Orchestra Kilpatrick Fund.

Performance is approximately 2 hours including intermission

video: Shelley Notes: 50 Years of Music
Shelley Notes: 50 Years of Music
video: Oboe Concerto (Arr. for Oboe & Piano) : II. Calla Lilies
Oboe Concerto (Arr. for Oboe & Piano) : II. Calla Lilies
NAC Orchestra on tour © NAC Archives
Joanna G’froerer © Rémi Thériault
NAC Orchestra © Dwayne Brown Studio