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Apr 21, 2022 - 8 PM EDT 2 hours and 20 minutes including intermission
In the world of aspiring conductors, winning the Malko Prize is “akin to…being named NBA Rookie of the Year” (Andy Levinsky, CalArts The Pool.) The coveted Malko comes with a considerable monetary award, but more than that, it presents its winner the opportunity to conduct 24 renowned orchestras from around the world, including Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. Since his win in 2018, Ryan Bancroft, has taken the conducting world by storm, and at last, after several delays caused by the pandemic, makes his NAC debut.
Caroline Shaw, the youngest composer ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music, says of her own work, “I love the way some music suddenly takes you to the other side of Alice’s looking glass...” Her Entr’acte for String Orchestra (inspired by Haydn’s String Quartet in F) is indeed filled with playful pizzicato and pops of joy mixed with lush sonic poetry that sends us soaring and peeking around corners into a world of traditional Baroque harmonies.
Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Concerto for seven wind instruments, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra is not your grandmother’s typical concerto, except in its three-movement structure. Martin’s aim was to shine a light on the virtuosity of the orchestra’s wind instruments, and his concerto does so with aplomb. Featuring an exciting timpani solo near its end, this is a hypnotic romp that stands as one of Martin’s most enduring works.
The National Arts Centre Orchestra is delighted to perform the Canadian premiere of Derrick Skye’s Prisms, Cycles, Leaps, a dazzling musical travelogue that links North Indian Hindustani classical music with the music of the Balkans and the Volta region of Ghana. This is a gorgeous, energizing work that explores our infinite search for connection with each other.
American composer Aaron Copland was committed to creating a distinct American musical voice, and perhaps no other of his works exemplifies this journey better than his beloved Appalachian Spring. Originally known as Ballet for Martha, this beautiful work was commissioned in 1942 for the dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, a great friend of Copland. Taking inspiration from the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts,” Copland evokes the pristine beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, looking back to a perhaps imaginary, more innocent America.