Since its debut in 1969, the National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra has been praised for the passion and clarity of its performances, its visionary educational programs, and its prominent role in nurturing Canadian creativity. Under the leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NAC Orchestra reflects the fabric and values of Canada, reaching and representing the diverse communities we live in with daring programming, powerful storytelling, inspiring artistry, and innovative partnerships.
Alexander Shelley began his tenure as Music Director in 2015, following Pinchas Zukerman’s 16 seasons at the helm. Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and former Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (2009 - 2017), he has been in demand around the world, conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Stockholm Philharmonic, among others, and maintains a regular relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the German National Youth Orchestra.
Each season, the NAC Orchestra features world-class artists such as the newly appointed Artist-in-Residence James Ehnes, Angela Hewitt, Joshua Bell, Xian Zhang, Gabriela Montero, Stewart Goodyear, Jan Lisiecki, and Principal Guest Conductor John Storgårds. As one of the most accessible, inclusive and collaborative orchestras in the world, the NAC Orchestra uses music as a universal language to communicate the deepest of human emotions and connect people through shared experiences.
Born in Hull, Quebec, Jean Grand-Maître began his dance training at York University in Toronto and later graduated from Montreal’s L’École supérieure de danse du Québec. He has been hailed as one of the most outstanding Canadian choreographers and Artistic Directors of his generation, after a decade creating contemporary ballets for such leading North American and European companies as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Ballet British Columbia, the National Ballet of Canada, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Munich Opera Ballet, the National Norwegian Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, and the Teatro alla Scala of Milan.
Grand-Maître was appointed Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet in 2002 at the age of 39. Under his leadership Alberta Ballet has been transformed into one of Canada’s most exciting and acclaimed companies. He has curated more than 75 different programs, highlighted by a growing presence of 20th and 21st century dance makers. He has commissioned 46 one act ballets as well as 30 full length ballets. All were created for the Alberta Ballet by highly established and/or emerging choreographers from across Canada and from around the world.
Grand-Maître is also known for his series of Portrait Ballets. The first of these, Joni Mitchell’s The Fiddle and the Drum, was launched in 2007 after two years of close collaboration with Joni Mitchell. Today, the remarkable series includes productions featuring the music of Sir Elton John, k.d. lang, Sarah McLachlan, Gordon Lightfoot and The Tragically Hip. Alberta Ballet’s Portrait Ballets have been acclaimed for bringing new audiences to the theatre and offering a new esthetic in ballet narrative and design.
A prolific and award-winning choreographer, Edmund Stripe has established a notable career in both contemporary and classical ballet fields as dancer and ballet master.
Mr. Stripe was born in London, England and trained at the Royal Ballet School where his distinguished teachers included Walter Trevor, Nancy Kilgour, Piers Beaumont, and Richard Glasstone. He has danced with Ballet Gulbenkian (Portugal), London City Ballet, and the West Australian Ballet, where he created many major works for the company. He was appointed Ballet Master for West Australian Ballet in 1998.
Mr. Stripe joined Singapore Dance Theatre as Ballet Master in 2000: there he assisted in the mounting and re-creation of works by such noted choreographers as Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, and Goh Choo San. In 2002 he moved to Alberta Ballet as Ballet Master and over the next decade, assisted with works by George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Christopher Wheeldon and Jean Grand‑Maître. His works for Alberta Ballet include Unquiet Light (2003), Swelter (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2006) and The Nutcracker (2008).
He has most recently been appointed Choreographic Associate/Artist in Residence at Alberta Ballet.
Christopher Anderson joined Alberta Ballet after retiring from a lengthy and successful career with both Boston Ballet and Ballet West. With a professional career that spanned 16 years, he built an extensive repertoire of both classical and contemporary work. He danced leading roles nationally and internationally, including several roles created for him by some of today’s most exciting choreographers. While dancing with Ballet West, he also had the opportunity to create his own work for the company, having a total of three works commissioned. He joined Alberta Ballet in 2015 as Associate Artistic Director and has added two new full-length ballets to the company’s repertoire: Cinderella, which premiered in March 2018, and The Sleeping Beauty which premiered in October 2018.
Christiana Bennett is in her third season working as part of Alberta Ballet’s artistic team. Previous to her position as Ballet Mistress at Alberta Ballet, Christiana was a Principal with Ballet West for 16 years. While dancing with Ballet West Christiana was given the opportunity to dance throughout the United States, Europe and Asia where she was met with international acclaim. As a native of Massachusetts, most of her training was along the Eastern seaboard at prestigious schools. However, she attributes her career to the training received at Pacific Northwest Ballet School under the tutelage of Francia Russell.
Born in Toronto, Peter Dala studied piano and conducting at England’s Royal College of Music. While in London he worked at the Royal Ballet School as a répétiteur which led to become Conductor and Pianist of the Basel Ballet in Switzerland in 1984. He also worked at the International Opera Studio, Zurich Opera, Switzerland where he conducted his first opera, and guest conducted for the Zurich Ballet. In 1988, Dala joined the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest where he conducted both opera and ballet performances. Career highlights include performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Mendelssohn’s ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Singapore and Hong Kong Festival of Arts. He joined Edmonton Opera as Chorus Director/ Répétiteur, where he made his debut conducting Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette (1997).
He is presently Resident Conductor. Mr. Dala started conducting for Alberta Ballet in 2001 with The Nutcracker, and was appointed Music Director in 2005.
Zack Brown is one of the most versatile theatrical designers in the United States with a career that has spanned Broadway, opera, ballet, and television. Since obtaining his degree from the Yale School of Drama, he has designed the sets and costumes for over 150 productions. From the Metropolitan Opera to the Spoleto Festival; from the Hamburg Ballet to the Circle in the Square in New York; from the San Francisco Opera to the Maly Theatre in Moscow, Mr. Brown’s talents have been employed throughout the world. Washington, D.C., however, has seen the greatest body of his work with over 40 productions for the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, and numerous plays and musicals at Arena Stage and The Shakespeare Theater.
He designed the scenery and costumes for the Tony Award-winning revival of On Your Toes, and he is the recipient of two Emmy Awards for the broadcast of La Gioconda from the San Francisco Opera. Alberta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet, all have productions of The Nutcracker designed by Mr. Brown. For American Ballet Theater, he has created productions of Swan Lake, Raymonda, Gaite Parisienne, Jardin aux Lilas and Dim Lustre, Lowell Libermann’s Piano Concerto #1 and Dorian based on The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Most recently for American Ballet Theatre he designed a new Theme and Variations. He has also designed the settings for Suzanne Farrell’s staging of Balanchine’s Don Quixote for her own company and the National Ballet of Canada.
Pierre Lavoie has been active in dance since 1982. He began his career in Toronto as a stage manager, then moved to Montréal to work with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. For Alberta Ballet, he has designed numerous productions, including Jean Grand‑Maître’s production of Joni Mitchell’s The Fiddle and The Drum, Romeo and Juliet, and Kirk Peterson’s Othello. Most recently, he designed the lighting for Grand-Maître’s celebrated pop collaborations Love Lies Bleeding, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and Balletlujah! He has also designed for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Atlantic Ballet Theatre and Ballet Memphis.
Lexie Klasing was born and raised in Sarasota, FL. She holds her MFA in Stage Management from University of Missouri-Kansas City and is also a proud graduate of UMKC's Conservatory of Dance with a BFA in Ballet Performance. She most recently worked with the Milwaukee Ballet as Stage and Company Manager (2016–2018) and as Assistant Stage Manager with the Kansas City Ballet (2013–2015). Lexie has also worked for the Vail international Dance Festival, Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, and with The Public Theatre in New York City. Lexie joined Alberta Ballet just in time to stage manage Christopher Anderson’s The Sleeping Beauty, a ballet production she’s loved since a young ballet student. Highlights in her career stage managing ballet productions include: Giselle, La Sylphide, and Michael Pink’s Beauty and the Beast.
William Sheriff Jr.
Laura Vande Zande
Victoria Mary Finlay Robinson, Shiori Otsu, Erika Hara, Braden Falusi, Guiherme Ventura, Alexander Bishop
Béatrice de Grandpré-Champagne
Valentina El Haibi
Bianca de Belle
Angie Di Iorio
Sofia Di Marco