Alexander Shelley succeeded Pinchas Zukerman as Music Director of Canada’s NAC Orchestra in September 2015. The ensemble has since been praised as being “transformed… hungry, bold, and unleashed” (Ottawa Citizen) and Shelley’s programming credited for turning the orchestra into “one of the more audacious in North America” (Maclean’s).
Shelley is a champion of Canadian creation; recent hallmarks include the multimedia project Life Reflected, and three major new ballets in partnership with NAC Dance for Encount3rs. He and the NAC Orchestra have made four recordings with Montreal label Analekta: Life Reflected, Encount3rs, the JUNO-nominated New Worlds and The Bounds of Our Dreams.
He is passionate about arts education and nurturing the next generation of musicians. He is an Ambassador for Ottawa’s OrKidstra, a charitable social development program that teaches children life skills through making music together.
Alexander Shelley is also the Principal Associate Conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He recently led a tour of Germany and South Africa with the German National Youth Orchestra, and in the spring of 2019 he led the NAC Orchestra on its critically acclaimed 50th Anniversary European tour, with stops including London, Paris, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
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The Music Director role is supported by Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LL.D. (hc)
Described as a “pure chamber musician” (The Globe and Mail) creating “moments of pure magic” (The Toronto Star), Canadian cellist Rachel Mercer has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across five continents. Grand prize-winner of the 2001 Vriendenkrans Competition in Amsterdam, she was cellist of the Aviv String Quartet from 2002–2010. An active chamber musician, she currently plays with piano quartet Ensemble Made in Canada, the Mercer-Park Duo, and the AYR Piano Trio with violinist Yehonatan Berick and pianist Angela Park. Mercer is also the Artistic Director of the 5 at the First Chamber Music Series in Hamilton.
Principal Cello of the NAC Orchestra, Mercer was featured in the Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary concert last September. This month, she appears with the ensemble as soloist for the premiere of Stewart Goodyear’s Cello Concerto and plays in the NAC’s Music for a Sunday Afternoon series, as she has done several times before.
Mercer regularly gives masterclasses and talks on topics from performance to self-management. An advocate for new Canadian music, she has commissioned over 25 works including a cello concerto by Kevin Lau. Her most recent album features six works by Canadian women composers on the Centrediscs label. Her first article, on commissioning, was published in 2018 in the Association of Canadian Women Composers Journal.Read full NAC bio ›
A native of Joliette but self-proclaimed Montrealer, violinist Marjolaine Lambert started her music studies at the age of four years old. She joined the studio of Johanne Arel and Raymond Dessaints at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and later went to McGill University to study with Denise Lupien. At McGill, she took Mandarin as a minor which helped when she toured China as Principal Second Violin of the Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne.
Lambert then studied with Ani Kavafian at Yale University for her Master’s degree where she thrived as concertmaster of the Yale Philharmonia and was the winner of the Woosley Concerto Competition. She was also the founding concertmaster of Novus NYC, an orchestra dedicated to new music.
She returned to McGill University to pursue a Doctorate of Music, with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and focused on the hyper-violin created by Pierre Boulez in his Anthèmes.
Marjolaine Lambert has performed as a soloist under conductors such as Yuli Turovsky, Peter Oundjian and Shinik Hahm, and as a chamber musician with Les Violons du Roy, I Musici and Arcos Chamber Orchestra.
She is thrilled to have been a member of the NAC Orchestra since September 2016.Read full NAC bio ›
Ian Cameron has made a career working where video and music intersect, from art installations, video projections, art direction and music videos, to live multicamera direction. As a director, he has worked with the Orchestre Métropolitain, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, I Musici de Montréal, Les Violons du Roy, the Concerto Della Donna choir, as well as other soloists and ensembles. The live concerts he has directed can be seen on CBC and Medici.tv. He has also worked with artists from Kendrick Lamar, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Patrick Watson and F*cked Up, to The Barr Brothers, and created video projections for many notable electronic acts.
In an effort to push his video projection work further, he became a founding member of Montreal band The National Parcs whose video-sample based “videomusic” was hailed as “totally original, and thoroughly invigorating” in a National Post review. His video, sound and light installations have been exhibited at The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche.
This is Ian Cameron’s fifth season working with the NAC Orchestra’s Casual Fridays series.
Kevin Waghorn is currently the Managing Director for the Ottawa Fringe Festival where he also works as the Theatre Manager for Arts Court. Past events with the National Arts Centre include The Cappies, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards and The WolfGANG Sessions. Kevin has previously worked in Stage Management with the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Third Wall Theatre, A Company of Fools, the City of Ottawa and Tone Cluster.
“One of the major highlights of the current London orchestral season.”
– Classical Source, U.K., 2019
The NAC Orchestra is a world-class ensemble of outstanding musicians from across Canada and around the world, under the inspiring leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley. The Orchestra has been praised for the passion and clarity of its performances, its visionary education and community outreach programs and its prominent role in nurturing Canadian creativity.
“The NAC Orchestra’s current European tour has achieved the highest degree of cultural diplomacy.”
– Le Devoir (Montreal), 2019
The Orchestra has toured regularly across Canada and internationally, and in May 2019 it presented five Canadian artists and six Canadian composers across Europe.
“…uplifting, unsettling, mischievous and deeply poignant…”
– BBC Music Magazine on Life Reflected, 2017
The NAC Orchestra has recorded many of its 80+ commissioned works for radio and on over 40 commercial releases, including Life Reflected, which includes 2018 Classical Composition JUNO winner My Name is Amanda Todd by Jocelyn Morlock; and New Worlds, featuring Ana Sokolović’s Golden slumbers kiss your eyes..., 2019 Classical Composition JUNO winner.
“Life Reflected reminds us that when we try new things, art regains its primal power.”
– The Globe and Mail, 2017
In 2019, the NAC Orchestra played on Parliament Hill for the Canada Day noon concert, a live broadcast for CBC television.