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.
Principal Guest Conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds has a dual career as a conductor and violin virtuoso and is widely recognized for his creative flair for programming. As Artistic Director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, a title he has held for over 25 years, Storgårds earned global critical acclaim for the ensemble’s adventurous performances and award winning recordings.
Internationally, Mr. Storgårds appears with such orchestras as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Vienna Radio Symphony and the London Philharmonic, as well as all of the major Scandinavian orchestras, including the Helsinki Philharmonic where he was Chief Conductor from 2008 to 2015. In North America, he is a regular guest with the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras, the orchestras of Toronto, Montreal, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas and the National Symphony in Washington DC, as well as with the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Mr. Storgårds’ award winning discography includes not only recordings of works by Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, but also rarities by Holmboe and Vask, which feature him as violin soloist. Cycles of the complete symphonies of Sibelius (2014) and Nielsen (2015) with the BBC Philharmonic were released to critical acclaim by Chandos. His most recent recordings are a highly acclaimed recording on BIS of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 with the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, completed and arranged for chamber orchestra by Michelle Castelletti, and Shostakovich’s monumental Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905” with the BBC Philharmonic as part of an ongoing Shostakovich symphony cycle being recorded for Chandos. Additional recordings include discs of works by Nørgård, Korngold, Aho and Rautavaara, the latter receiving a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Award in 2012.
Leila Josefowicz, violin
Leila Josefowicz’s passionate advocacy of contemporary music for the violin is reflected in her diverse programs and enthusiasm for performing new works. In recognition of her outstanding achievement and excellence in music, she won the 2018 Avery Fisher Prize and was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, joining prominent scientists, writers, and musicians who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.
Most recent highlights include opening the London Symphony Orchestra’s season with Sir Simon Rattle and returning to San Francisco Symphony with the incoming Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen to perform his Violin Concerto, concerts with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras. Further engagements include returns to Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
A favourite of living composers, Josefowicz has premiered many concertos, including those by Colin Matthews, Steven Mackey, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, all written specially for her. Recent premieres include John Adams’s Scheherazade.2 (Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra) in 2015 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, and Luca Francesconi’s Duende – The Dark Notes in 2014 with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Susanna Mälkki. Josefowicz enjoyed a close working relationship with the late Oliver Knussen, performing various concerti, including his violin concerto, together over 30 times.
Josefowicz has released several recordings, notably for Deutsche Grammophon, Philips/Universal, and Warner Classics, and was featured on Touch Press’s acclaimed iPad app, The Orchestra. Her latest recording, released in 2019, features Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. She has previously received nominations for GRAMMY Awards for her recordings of Scheherazade.2 with the St. Louis Symphony conducted by David Robertson, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer.
(Born in 1947)
Composer, conductor, and creative thinker—John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of American music. His works stand out among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, brilliance of sound, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes.
Among Adams’s works are several of the most performed contemporary classical pieces today: Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Chamber Symphony, Doctor Atomic Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and his Violin Concerto. His stage works, in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, include Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, and the Passion oratorio The Gospel According to Mary. Adams’s most recent opera, Girls of the Golden West, set during the 1850s California Gold Rush, was premiered by the San Francisco Opera in 2017.
In 2019, Adams received Holland's prestigious Erasmus Prize, “for contributions to European culture,” the only American composer ever chosen for this award. Adams has additionally received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, Northwestern University, Cambridge University, and the Juilliard School. Since 2009 he has held the position of Creative Chair with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A provocative writer, he is author of the highly acclaimed autobiography Hallelujah Junction and is a contributor to The New York Times Book Review.
As a conductor of his own works and wide variety of repertoire, Adams has appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Seattle, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Toronto.
Adams’s 2019 piano concerto Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? was recently recorded by pianist Yuja Wang with the LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel, and released by Deutsche Grammophon.
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes
Sir Malcolm Arnold was an English composer, and one of British music’s best-known figures of the 20th century. He wrote prolifically across an eclectic variety of musical genres: orchestral works including nine symphonies and over 20 concertos, pieces for brass band and wind band, ballets, operas, chamber music, songs and choral works, and 130-plus film scores, including the one for The Bridge on the River Kwai, for which he won an Oscar in 1958. Arnold’s music is distinguished for its strikingly bold and colourful orchestration (Sibelius, Mahler, and Berlioz were cited by him as major influences), the use of conventional tonal harmony inflected with modernisms, and inventive melodies. The interplay of sounds in his scores serve highly dramatic purposes that are notable for their direct emotional appeal.
Born in Northampton on October 21, 1921, Arnold had his musical talent nurtured early through private composition lessons; at age 12, he began to play the trumpet. He won a scholarship to study trumpet and composition at the Royal College of Music, and before graduating, was already playing in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1941, he became the orchestra’s second trumpet, eventually rising to principal trumpet two years later. He played in the LPO until 1948 (save for two years when he served in the war), during which he continued to compose. Although an exceptional trumpet player, Arnold turned to composing full-time in 1948, after he was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship.
For the next 20 years, Arnold had a phenomenally busy career as a composer; he became highly sought after for his concert works—he wrote his third, fourth, and fifth symphonies during this period as well as many concertos for star performers he admired—and was producing up to six film scores a year. He was also active in conducting his own compositions, whether in the concert hall or in the film studio.
Inevitably, this intense schedule took a toll on his increasingly troubled mental and physical health; he stopped writing for film by 1970 and ceased composing all together from the late 70s to the early 80s. A return to health enabled him to resume his creative activities in the mid-1980s, but after completing his ninth symphony, he retired from composition in 1991. Arnold’s musical achievements were widely recognized during his lifetime with numerous honours and awards, including a knighthood in 1993. He died in Norwich, on September 23, 2006.
By Dr. Hannah Chan-Hartley
Franz Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer. During his lifetime, he achieved renown across Europe, and he continues to be venerated today for his contributions to Western art music. His vast compositional catalogue encompasses works of every significant musical genre of the 18th century. He is often regarded as the “father” of the symphony and the string quartet (he wrote 104 and 68 of these, respectively), for having elevated the quality and importance of these forms of music alongside the development of public concert life. Stylistically, Haydn composed with the 18th century principle in mind that music’s main purpose was to move the listener. Consequently, his works are characterized by an emphasis on depth of feeling (through memorable melodies) and wit (via a sense of play on expectations of aspects of form and musical rhetoric), to be appealing to amateurs and connoisseurs alike.
Born in Rohrau, Lower Austria on March 31, 1732, Haydn, from a young age, studied harpsichord, violin, and singing, in Hainburg. He later became a choir boy at the Stephansdom in Vienna. Following his education, Haydn’s career—and the types of compositions he wrote—was shaped extensively by the circumstances of his employment, which ranged from being a court composer and musician to an artist of relative independence earning income on commissions and the publication of his works. He began as a freelance musician, teacher, and composer, eventually landing his first appointment as director of music for Count Morzin in 1757. In 1761, the wealthy and influential Esterházy family of Hungarian nobility employed Haydn as their Vice Kapellmeister, in charge of all the instrumental, secular, and stage music of their court. When he was elevated to the position of Kapellmeister five years later, he became responsible for church music as well. At this time, prince Nicolaus established his summer palace, Eszterháza, where, over the following two decades, opera became the dominant musical activity and Haydn increasingly spent time there to oversee its production.
In 1779, Haydn entered into a new contract with his employer that allowed him to continue writing instrumental music and earn income from its publication and performance in Vienna and abroad. Within a few years, Haydn’s music became genuinely popular, including in France and England, from where he received several prestigious commissions for symphonies from Count d’Ogny in Paris (1785–1786) and from concert impresario Johann Peter Salomon in London (1791–1795).
Upon returning to Vienna from London in 1795, Haydn shifted almost entirely to composing sacred vocal music: masses for the Esterházy court, and oratorios, such as The Creation, for the city’s Gesellschaft der Associirten. From 1799, his musical activities gradually waned due to physical and mental decline; his last completed work, the Harmoniemesse, was given in September 1802, and his final public appearance, conducting Seven Last Words, was in December 1803. He spent his remaining years at home in Gumpendorf, receiving friends and continuing to mentor younger musicians (Beethoven among them). Haydn died, highly decorated with honours, in Vienna on May 31, 1809.
By Dr. Hannah Chan-Hartley
Yosuke Kawasaki (concertmaster)
Jessica Linnebach (associate concertmaster)
Noémi Racine Gaudreault (assistant concertmaster)
Mintje van Lier (principal)
Winston Webber (assistant principal)
Jethro Marks (principal)
David Marks (associate principal)
David Goldblatt (assistant principal)
Rachel Mercer (principal)
Julia MacLaine (assistant principal)
Hilda Cowie (acting assistant principal)
Joanna G'froerer (principal)
Charles Hamann (principal)
Kimball Sykes (principal)
Christopher Millard (principal)
Lawrence Vine (principal)
Julie Fauteux (associate principal)
Karen Donnelly (principal)
Steven van Gulik
Donald Renshaw (principal)
Chris Lee (principal)
Feza Zweifel (principal)