“You can hit all the senses of human experience, with music” --Pinchas Zukerman


JUNE 2, 2015 – OTTAWA (Canada) – On June 3 & 4 join conductor Pinchas Zukerman as he leads the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Gustav Mahler’s heart-stopping Symphony No.1 and renowned American violinist Gil Shaham, as he masterfully translates the technical challenges and brilliant passages of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in the fifth concert of the Air Canada Ovation Series.

Gustav Mahler’s thrilling Symphony No. 1 shows the composer’s remarkable innovations in form and texture, and his desire to incorporate the sounds from the world around him.  Instructing the orchestra to play the first movement “like a sound of nature,” he created a sound so big, that it requires an augmented orchestra. The symphony is written in four movements and was originally billed as a “symphonic poem,” a reference to Jean Paul’s great romantic novel “Titan.” Under the expert leadership of conductor Pinchas Zukerman, audience members will delight, when seven horns--their bells turned up-proclaim the breathtaking finale!

The evening will also feature Gil Shaham, “the outstanding American violinist of his generation” (~ Time Magazine), who is the soloist for Mendelssohn’s masterpiece, once called “the heart’s jewel” among violin concertos—a beautiful amalgam of romantic melodies, emotion, and virtuosity.

The Friends of the NAC Orchestra will also hold a spectacular silent auction in the main foyer of the NAC in conjunction with this NAC Orchestra concert. There will be an opportunity to bid on unique donated items from across Canada and around the world. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of the NAC Orchestra’s commitment to music education programs for young people. Help us build a fantastic future for music in Canada!

Join us at 7 p.m. for the pre-concert chat, “Degenerate Music”, with Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer, music journalist.


Pinchas Zukerman has remained a phenomenon in the world of music for over four decades. His musical genius, prodigious technique and unwavering artistic standards are a marvel to audiences and critics. Devoted to the next generation of musicians, he has inspired younger artists with his magnetism and passion. His enthusiasm for teaching has resulted in innovative programs in London, New York, China, Israel and Ottawa. The name Pinchas Zukerman is equally respected as violinist, violist, conductor, pedagogue and chamber musician.

2014-15 marks Pinchas Zukerman`s 16th season as Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. A devoted and innovative pedagogue, Mr. Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology. In Canada, he has established the NAC Institute for Orchestra Studies and the Summer Music Institute encompassing the Young Artists, Conductors and Composers Programs.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1948, Pinchas Zukerman came to America in 1962 where he studied at The Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian. Pinchas Zukerman's discography contains over 100 titles, and has earned him 2 GRAMMY Awards and 21 nominations.


Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time: his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. Highlights of his 2014-15 season included a Parisian-themed opening-night gala with the Seattle Symphony, Mozart’s Turkish concerto with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, and, on the orchestra’s 20th-anniversary tour, Prokofiev’s Second at venues that include Carnegie Hall. In recital, he presented Bach’s complete solo sonatas and partitas at Chicago’s Symphony Center, L.A.’s Disney Hall, and other venues in a special multimedia collaboration with photographer and video artist David Michalek. Gil Shaham made his debut with the NAC Orchestra in 1991 and his most recent appearance was in 2009, playing the same Mendelssohn concerto he performs tonight.

Shaham’s numerous CDs include bestsellers that have ascended the record charts in the U.S. and abroad. His recent recordings are issued on the Canary Classics label, which Shaham founded in 2004.

Shaham was awarded the coveted Avery Fisher Prize in 2008. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.


Under the inspiring leadership of Pinchas Zukerman, Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra is noted for the passion and clarity of its performances and recordings, ground-breaking teaching and outreach programs, and nurturing of Canadian creativity. This vibrant orchestra draws accolades from home and abroad.

The NAC Orchestra was formed in 1969 at the opening of Canada's National Arts Centre, and gives over 100 performances a year with renowned artists including Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, James Ehnes, Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma.

Previous Music Directors included Mario Bernardi and Trevor Pinnock. Alexander Shelley takes on this mantle from Pinchas Zukerman in 2015-16, and John Storgårds will be Principal Guest Conductor beginning the same season. Principal Youth and Family Conductor Alain Trudel, and Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly complete the strong artistic leadership team.

In addition to a full series of subscription concerts at the National Arts Centre each season, tours are undertaken to regions throughout Canada and around the world, most recently to China (2013) and the UK (2014). The latter commemorated the start of the First World War and explored themes of remembrance and healing through music in over 50 education and performance events. Following the footsteps of Canadian troops 100 years ago, it showcased the brilliant work of Canadian composers and the NAC Orchestra's musicians, both as performers and as educators, and received standing ovations in packed halls throughout the UK.

In 1999, Pinchas Zukerman founded the NAC Young Artists Program, part of the wider NAC Summer Music Institute, which provides elite training to talented young musicians. Students all over the world are also taught via videoconferencing in the NAC's cutting-edge Hexagon Studio. The Orchestra also created and continues to pioneer education work locally and in indigenous communities in northern Canada.

The NAC Orchestra has made over 40 commercial recordings, including Angela Hewitt’s 2014 Juno Award-winning album of Mozart Piano Concertos conducted by Hannu Lintu. Many more concerts are freely available through MusicBox on the NAC's Arts Alive wide-reaching education website. These include many of the 100 new Canadian works commissioned by the NAC Orchestra in its 45 year history.