News Release

THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN: SUITE FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA, CO-COMMISSIONED BY THE NAC ORCHESTRA AND THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, RECEIVES ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT THE KENNEDY CENTER FEATURING SUPERSTAR VIOLINIST JOSHUA BELL

February 8, 2017

Multimedia work based on Kathy Stinson’s award-winning book about Grammy Award winner Joshua Bell performing as a busker in Washington, D.C.

February 8, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) — The Man with the Violin: Suite for Violin and Orchestra, a new work based on the story of superstar violinist Joshua Bell performing outside a Metro stop, will receive its world premiere on Sunday February 12 at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Co-commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), The Man with the Violin is based on the award-winning children’s book by Canadian author Kathy Stinson. The orchestral work, composed by the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer Anne Dudley, will be performed by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Stern, the renowned American journalist Michele Norris (former host of All Things Considered) as the narrator, and soloist Joshua Bell as himself. The performance is sold-out.

In 2007, the internationally acclaimed violinist famously performed outside a Washington Metro stop as an anonymous busker as part of an experiment by the Washington Post. The idea was to see if anyone would stop and listen to a world-famous violinist if he performed in that setting, dressed as a street musician. More than 1,000 people rushed by and barely any turned to look. The article describing the experiment, called “Pearls Before Breakfast,” won journalist Gene Weingarten the Pulitzer Prize, and produced an unexpected firestorm of discussion around the world which continues to this day.

The story also inspired the award-winning Canadian children’s author Kathy Stinson to write The Man with the Violin (©2013, published by Annick Press Ltd.), with artwork by the acclaimed illustrator Dušan Petričić. It tells the story of a fictional boy named Dylan, who wants to stop and listen to the violinist, but is rushed along by his mother. The book won many awards and honours, including the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the richest prize in children’s literature in Canada.

For the orchestral version, Petričić’s illustrations, which beautifully show Dylan enraptured by the music as he goes throughout his day, will be brought to life with animation by Montreal production studio NORMAL.

Composer Anne Dudley remarks, “Kathy Stinson's wonderful book reminds us all to notice things; to listen and to be responsive to our world rather than going about in our own little bubble. It has been very exciting to work on this project as it brings together live performance and ‘live’ animation to children who may be hearing this music for the first time.”

"Such a natural – to bring music to the story of The Man with the Violin,” Kathy Stinson said. “I'm delighted with the wonderful talent that has been brought to bear in bringing it to a wider audience in this way."

This is the first collaboration between Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra (Kennedy Center). The Man with the Violin: Suite for Violin and Orchestra will receive its Canadian premiere on December 20, 2017 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada, performed by Joshua Bell and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and conducted by Music Director Alexander Shelley.

 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

 

Mary Gordon
National Editor                                     
National Arts Centre
613-947-7000,ext. 849
mary.gordon@nac-cna.ca

 


BIOGRAPHIES:
 

JOSHUA BELL
With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. http://joshuabell.com

ANNE DUDLEY
Composer, arranger, producer and performer, Anne Dudley is a multi-talented and critically acclaimed musician. She has composed and produced soundtracks for dozens of award-winning films and television shows, and was a founding member of the Art Of Noise. http://www.annedudley.co.uk

MICHAEL STERN
Conductor Michael Stern is embarking on his 12th season as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony and 17th season as Founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the IRIS Orchestra. http://www.colbertartists.com/michael-stern

MICHELE NORRIS
Michele Norris is one of the most trusted voices in American journalism. Her voice informs, engages and enlightens listeners with thoughtful interviews and in-depth reporting as one of the hosts of NPR’s flagship afternoon broadcast, All Things Considered.
http://michele-norris.com/about-michele

KATHY STINSON
Kathy Stinson has published more than 30 titles – picture books, young adult novels, historical fiction, short stories, biography, and other non-fiction. Many of her books have attracted awards and nominations. http://kathystinson.com/about-kathy-stinson/shortbio

DUŠAN PETRIČIČ
Dušan Petričić is the award-winning illustrator of more than 20 books for children, including Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes by Margaret Atwood, published by Bloomsbury in September 2004. A former professor of illustration and book design, Petričić’s work appears in The New York Times, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, and The Toronto Star. http://www.annickpress.com/author/Duan-Petrii

NORMAL
NORMAL is a visual design studio founded in Montreal in 2009 by Mathieu St-Arnaud (Creative Director) and Philippe Belhumeur (Producer). NORMAL’s goal is to transform spaces, create enticing landscapes, give audiences a unique and unexpected experience, and have fun while doing it. http://normal.studio/en

THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The 2016-2017 season marks the NSO’s 86th, and its seventh and final led by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, also the Music Director of the Kennedy Center. Founded in 1931, the Orchestra has, throughout its history, been committed to artistic excellence and music education.
http://www.kennedy-center.org/nso/MTM/History

CANADA’S NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE ORCHESTRA
In September 2015 Alexander Shelley took up the mantle as Music Director, leading a new era for the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Shelley has an unwavering reputation as one of Europe’s leading young conductors, notably as Chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and most recently as the Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Since its inception the Orchestra has commissioned 80 works, mostly from Canadian composers. https://nac-cna.ca/en/orchestra/musicians

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