The NAC’s Institute for Orchestral Studies Launches Search for Five Young String Musicians to Apprentice with the NAC Orchestra

Students have until May 1st, 2017 to apply for all expense paid six-week apprenticeship

OTTAWA, ON-The National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra’s Institute for Orchestral Studies (IOS) is accepting applications until May 1, 2017, from talented young string musicians, who can apply to earn a once in a lifetime paid apprenticeship.

 This year, the program runs from August 29 to October 14, 2017 and applications are open to string musicians in their final graduate years of study and those who have completed their education. The one-of-a-kind training program gives students the opportunity to learn from the world-class musicians of the NAC Orchestra and its extraordinary line-up of guest soloists and conductors – letting them try out their dream of becoming a professional musician. For students in their final studies, the IOS offers an ideal credit opportunity for those whose universities or conservatories encourage practicums or placements in the real world. 

 The Institute for Orchestral Studies (IOS) was developed in 2006 under the leadership of NAC Orchestra Conductor Emeritus Pinchas Zukerman (then Music Director). It was created as a training program to help emerging musicians bridge the gap between their studies and a professional orchestral career. Now celebrating its 11th season, the unique apprenticeship program has trained more than 56 students from all around the world. Today, it continues to provide musicians with the rigorous training and mentorship they need to jump-start their professional orchestral careers.

 As violinist Aaron Schwebel explains, “…the opportunity to apprentice with superb musicians in a hands-on, integrative learning environment is an ideal stepping-stone for young professionals.” Schwebel was an IOS apprentice during the 2012-2013 season, and is now the concertmaster with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and associate concertmaster with the Canadian Opera Company. 

 Five apprentices will be selected by video audition for an all-expense paid experience of a life-time. During six weeks of the NACO 2017-18 Season, apprentices will have the opportunity to play under the guidance of Music Director Alexander Shelley and with guest conductors and artists, who will challenge the apprentices with a variety of inspiring repertoire. Some of the notable highlights will include the NAC Gala with k.d. lang and the “Ideas of North” Festival.

 The IOS apprentices will rehearse and perform in concert alongside the musicians of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The “side-by-side” experience is one of the unique aspects of the Institute, where students learn from working professionals and mentors who will offer feedback, support and advice.

 Apprentices are also mentored on playing in section, their professional demeanor on and off stage, in private lessons, ensemble rehearsals and mock auditions. This well-rounded training program enhances their experience and prepares the apprentices for successful orchestral careers. 

 As violinist and apprentice Jorie Butler-Geyer IOS 2016-17 explains: “The IOS program has given me the tools and experience to succeed as an orchestral musician, all in a highly professional and inspiring environment. For young musicians looking for a "real life" experience with a world class ensemble, look no further than the NACO IOS. Working with some of the most respected orchestral musicians from around the world has given me a valuable perspective on exactly what it takes to live the life of an orchestra member, and has strengthened my commitment to further my studies and aim towards a professional career.”

To learn more and to apply please visit our website:


The NAC Institute for Orchestral Studies (IOS) was established under the guidance of former NAC Orchestra Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, and is in its 11th season. During selected main series weeks of the 2017-18 season, IOS apprentices rehearse and perform with the NAC Orchestra. The IOS is supported by the NAC’s National Youth and Education Trust.


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For More Information:

Andrea Ruttan

Communications Officier, NAC Orchestra
Centre national des Arts
613 947-7000, poste 335