OTTAWA —From October 17 to November 4, Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra, led by Music Director Alexander Shelley, will visit the western provinces and northern territories to continue the Canada 150 Tour, and the first stop is in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This is the first tour led by Music Director Alexander Shelley, and it will feature Calgary-based pianist, Jan Lisiecki.

The Orchestra Tour began in Atlantic Canada in April 2017, and will continue its journey, with visits to Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver, performing evening concerts and 150 education and community events. An NAC Orchestra chamber ensemble will continue on to the North, in Whitehorse on November 5 and later in Iqaluit on December 5 and December 9 in Yellowknife.

The ambitious line-up in Winnipeg includes education and community events that celebrate collaboration and reconciliation uniting the musicians of the Orchestra with students, educators, community leaders and local artists. Some highlights include: a 3-day residency at the University of Manitoba, concert presented by The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on October 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Centennial Concert Hall, a Summit and concert with Indigenous Musicians, a community mural project led by Jessica Canard, and a panel discussion hosted by the Winnipeg Art Gallery on the Power of the Arts to Build Resilient Communities.

“2017 is an incredible year for Canada and for all Canadians,” said Music Director Alexander Shelley. “What better way to set the stage for Canada’s next 150 years than by putting together a line-up of concerts and education events featuring some of the best artists and musicians Canada has to offer, and bringing it right to the doorsteps of Canadians all across the country.”

The NAC Orchestra Tour is one of three performance and education tours offered by the National Arts Centre this Fall. The NAC English Theatre will also present Molière’s play Tartuffe – as re-imagined by East-coast comedy genius Andy Jones under the direction of Artistic Director Jillian Keiley – to audiences in Newfoundland. Also touring in Montreal, Winnipeg and Saskatoon will be Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show, an ambitious new play created at the NAC by some of Canada’s finest French, English, First Nations and Métis theatre artists.



A special performance Presented by The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on October 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Centennial Concert Hall will feature Calgary-based pianist, Jan Lisiecki, who will dazzle audiences with the Schumann piano concerto following the “New World Symphony” - a classic favourite. The young Calgarian was just awarded the prestigious ECHO KLASSIK Award for his recent recording of Chopin: Works for Piano and Orchestra with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Krzysztof Urbański. Just 22, Jan Lisiecki has won acclaim for his extraordinary interpretive maturity, distinctive sound and poetic sensibility. He is “a pianist who makes every note count.” (The New York Times) The evening culminates with John Estacio’s new work I Lost My Talk, inspired by Mi'kmaw Elder and poet Rita Joe, C.M. I Lost My Talk was commissioned for the National Arts Centre Orchestra to commemorate the 75th birthday of The Right Honourable Joe Clark, P.C., C.C., A.O.E. by his family. This lush musical score is performed with film and live narration, a truly “powerful, overwhelming creation” (Christophe Husse, Le Devoir). 



“Bringing exciting and original programming to Canadians across the country is part of our mandate as Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra,” said Managing Director Christopher Deacon. “We are delighted to be partnering with outstanding performing arts, education and community organizations across Canada on what is sure to be an exhilarating tour.”

“Our education activities are tailored to the specific needs of the communities we visit based on extensive consultations with community leaders, educators and artists,” said Geneviève Cimon, Director of Music Education and Community Engagement. “We want to give students the opportunity to celebrate their unique cultures and perspectives through the transformative power of music.”



Tuesday, October 17-20 - University of Manitoba, Desautels Faculty of Music, Winnipeg. Alexander Shelley Jan Lisiecki and over a dozen NAC Orchestra musicians will be in residence at the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba.  The residency will include instrument specific masterclasses, sectional rehearsals, lectures, and a special noon hour recital.


Tuesday, October 17-18 – Arts and Community: A Summit for Indigenous Musicians. A professional development event for Indigenous musicians in Winnipeg, presented in partnership with Manitoba Music. Facilitators Leonard Sumner and Moe Clark will lead eight participants in discussions and activities that explore topics like, working with children and youth, leading workshops, sharing Indigenous culture, and the role of artists in community-building. The Summit will conclude with a community performance at Thunderbird House on October 18, featuring all of the participating artists.


Tuesday, October 17-19 – Connecting Communities mural project with Ojibwe mutli media visual artist Jessica Canard commissioned by the National Arts Centre and the University of Winnipeg’s Office of Indigenous Affairs. This collaborative community mural project is being created as part of a weeklong celebration of Indigenous artists and the role they play in building resilient communities.  It complements the National Art Centre Orchestra’s exploration of Rita Joe’s poem I Lost My Talk and will be unveiled prior to the NAC Orchestra’s concert at Centennial Hall on October 19th in the Piano Nobile lobby. The complete work will be permanently mounted at the University of Winnipeg campus as an ongoing representation of Winnipeg’s vibrant and resilient community. Members of the public can contribute to the mural at the University of Winnipeg on October 17, the WAG on October 18th and Thunderbird House on October 18.  Visit for more information.


Wednesday, October 18, Muriel Richardson Auditorium, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, 12:15-1:00 p.m.– Art for Lunch @ WAG and the National Arts Centre present a panel discussion “The Power of the Arts to Build Resilient Communities” hosted by INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE WAG co-curators Jaimie Isaac and Julie Nagam, in conversation with NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley, community mobilizer Michael Champagne, and visual artists Kenneth Lavallée and Jessica Canard.


Wednesday, October 18, Eva Clare Hall, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, 12:30-1:20 p.m. – The NAC Orchestra Double Reeds: A salute to Canada 150. Principal Oboe of the NAC Orchestra Charles Hamann will be joined by Principal Bassoon Christopher Millard, Second Oboe Anna Petersen and pianist Frédéric Lacroix to perform works by Albinoni, Handel, Saint-Saens, Pishny-Floyd, Lacroix, Versluis and Werk.  The program includes works from Charles Hamann’s newly released double album on Centrediscs celebrating Canadian oboe works in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. This recital is part of an NAC Orchestra week long residency at the Desautels Faculty of Music, University of Manitoba.


Wednesday, October 18, Thunderbird House, Winnipeg , 7:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. – Indigenous Voices Rising is a multi-genre community performance event, featuring an exciting line-up of local Indigenous musicians. The performance will showcase collaborations and solos incorporating hip-hop, folk, blues, and traditional Indigenous musical styles. Hosted by Winnipeg’s Leonard Sumner and Montreal’s Moe Clark. Featuring performances by Leonard Sumner, Moe Clark, Peshaanakwut Jeff Kinew, Boogey the Beat, Wanda Wilson, Chuck Copenace, Ila Barker, Rhonda Head, Nikki Komaksiutiksak, , and Sonia Eidse.


Thursday October 19, 10:00-11:00 a.m. Marjolaine’s Adventure Around the World featuring NAC Orchestra francophone musicians Marolaine Lambert (double bass) and Marjolaine Fournier (violin) will be presented to Francophone elementary schools in Winnipeg.


Thursday October 19 6:45-7:15 p.m. – Award winning Indigenous hoop dancers Rylee Sandberg and Shanley Spence will perform prior to the NAC Orchestra’s concert in Piano Nobile lobby.


Friday October 20 2:00-4:00 p.m. – Alexander Shelley rehearses the Winnipeg Symphony Youth Orchestra LOCATION TBD



People from across Canada and around the world can follow this extraordinary tour by visiting  Daily reports will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter @NACOrchestra.



Thursday, Oct. 19 – Centennial Concert Hall (Winnipeg)

Monday, Oct. 23 – TCU Place (Saskatoon)

Thursday, Oct. 26 – Jack Singer Concert Hall – Arts Common (Calgary)
Saturday, Oct. 28 – Francis Winspear Centre (Edmonton)

Monday, Oct. 30 – Royal Theatre (Victoria)

Thursday, Nov. 2 –Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts (Vancouver)

Saturday, Nov. 4 – Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse)

Tuesday, Dec. 5 – St. James Anglican Church (Iqualuit)

Saturday, Dec. 9 – Northern Arts & Culture Centre (Yellowknife)



The Canada 150 Tour is made possible with leadership support from Tour Patrons Gail and David O’Brien, Presenting Supporters Alice and Grant Burton, Supporting Partners Peng Lin & Yu Gu, Education Partner Dasha Shenkman, and Digital Partner Facebook.



In September 2015 Alexander Shelley took up the mantle as Music Director, leading a new era for the National Arts Centre’s 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. Formed in 1969 at the opening of Canada's National Arts Centre, the NAC Orchestra gives over 100 performances a year with renowned artists including Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, James Ehnes, Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. It is noted for the passion and clarity of its performances and recordings, its ground-breaking teaching and outreach programs, and nurturing of Canadian creativity. Since its inception the Orchestra has commissioned 80 works, mostly from Canadian composers. In 2001 it inaugurated the National Arts Centre Awards for Canadian Composers and the recipients thus far have been Denys Bouliane, John Estacio, Peter Paul Koprowski, Gary Kulesha, Alexina Louie and Ana Sokolović.

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Andrea Ruttan
NAC Orchestra Tour


Carl Martin

Communications, NAC Orchestra
(613) 947-7000, ext. 560

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