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News Release

THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN: SUPERSTAR VIOLINIST JOSHUA BELL AT NAC FOR CANADIAN PREMIERE & CHRISTMAS CHOIR CONCERT

December 14, 2017

Multimedia concert based on children’s book about Grammy Award winner Joshua Bell & performance of Christmas choral classics by the Choirs of Christ Church Cathedral.

December 14, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) — The Man with the Violin: Suite for Violin and Orchestra, based on the story of superstar violinist Joshua Bell performing outside a metro station, will receive its Canadian premiere and exclusive Canadian performance on Wednesday, December 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

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 children’s book by Canadian author Kathy Stinson. Composed by award-winning Anne Dudley, the work will be performed by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and conducted by Alexander Shelley, Musical Director of the NAC Orchestra.

TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SOCIAL EXPERIMENT THAT INSPIRED CHILDREN’S BOOK

In 2007, Joshua Bell performed outside a Washington metro station as an anonymous busker. Staged as an experiment by the Washington Post, journalist Gene Weingarten wondered if anyone would stop and listen to a world-famous violinist masquerading as a street musician. More than 1,000 people rushed by and few turned to look. The article describing the experiment won Weingarten a Pulitzer Prize and produced a global firestorm of discussion, now renewed with fervour upon its ten-year anniversary.

The story inspired Canadian children’s author Kathy Stinson to write The Man with the Violin (©2013, published by Annick Press Ltd.), with artwork by acclaimed illustrator Dušan Petričić. The Man with the Violin is about a boy named Dylan who wants to listen to the violinist but is rushed along by his mother. The book won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Canada’s top prize in children’s literature.

 

HOW THE STORY EVOLVED FROM THE PAGE TO THE STAGE

The National Arts Centre and Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra commissioned a musical work destined to take the story to the stage. "Such a natural – to bring music to the story of The Man with the Violin,” said Stinson. A multimedia production by Montreal studio NORMAL brings Petričić’s illustrations to life onstage and the man with the violin himself, soloist Joshua Bell, is joined by a narrator weaving the story through the music.

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

After the concert, Bell, Stinson, and Petričić will be available to sign books and CDs.

CHOIRS OF CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL GIVE QUINTESSENTIAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT

The whimsical story at the heart of The Man with the Violin performance is anchored in an evening of Christmas magic. The Choirs of Christ Church Cathedral lead the evening’s programme with a selection of holiday choral classics including HARK! The Herald Angels Sing and Silent Night.

PRE-CONCERT HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES REMINISCENT OF BUSTLING METRO STATION

The event includes a pre-concert programme that seeks to recreate the excitement of the metro station. From 6:15 to 6:45 p.m., a mix of talented musicians will be busking throughout the newly renovated NAC’s public spaces.

CITY ROOM / G&T STAIRCASE: Les bécarres (vocal group).
JOSE’S LOUNGE: Hibernia (voice and harp).
PARKING LEVEL 3 AT BOTTOM OF CANAL LOBBY ESCALATORS: Baobab drumming group.
CANAL FOYER:  North String Quartet (violin, viola and cello).
BALCONY FOYER: Reeds on Strings (violin, viola and cello).

Friends of the NAC Orchestra will be holding a silent auction in the Southam Hall Mezzanine Foyer of the NAC. Unique, donated items from across Canada and from around the world will be available for bidding. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the NAC Orchestra’s commitment to music education programs for young people.

ABOUT ALEXANDER SHELLEY AND THE NAC ORCHESTRA

Alexander Shelley is Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and was Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2017. He is also Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s ECHO and Deutsche Gründerpreis winning “Zukunftslabor”.  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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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Allison Caverly

Communications Officer, NAC Orchestra
(613) 947-7000, ext. 335
allison.caverly@nac-cna.ca

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