The annual community collaboration reaches hundreds in the NCR through side-by-side workshops and concerts in schools, hospitals and senior living centres.

OTTAWA — The annual NAC Orchestra Community Week begins today. To mark the occasion, Mayor Jim Watson has proclaimed January 21st to 27th NAC Orchestra Community Week in Ottawa. The program’s mission is to reach students, youth, and amateur musicians and to support the development of education and performance opportunities in the in the National Capital Region (NCR).

"Community Week is an opportunity for us to say thank you, by bringing the magic of the orchestra directly into our community’s schools, senior homes, and hospitals,” says Genevieve Cimon, Director of the NAC’s Music Education and Community Engagement.

To mark the opening of Community Week, the NAC Orchestra is delighted to launch Ensemble/Together, a three-year partnership with Hillcrest High School’s music program. The high school will host the first event of the week, a matinée concert for hundreds of elementary students featuring a performance of Peter and the Wolf by the NAC Orchestra.

That same night, Québec conductor Nicolas Ellis leads the Rusty Orchestra side-by-side workshop. The NAC Orchestra, Parkdale Orchestra, music teachers from across the city and Hillcrest High School students will then read Sibelius’s Finlandia. The public is invited to attend and to donate musical instruments or cash.

 “We are so excited about Ensemble/Together! Students have been attending concerts and rehearsals, and now the Orchestra is making a house call!  This is the first of many exciting opportunities for our students,” says Jeannie Hunter, music teacher at Hillcrest High School. 

On January 22, five NAC Orchestra chamber ensembles will deploy across the city to give performances at: École catholique Ste. Bernadette and St. Rose of Lima Catholic School; Manoir Marochel Manor; Extendicare Starwood; and St. Vincent Bruyère Hospital.

On January 23, Nicolas Ellis, actor Annick Sheedy McLellan, and the NAC Orchestra will visit the Centre d’excellence artistique de l’Ontario of École secondaire publique De La Salle to give a performance for hundreds of students. Later, the Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de l’Ontario français (OSJOF) will join the NAC Orchestra to play Beethoven’s First Symphony. Workshops conclude the evening. The public is invited to attend the evening program.

The NAC wishes to thank the dedicated principals and teachers; the Community Foundation of Ottawa;  and the NAC’s National Youth and Education Trust who make Community Week possible. 


More about the National Youth and Education Trust

The National Youth and Education Trust is the primary resource for youth and education funding at the National Arts Centre. Through the Trust, individual and corporate donors from all across the country help the NAC nurture and develop the creativity of young people in all regions across Canada and support the educators and artists who challenge and encourage them.

Calendar of events


Monday, January 21


  1. NAC Orchestra Student Matinee: Ensemble/Together

Hillcrest Highschool Auditorium

13 h-14 h

Closed to the public.


  1. Rusty Orchestra side-by-side Workshop:  NACO, Parkdale, Ottawa Music Teachers, Hillcrest students


Hillcrest High School Auditorium

19 h – 20 h

Free event, public invited, general admission.


Tuesday, January 22


Five chamber concerts, closed to the public:


  1. String duet featuring the NAC Orchestra’s Paul Casey (viola) and Karen Kang (cello), in partnership with the Health Arts Society of Ontario

Extendicare Starwood (long-term facility for seniors), 114 Starwood Rd, Nepean

9 h


  1. L’éclat des cuivres

Quintette de cuivres de l’Orchestre du CNA

École catholique Ste. Bernadette (Conseil des Écoles catholiques du Centre-Est), 3781, rue

10 h 30


  1. WINDerful Musical Zoo

NAC Ayorama Wind Quintet and narrator Julia McLaine

St. Rose of Lima catholic school (Ottawa catholic school Board), 50 Bayshore Dr, Nepean

13 h 30


  1. Classy Brass

NAC Brass Quintet

St. Vincent Bruyère Hospital, 60 Cambridge St. N, Ottawa

13 h 30


  1. Violin and piano duet featuring the NAC Orchestra’s Emily Westell (violin) and Roger Feria Jr. (piano), in partnership with the Health Arts Society of Ontario

Manoir Marochel Manor, 949 Montreal Rd, Ottawa

18 h


Wednesday, January 23


  1. Matinée scolaire de l’Orchestre du CNA

CEAO- École secondaire publique De La Salle Auditorium

13 h- 14 h

Closed to the public.


  1. Rusty Orchestra Side-by-side Workshop:  NAC Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de l’Ontario français

CEAO- École secondaire publique De La Salle Auditorium

19 h to 20 h

Free event, public invited, general admission.






Alexander Shelley became Music Director of the NAC Orchestra in September 2015; he is Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and was Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra 2009–2017. Since being awarded first prize at the 2005 Leeds Conducting Competition, Mr. Shelley has been in demand from orchestras around the world, including the Philharmonia, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestra Svizzera Italiana, Stockholm Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Simón Bolívar, Seattle, and Houston Symphony Orchestras. He is a regular guest with the top Asian and Australasian orchestras. This is his fourth recording with the NAC Orchestra, following Life Reflected, ENCOUNT3RS and New Worlds and Bounds of our Dreams.

The NAC Orchestra was formed at the creation of Canada’s National Arts Centre in 1969 and gives over 100 performances a year with world-renowned artists. 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. In 2015, Alexander Shelley began his tenure as NAC Orchestra Music Director, following Pinchas Zukerman’s 16 seasons at the helm. In addition to a full series of subscription concerts at the National Arts Centre each season, the Orchestra tours throughout Canada and around the world. The NAC Orchestra has made over 40 commercial recordings, including the ground-breaking Life Reflected, which includes My Name is Amanda Todd by Jocelyn Morlock, winner of the JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year 2018, and Angela Hewitt’s 2015 JUNO Award-winning album of Mozart Piano Concertos. Many more concerts are freely available through on the NAC’s performing arts education website These include many of the 80+ new works commissioned by the NAC Orchestra since its inception, most from Canadian composers.


Alison Caverly
Communications Officer, NAC Orchestra
National Arts Centre
(613) 947-7000, ext. 335