Howard Shore’s The Forest: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra will receive its world premiere on May 1st, 2019 in a performance by guitarist Miloš Karadaglić and NAC Music Director Alexander Shelley.

April 30th, 2019 – OTTAWA (Canada) – On May 1st 2019, the National Arts Centre Orchestra will perform the World-Premiere of a new NAC commission, The Forest: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra by Canadian composer Howard Shore. Guitarist Miloš, dubbed “classical music’s guitar hero” by BBC Music Magazine, will perform the concerto written especially for him, and NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley will conduct. Audiences will connect with Howard Shore’s sweeping melodies and can expect to be inspired by the work’s freshness, intimacy, and virtuosic writing for the guitar. The world-premiere is featured in the program,  Miloš Performs Howard Shore on May 1st and May 2nd as part of the NAC Orchestra’s Audi Signature Series. Each night, Howard Shore will engage with the public in a free pre-concert talk with journalist  Paul Wells.



When NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley and classical guitar phenomenon Miloš decided to collaborate on a music-making project, they dreamt of working with legendary Canadian Composer, Howard Shore. To their great delight, the three-time Academy Award winner and creator of the music for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, The Hobbit, Gangs of New York and many more, accepted.

“I fondly remember a post-concert conversation over a glass of wine with my friend, tonight’s soloist Miloš Karadaglić, as we mused on the idea of commissioning the extraordinary Howard Shore to write a guitar concerto for us and the NAC Orchestra,” said Alexander Shelley. “Having not the slightest idea whether the suggestion would inspire this great composer, we simply reached out and asked. Nothing ventured, nothing gained… And here we are! What a thrill to be giving the world premiere performances of this new concerto in Ottawa this week. A winner of three Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and four GRAMMY® Awards, Howard is a true Canadian legend and I am honoured and proud that we can be the first to share in his latest creation.”

Guitar soloist Miloš said: “Howard Shore is a gentleman and a true master. I have for many years been fascinated by his insanely imaginative soundtracks and classical compositions. I still find it hard to believe that he wrote a piece for me... I am indeed the luckiest “plucker” in the world!” He continues: “The work is magical, just like the enchanted forest Howard wanted to paint with his unique musical brushstrokes. The first time I heard the piece, I was moved by the honest simplicity of its harmonies, idiomatic writing and incredibly programmatic nature that makes you instantly dream up so many colours and sceneries in your head. I have been struck by how masterfully, through the texture of the sound he creates, amongst so many shades of musical colour, he discretely interweaves a net of various echoes from my own homeland. Montenegro and its dark forests have been an inspiration to Howard and myself from the beginning. I have been counting the days until this wonderful dream we share becomes reality.”



The world-premiere of Howard Shore’s The Forest: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra is featured in the program,  Miloš Performs Howard Shore on May 1st and May 2nd. Prior to both the May 1st  and May 2nd concerts, Howard Shore will engage with the public in a free pre-concert talk with journalist Paul Wells. On May 1st only, Miloš will join NAC Orchestra violinist Marjolaine Lambert for a free post-concert chat.

The concert opens with a celebration of one of the most underrated composers of the Romantic era – Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, older sister of Felix. While her famous younger brother toured Europe, Fanny stayed home. But tonight, unburdened by the societal expectations of that time, the NAC Orchestra is delighted to champion the genius of this brilliant woman.

The evening closes with Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, and you can be a part of history as the NAC Orchestra records this performance for future release. It’s almost impossible to believe that Brahms took 14 years to complete this beautiful symphony, a consequence of his intimidation by, and reverence for, the work of Beethoven. As audiences will hear, he need not have worried, as this passionate work can stand shoulder to shoulder with those of his predecessor.


British conductor Alexander Shelley is Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He was Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (2009–2017). Unanimous winner of the 2005 Leeds Conductor’s Competition, he is in demand around the world, conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and  Stockholm Philharmonic, among others, and maintains a regular relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the German National Youth Orchestra. Mr. Shelley’s operatic engagements have included The Merry Widow (Royal Danish Opera), Le nozze di Figaro (Opera North), Così fan tutte (Montpellier), and Somers’ Louis Riel (National Arts Centre). Alexander Shelley has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon as well as for Montreal’s Analekta label on which he and the NAC Orchestra released Life Reflected, Encount3rs, New Worlds and The Bounds of our Dreams, each championing landmark creations by Canadian artists.

Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra is a world-class ensemble of outstanding classical musicians from across Canada and around the world. Formed in 1969, the Orchestra gives about 100 performances a year in Ottawa, across Canada and around the globe, working with diverse artists of international renown. It breaks boundaries with its regular commissions of new creations including the critically-acclaimed, immersive Life Reflected. Its commissions and recordings won JUNO awards for best new compositions in 2018 and 2019.  Details on its current 50th Anniversary tour can be found at The NAC Orchestra reaches a wide audience through national and international tours, recordings, and extensive educational outreach across Canada and on tour