OTTAWA, January 18, 2022 — The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) continues to nurture young musical talent in Canada’s National Capital Region with its 2022 NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition for which applications are now being accepted. Following a successful virtual competition in 2021, NACO plans to resume the in-person competition format in 2022, public health guidelines permitting and is prepared to pivot to a virtual format if necessary.

The application deadline is Monday February 28, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The 2022 NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition will take place on April 30th and May 1st, 2022 (closed preliminary rounds) at the National Arts Centre and on May 3rd, 2022 (the final round) at the University of Ottawa’s Tabaret Hall. A jury comprised of four NACO musicians, two invited guests, and two non-voting members of the NACO Bursary Committee will select up to eight finalists. The finals on May 3rd are expected to be open to the public, however this will be confirmed in the spring per public health guidelines.

This year’s competition is open to students of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, including the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani and percussion. Music students who are from and/or are studying in the National Capital Region for careers as orchestral musicians are invited to apply (see the NAC Bursary Competition website for eligibility criteria).

This will allow me to become more focussed than ever, just being able to solely concentrate on my academic and musical studies. These awards also act as a motivation for me to build my skills and strengths even at the hardest times. Your generosity and great support [make] me look forward to giving back to the community myself, just like you! Thank you so much once again, and I will never forget these awards that made my love for music possible.” – David Baik, Bursary Recipient, 2021

To learn more about the competition and how to apply please visit our website:

The NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition | National Arts Centre (


The National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Competition was first held in 1981. The prime objective of the competition is to encourage the pursuit of excellence on the part of young instrumentalists aspiring to orchestral careers. Each year, a jury identifies deserving recipients through audition and competition.

The Bursary was created in 1979 by members of the NAC Orchestra as a gesture of appreciation to the audiences who had been so supportive of it during its first decade. It is meant to provide recognition and financial support to help further the development of young musicians who have connections to the National Capital Region (NCR). Funding for the award came originally from two sources: the NAC Orchestra Bursary Fund created in 1979 by the members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the NAC Orchestra Trust (originally the Capital Trust founded in 1932 to benefit the Ottawa Philharmonic Society which on its demise in 1970 transferred the income to the NAC). It is now known as the NAC Orchestra Trust Fund. In 1981, one prize of $1,000 – the NAC Orchestra Bursary – was awarded. In subsequent years, thanks to the growth of the Fund as well as the generosity of private organizations and individuals, prizes now total more than $21,000.


The National Arts Centre Foundation wishes to acknowledge the leadership support of Mark Motors Group, Official Car of the NAC Orchestra, and Official Rail Partner, Via Rail. The NAC Orchestra Music Director role is supported by Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LLD (hc).  Special thanks to the Janice and Earle O’Born Fund for Excellence in the Performing Arts.


The National Arts Centre Orchestra led by Music Director Alexander Shelley reaches a national and international audience through touring, recordings and extensive educational programs. Since its debut in 1969, the NAC Orchestra has been praised for the passion and clarity of its performances, its visionary educational programs, and its prominent role in nurturing Canadian creativity. The Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley, performs a full series of subscription concerts at the NAC each season, featuring such artists as Joshua Bell, James Ehnes, Stewart Goodyear, Angela Hewitt, Jan Lisiecki, Gabriela Montero, and Xian Zhang, along with Principal Guest Conductor John Storgards.

National and international tours have been a hallmark of the National Arts Centre Orchestra from the very beginning. The Orchestra has toured 95 times since its inauguration in 1969, visiting 120 cities in Canada, as well as 20 countries and 138 cities internationally. In recent years, the orchestra has undertaken performance and education tours across Canada as well as the U.K. and China. In 2019, the Orchestra marked its 50th anniversary by showcasing the work of six Canadian composers in a seven-city European tour that included performances and education events in England, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. Since its inception, the Orchestra has commissioned more than 80 works, mostly from Canadian composers, and its commissions and recordings won JUNO awards for Best New Composition in 2018 and 2019.

It is the National Arts Centre’s goal to be an inclusive organization that engages and welcomes all Canadians. We believe that the basis of this inclusivity requires a socially and culturally diverse workforce and therefore actively seek to recruit candidates who identify as women, Indigenous, Black, Persons of Colour (IBPoC), persons from the LGBTQ2+ community and persons with disabilities.


Alexander Shelley began his tenure as Music Director of the NAC Orchestra in 2015. He is Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and former Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (2009-2017). Among his many invitations to conduct worldwide are stints with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Stockholm Philharmonic, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the German National Youth Orchestra.


The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. As part of its strategic plan, the NAC’s vision is to lead and support the renewal of the performing arts sector. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams —the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation.


- 30 –