The NAC Orchestra (NACO) and Music Director Alexander Shelley welcome you back to Southam Hall for our 2022-2023 season  

Ottawa, May 17, 2022 – Experience the transformative energy of orchestral music, with over 100 concerts to choose from across the season, with programs that celebrate, empower, and inspire.

“The history of music is full of collaborations between artists who are telling the stories of their time. Community, collaboration, stories: these are driving forces in our music-making. The NAC Orchestra is an ideal tool for sharing these stories and for artists to speak with authenticity to the entire Canadian experience, to the human experience. Our 2022-2023 season includes collaborations with deeply thoughtful creators like composers Jake Heggie, Dinuk Wijeratne, and Barbara Assiginaak, writer Margaret Atwood, and soloists Bruce Liu, Hilary Hahn, and Angela Hewitt. Fun is part of our experience, too… because this is a place to smile and enjoy and move!”
– Alexander Shelley, NAC Orchestra Music Director


2022-2023 season

The season opens with the concert event of the fall: Montreal pianist Bruce Liu, celebrating his brilliant top prize win at the 2021 Chopin Competition, performs Rachmaninoff’s popular Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini (Bruce Liu plays Rachmaninoff; September 8-9, 2022).  The concert program also includes playful works by Richard Strauss and Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne for an evening of music that is full of joy, and just plain fun. This concert will be livestreamed on the NAC website.

September also marks the return of NACO’s popular Fall festival. As part of Nordic Bridges, and in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Royal Library of Denmark, the NAC Orchestra presents the festival SPHERE September 22-25, 2022.  Details to come in June.

“We’re thrilled to share with you highlights of the NAC Orchestra’s 2022-2023 season. I can’t thank our patrons enough for supporting the Orchestra throughout these challenging times – whether in person in Southam Hall or online through our streamed concerts, or both. As I write this note, we have just returned from a triumphant Truth in Our Time tour and our first performance at famed Carnegie Hall in 30 years. It was so uplifting to see the New York audience lined up around the block for your NAC Orchestra who – unsurprisingly – played their hearts out. We are bringing all that energy and exceptional artistry with us into the 2022-2023 season, which is packed with brilliant Canadian and international artists, a thought-provoking festival and opportunities to experience the Orchestra in Ottawa and across Canada. We can’t wait!”
– Nelson McDougall, Managing Director, NAC Orchestra

Later in the Fall, NACO welcomes back to Southam Hall distinguished Québec conductor and NACO creative partner Bernard Labadie. Under the baton of one of the world’s leading experts in Baroque and classical repertoire, NACO presents an evening with Mozart that includes the great composer’s C minor Mass and his Requiem (Mozart’s Requiem; November 9-10, 2022). Mozart’s Requiem was incomplete when he died, and many have tried to realize his vision and finish the music he began.  A cast of Canada’s greatest vocalists, including soprano Jane Archibald, tenor Andrew Haji, and baritone Philippe Sly, perform with the acclaimed choral ensemble La Chapelle de Quebec in these not-to-be-missed concerts.  

Celebrated American violinist Hilary Hahn performs Antonin Dvořák’s Violin Concerto (Hilary Hahn plays Dvořák; January 18-19, 2023) with Alexander Shelley and NACO, in her first appearance in Southam Hall in more than two decades.  One of her generation’s finest musicians, Hahn moves effortlessly between moments of tension and tenderness in this abidingly beautiful concerto. The concert program features Beethoven’s instantly recognisable Fifth Symphony, with a powerful companion piece, “Fate Now Conquers” by American composer Carlos Simon, whose music was prominently featured back in fall of 2020 on the very first of NACO’s livestreams from Southam Hall.

NACO and Alexander Shelley are honoured to present the World premiere of the orchestral version of Songs for Murdered Sisters in Atwood, Heggie, Brahms (February 9 - 10, 2023).  Acclaimed Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins makes his Southam Hall solo debut in this powerful work, written expressly for him, that conveys the tragedy of lives needlessly lost. The new work is a NACO co-commission with poetry by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and music by Jake Heggie. The program opens with the world premiere of Canadian composer and NACO creative partner Barbara Assiginaak’s Concerto Grosso, a NACO Commission. Assiginaak weaves Anishinaabe oral/aural traditions with Western classical techniques, to feature different combinations of instruments. The evening will conclude program concludes with Brahms’s Symphony No. 4, perhaps the perfect expression of German Romanticism in a symphony—passionate, filled with fury, and aimed straight at the heart. The symphony will be recorded to be released as on the fourth and final album in NACO’s Brahms recording cycle Clara-Robert-Johannes.

As part of NACO’s lively Pops Series, newly appointed Principal Youth and Family Conductor Daniel-Bartholomew Poyser leads Reggae Roots, an exploration of Jamaica’s famous musical genre, its people, sounds, and stories (February 23-25, 2023).  Hailed as reggae royalty, Jamaican-born Halifax-based vocalist Jah’Mila takes centre stage in a performance reflecting on the social, cultural, and spiritual importance of the magical musical genre that has shaped Jamaica and touched the world. 

Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly closes the Pops in June with Ella and Frank (June 22-24, 2023), a tribute to vibrant personalities and frequent song partners Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. The inimitable pianist/vocalist Tony DeSare has expertly curated the program with singer Capathia Jenkins, performing iconic songs like “Come Fly With Me”, and “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”. 

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 & Earle O’Born Fund for Excellence in the Performing Arts.

About the NAC Orchestra
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 96 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 to the U.S.A., 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.

The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams—the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre in association 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.


Mireille Allaire
Senior Manager, Communications

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