The third Ovation concerts of the season – entitled Brilliant Brahms – will be performed on Wednesday October 26 and Thursday October 27 at 8 p.m. in Southam Hall.  The National Arts Centre Orchestra – featuring guest pianist Juho Pohjonen -- will be under the baton of conductor Thomas Søndergård.

The program for the evening includes:
GARY KULESHA       Third Symphony
MOZART                    Piano Concerto No. 21
BRAHMS                    Symphony No. 2

Pre-Concert Chat -- Le Salon – 7 p.m.
Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer: “Happiness and Music” /“Le Bonheur et la musique”
October 26 in English, October 27 in French

National Arts Centre Orchestra Music Director Pinchas Zukerman – who likes conducting Brahms – personally selected Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård for this program. It is Søndergård’s third appearance with NACO. Maestro Søndergård is Principal Conductor and Musical Adviser of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and in 2012 he will succeed Thierry Fischer as Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

The works of Canadian Gary Kulesha – a composer, pianist, conductor, and educator, who was awarded the National Arts Centre Award for composers in 2002 -- have been performed worldwide.  His Third Symphony was commissioned by the NAC Orchestra, receiving its world premiere in May 2007; the symphony has been performed numerous times by Canadian orchestras since then. Kulesha has said that “after a long period of experimenting with different ways of making music, I found I had redeveloped a craving for music based on traditional forms…. I also found that I desperately needed to have more fun in the act of making music with true, classically modeled development… I believe that we can recapture the joyousness that drew us all, listener and musician alike, into music in the first place. This is what I have tried to do in this symphony.” Mr. Kulesha has toured twice with Maestro Pinchas Zukerman and the NAC Orchestra, and he has written several works for them.

The Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 was completed in 1785 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The second movement became extremely popular when it was featured in the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan. The imagery used in the movie was of a lazy boat ride on a placid lake, visually echoing the limpid sound of this movement. Performing this concerto is Juho Pohjonen, one of the brightest young instrumental talents to emerge from Finland, on a return visit to the NAC. Mr. Pohjonen has attracted great attention as one of the Nordic country's most intriguing and talented pianists. Widely praised for his interpretations of music from Bach to Salonen, Mr. Pohjonen's New York debut recital at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall was selected as one of the most memorable New York concert events in 2004 by Anthony Tommasini, senior music critic of The New York Times.

Juho Pohjonen will autograph his CDs in the Southam Hall foyer after both concerts.

In contrast to his defiant First Symphony, Johannes Brahms turned to an overall feeling of cheerfulness for his Symphony No. 2 in D major, a subtle work that displays the brilliance of the master composer. Symphony No. 2 was composed in 1877 during a visit to Austria. Its composition was brief in comparison with the fifteen years it took Brahms to complete his First Symphony. The cheery and almost pastoral mood of the symphony often invite comparisons with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, but Brahms mischievously wrote to his publisher that the symphony “…is so melancholy that you will not be able to bear it. I have never written anything so sad, and the score must come out in mourning.” The premiere was given on December 30, 1877 in Vienna.

The NAC Orchestra performs Brilliant Brahms in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Wednesday October 26 and Thursday October 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.45, $31.21, $42.51, $53.81, $64.57, $75.33, and $94.17, for adults and $11.73, $17.11, $22.76, $28.41, $33.79, $39.17, and $48.59 for students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 1-888-991-2787; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website

Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Live Rush™ membership (free registration at may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $12 per ticket. Tickets are available online ( or at the NAC box office from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance until 6 p.m. on the day of the show or 2 hours before a matinee. Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices to all NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances; to reserve your seats, call 613-947-7000, ext. 634 or e-mail

Discover the new NACmusicbox TIMELINE: 200 orchestral works, 80 Canadian compositions, 1 interactive TIMELINE that provides a visual representation of our rare online archival collection and encourages the exploration of music connections. The NACmusicbox TIMELINE has been specifically designed to showcase the works of Canadian composers within the history of orchestral music and offers cross-curricular content with classroom-ready activities and lesson plans developed by teachers for teachers. Visit today.

The National Arts Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial investment by the Department of Canadian Heritage in the creation of this online presentation for the Virtual Museum of Canada.

We also thank our partner CBC Radio 2 for generously providing broadcast-quality recordings of the NAC Orchestra’s archival performances.

For additional information, visit the NAC website at

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Gerald Morris
Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335 



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