Acclaimed conductor Trevor Pinnock returns to the National Arts Centre to lead the NAC Orchestra and gifted soloists in Handel’s Messiah on December 13-14 in Southam Hall

Maestro Pinnock is also featured on the harpsichord at the sold-out  ‘Music for a Sunday Afternoon’ concert on December 18

A highlight of the holiday season, Handel’s Messiah will be performed at 7 p.m. (please note early curtain time) in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Tuesday December 13 and Wednesday December 14. The NAC Orchestra will be under the baton of conductor Trevor Pinnock. Soloists performing this holiday classic will be soprano Lydia Teuscher; mezzo-soprano Jill Grove; tenor Michael Colvin; and baritone Phillip Addis. They will be joined by the Ottawa Festival Chorus and The Ewashko Singers, both under the direction of Laurence Ewashko.

Trevor Pinnock is a renowned British conductor and harpsichordist. Mr. Pinnock was also artistic director and principal conductor of the NAC Orchestra from 1991 to 1996. As Steven Mazey wrote in the Ottawa Citizen on November 14, 2009, “…[Pinnock] seems to have a special feeling for Handel’s Messiah…. His recording of the piece has been widely praised as among the best versions available, and his Ottawa performances of Messiah have been memorable. … music critic Richard Todd praised [Pinnock’s performances] as “the most refined and musical Messiah to grace Southam Hall in many years. Pinnock’s sense of the music’s shape and proportion would be hard to find in another conductor, and he found beauty in many details that normally flow by unnoticed.”

PRE-SHOW CHAT with Trevor Pinnock
December 13: Panorama Room, 6 p.m.
December 14: Le Salon, 6 p.m.
Writer broadcaster Eric Friesen chats with Trevor Pinnock

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) – whom Beethoven called “the greatest composer that ever lived” – was arguably the most cosmopolitan and versatile theatrical composer of the Baroque period. He was born and trained in Germany, achieved mastery and success in every musical genre while in Italy, and then settled for nearly five decades in England, during which time he assimilated all those nation’s musical styles and specialised in operas and oratorios.

Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742. It immediately won huge popular success and has become the most performed and recorded and listened-to choral work in the repertoire. The popularity of Messiah is not difficult to explain. Musical scholars note the spaciousness in Handel’s music, the dramatic silences, and the stirring contrast. Handel’s music often blends different styles, including English church music, the German Passion-music tradition, and the Italian melodic style.

Although often regarded as Christmas music, Messiah was actually written for Easter, a celebration of birth, but also of death and resurrection. Handel composed Messiah in 24 days without once leaving his house. While writing the "Hallelujah Chorus", his servant discovered him with tears in his eyes. He exclaimed, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself!!” The King was so deeply stirred with the exultant music that when the first ‘Hallelujah’ rang through the hall, he rose to his feet and remained standing until the last note of the chorus echoed through the house. From this began the custom of standing for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. 

HANDEL’S MESSIAH NACOCAST by Christopher Millard
Back by popular demand! In this special NACOcast presentation from December 2007,
NACO’s Christopher Millard takes us on a 30-minute guided tour of Handel's Messiah.

Trevor Pinnock at the harpsichord

December 18, 2011 -- 2 p.m.
Auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada
Adults $31.21 Students (with ID) $15.60

TELEMANN Overture-Suite for trumpet, oboe and strings D Major, “Tafelmusik”
HANDEL Chaconne & Variations in G for harpsichord
A. SCARLATTII Cantata Pastorale per la Natività
HANDEL Trio Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 2, No. 3

Trevor Pinnock, harpsichord
Sarah Barnes, soprano
Yosuke Kawasaki, violin
Charles Hamann, oboe
Karen Donnelly, trumpet
Members of the NAC Orchestra

Trevor Pinnock, conductor
Trevor Pinnock is known worldwide as a harpsichordist and conductor who pioneered performance on historical instruments with his own orchestra, The English Concert. He now divides his time between conducting, solo, chamber music and educational projects. In the 2011-2012 season Pinnock will give recitals in Italy, Spain and throughout the U.K. As a conductor he tours with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the Kammerakademie Potsdam. Pinnock made his debut with the NAC Orchestra in 1985, and then served as Principal Conductor and Music Director from 1991 to 1996, and as Artistic Advisor from 1996 to 1998. In December 2009 he led the NAC Orchestra in performances of Handel's Messiah and played harpsichord in a Music for a Sunday Afternoon concert, as he does again this month. Recent recordings include Wigmore Live featuring works by Purcell, Handel and Haydn, and a recording of concertos and chamber music from the court of Frederick the Great with Emmanuel Pahud and Jonathan Manson for EMI. In educational initiatives Pinnock continues his work with the Royal Academy of Music, London and the University Mozarteum Salzburg. In 1992 he was awarded the honour of CBE and he is also an Officier des Arts et des Lettres.

The NAC Orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Tuesday December 13 and Wednesday December 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, $36.59, $49.50, $58.11, $68.88, $79.64, and $95.78 for adults and $14, $19.80, $26.25, $30.56, $35.94, $41.32 and $49.39 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

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

For additional information, visit the NAC website at

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


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