Piano phenomenon Saleem Abboud Ashkar shines in a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Beethoven’s Seventh: Symphony of Dance, the fourth Bostonian Bravo Series concert of the season at the National Arts Centre on January 5-6

In the fourth Bostonian Bravo Series concert of the 2011-2012 season, Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen leads the National Arts Centre Orchestra and rising star pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar in the music of Haydn and Beethoven. Mr. Ashkar is making his NAC debut and Maestro Inkinen – an alumnus of the NAC’s Summer Music Institute Conductors Program – is also making his NAC mainstage debut. Beethoven’s Seventh: Symphony of Dance is at 8 p.m. in the NAC’s Southam Hall on Thursday January 5 and Friday January 6, 2012.

The program for the evening includes:
HAYDN  Symphony No. 88 in G major
BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

PRE-CONCERT MUSIC with Lindsay Bryden, flute and Jean Desmarais, piano

January 5 -- 7 p.m., Le Salon
TELEMANN Fantasia No.3 in b minor (circa 1733); MARTIN Ballade (1939);
WIDOR Suite Op.34 (1877); REICHERT “The Encore Solo” (>1880)

January 6 -- 7 p.m., Le Salon
VERACINI Terza Sonata (ca. 1717); LIEBERMANN Sonata (1987)
ALBINONI Adagio (1751); REICHERT “The Encore Solo” (1880)

Astral Radio is committed to the future of Canadian music, and through its “My First NAC” programs is helping to nurture, support, and showcase the next generation of great Canadian artists. Astral Radio is proud to support the young artist performing in this concert.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 pulses with rhythmic vitality. Beethoven conducted the premiere in December 1813 – when the second movement was so popular movement it had to be encored -- and he remarked that he felt it was one of his best works. Particular mention was made of Beethoven’s antics on the rostrum (“…he tore his arms with a great vehemence asunder ... at the entrance of a forte he jumped in the air…”). Critics and listeners have often felt inspired by the Seventh Symphony, with one program-note author writing that “... the final movement zips along at an irrepressible pace that threatens to sweep the entire orchestra off its feet and around the theater, caught up in the sheer joy of performing one of the most perfect symphonies ever written.” Composer Richard Wagner, referring to the symphony’s lively rhythms, called it the "apotheosis of the dance."

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, op. 15, was written in 1796-7. The first performance was in Prague in 1798, with Beethoven himself at the piano. Although this was the composer’s first piano concerto to be published, it was his third attempt at the genre. As with the Piano Concerto No. 2, this
C major concerto reflects Beethoven's assimilation of the styles of Mozart and Haydn, while its abrupt harmonic shifts demonstrate Beethoven’s musical personality.

Born in 1976 in Nazareth, Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Hochschule für Musik in Hannover, Germany. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 22 and has since worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. He has toured extensively with Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Appearances in future seasons include invitations to make debuts with the Concertgebouw Orkest and the London Symphony Orchestra, WDR Koln, the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. A dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, Mr. Ashkar appears regularly in venues around the world. In September 2009, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote “Ashkar developed the piano part with great care, insight and technical perfection as well as a fine feeling for the poetic sensitive moments. The finale was a combination of commanding virtuosity and pearly light dexterity.”

Pietari Inkinen is a 31-year-old Finnish violinist and conductor. Now working internationally at the highest level, he was appointed Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2008 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009. As guest conductor, Inkinen has worked with the world’s finest orchestras and opera companies, and in the studio, his recordings for Naxos and EMI have been greeted with critical acclaim. Pietari Inkinen is also an accomplished violinist and has appeared as soloist with many leading Finnish orchestras.

Beethoven’s Seventh: Symphony of Dance will be performed in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Thursday January 5 and Friday January 6, 2012 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.45, $31.21, $42.51, $53.81, $64.57, $75.33, and $94.17, for adults and $11.38, $16.76, $22.41, $28.06, $33.44, $38.82, and $48.24 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 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website www.nac-cna.ca.

Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Live Rush™ membership (free registration at www.liverush.ca) may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $12 per ticket. Tickets are available online (www.nac-cna.ca) 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 grp@nac-cna.ca.

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 NACmusicbox.ca 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 www.nac-cna.ca
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Information:  Gerald Morris
Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335
[e-mail]  gerald.morris@nac-cna.ca