Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s third Mark Motors Audi Signature Series concert of the 2011-2012 season, features violinist Viviane Hagner and conductor Pinchas Zukerman on February 1-2

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto -- the third Mark Motors Audi Signature Series concert of the NAC’s 2011-2012 season – features Pinchas Zukerman on the conductor’s podium and guest violin soloist Viviane Hagner. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is at
8 p.m. in Southam Hall on Wednesday February 1 and Thursday February 2, 2012.

The program includes:
WEBER   Der Freischütz: Overture
MENDELSSOHN  Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
SIBELIUS  Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 43

Le Salon ~ 7 p.m.
February 1 “When Romanticism Hits the Nation” (in English)
February 2 “Quand le romantisme secous la nation” (in French)

Der Freischütz (usually translated as The Freeshooter) is a three-act opera (1821) by Carl Maria von Weber. It is considered the first important German Romantic opera, especially for its national identity and stark emotionality. The plot is based on a German folk legend and many of its tunes were inspired by German folk music. One writer observed that the Overture to Der Freischütz – which is a synthesis of the opera that follows -- could easily be the overture to one of the Grimm’s fairy tales, for the heart and soul of German folklore is embodied in this opera, involving as it does a dark mysterious forest, huntsmen, a friendly hermit, ghosts, evil spirits, a devil and a pair of lovers.

Pinchas Zukerman describes Viviane Hagner as “terrific, wonderful … a complete artist.” The New York Times wrote that “Viviane Hagner has a resourceful technique, and her tone is special: vibrant but slightly dark in color, almost plaintive. The color of her sound lends a poignancy to her playing, even in passages where the music is cheerful.”

Maestro Zukerman refers to Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto as “the perfect violin concerto … written beautifully for the instrument.” Zukerman calls the work “amazing, groundbreaking … [it has] a wonderful musical line, not a bar that is wrong or weak.” Mendelssohn’s last large orchestral work is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos in the repertoire. Mendelssohn originally proposed the idea of the concerto to Ferdinand David, a close friend and then concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Conceived in 1838, the work took another six years to complete and was not premiered until 1845. The sense of facility and effortless grace, its polish and eternal freshness, and the amiable, genteel mood it generates totally belie Mendelssohn’s effort to compose it. The innovative work was one of the first violin concertos of the Romantic era and was influential with many other composers. It was immediately well received and was soon regarded as one of the greatest violin concertos of all time. It is also one of the half dozen or so most popular violin concertos, one of the foundation stones of almost every violinist’s repertoire. 

Viviane Hagner will sign her CDs in the Southam Hall foyer after each concert

Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 43 will be conducted for the first time by Maestro Zukerman. The symphony – moody and lyrical, with its broad scale and heroic gestures -- was first performed on 8 March 1902, with the composer conducting. In Finland, this work was connected by some with the struggle for Finland's independence from Russia; Sibelius’s reaction to this has been widely debated. The success and popularity of this work -- the most frequently performed of Sibelius’s seven symphonies – is understandable. As a structure in sound, the symphony stands on its own as one of the most magnificent creations in the orchestral repertoire. In the tensions arising from opposing elements of the score, the contrasts of mood, the continuous control of pace, the fusion of its component parts into an organic whole, and the vast sweep of its trajectory from humble beginnings to mighty apotheosis, the Second Symphony embraces a true symphonic world of towering strength.

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto will be performed in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Wednesday February 1 and Thursday February 2, 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

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

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