Pinchas Zukerman, conductor and viola soloist, and Danish violin phenomenon Nikolaj Znaider shine in Zukerman, Znaider, and Mozart, the fifth NAC Orchestra Bostonian Bravo Series concert of the season at the National Arts Centre on February 23-24

In the fifth Bostonian Bravo Series concert of the 2011-2012 season, Music Director Pinchas Zukerman leads the National Arts Centre Orchestra and renowned violinist Nikolaj Znaider in the music of Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Canadian composer Jacques Hétu. Pinchas Zukerman conducts the concert, and he is viola soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Nikolaj Znaider performs in both Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Zukerman, Znaider and Mozart is at 8 p.m. in the NAC’s Southam Hall on Thursday February 23 and Friday Febuary 24, 2012.

The program for the evening includes:
HÉTU        Symphony No. 3
MOZART       Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra, K.320d [ 364]
TCHAIKOVSKY  Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

PRE-CONCERT CHAT by Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer – Le Salon, 7 p.m.
February 23 (in English) “About Solitude and Accessibility”
February 24 (in French) “Accessibilité et solitudes”

POST-CONCERT TALKBACK WITH Pinchas Zukerman and Nikolaj Znaider

Jacques Hétu’s Symphony No. 3 was commissioned by the CBC and given its world premiere on September 21, 1971 by the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra conducted by John Avison. The scoring is for a classical-period orchestra consisting of woodwinds and horns in pairs, one trumpet, timpani and strings. Hétu places the symphony in his third style period (1969-1971), which is characterized by concise, densely written musical discourse using rhythmically complex structures. Lyricism and strict attention to form are also qualities of this music. It all takes barely seven minutes but Hétu has said all he needs to – nothing more, nothing less.

The Sinfonia Concertante was written by Mozart in 1779. The composition’s complex orchestral dynamics reflect the increasing technical competence of the European orchestras of that era and was strongly influenced by Mozart’s visit to the court of Mannheim. Mozart had been experimenting with the sinfonia concertante genre and this work is considered his most successful realization in this crossover genre between symphony and concerto.

Tchaikovsk’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 (1878) -- one of the best known of all violin concertos -- is also among the most technically difficult. It has freshness, lightness, piquant rhythms, and beautifully harmonized melodies. The piece was written when Tchaikovsky was recovering from depression brought on by his disastrous marriage. Since he was not a violinist, Tchaikovsky sought the advice of his composition pupil and sometime lover, violinist Iosif Kotek, on the concerto’s violin solo. Tchaikovsky wanted to dedicate the concerto to Kotek, but felt constrained by the inevitable gossip this would cause. In 1881, the composer broke with Kotek after he refused to play the concerto, believing it would do damage to his budding career. Tchaikovsky intended the premiere to be given by Leopold Auer, but Auer also declined. The first performance was eventually given by Adolph Brodsky on December 4, 1881 in Vienna, under the baton of Hans Richter. Critical reaction was mixed.

Born in Denmark to Polish-Israeli parents, violinist/conductor Nikolaj Znaider studied with Boris Kushnir. His playing has been heralded as “extraordinarily intelligent, soulful and impassioned, yet without a hint of indulgence.” In June 1992, at the age of 16, he won the first prize of the 4th International Carl Nielsen Violin Competition, and in 1997 he received one of the most respected and recognized prizes in the violin world: the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels. He plays the Guarneri “del Gesu” violin built in 1741 and previously played by legendary violinist Fritz Kreisler; the violin is on loan to Znaider from The Royal Danish Theater. Znaider has also taken up conducting -- in October 2010 he began his tenure as conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra -- and has also recorded chamber music with such musicians as Daniel Barenboim, with whom he recorded the Mozart piano trios, along with cellist Kyril Zlotnikov of the Jerusalem Quartet. Znaider is passionate about the education of musical talent and is Founder and Artistic Director of the Nordic Music Academy, an annual summer school whose vision is to create conscious and focused musical development based on quality and commitment.
Znaider's most recent recordings include the Brahms and Korngold violin concertos, recorded live in Vienna's Musikvereinssaal with the Vienna Philharmonic led by Valery Gergiev.

Zukerman, Znaider and Mozart is part of the NAC Winter Sale. For details, visit the NAC Website at
Zukerman, Znaider and Mozart will be performed in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Thursday February 23 and Friday February24, 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 Trinity 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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