The National Arts Centre Orchestra’s inaugural 2010-2011 Ovation Series concert highlights Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony, Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, and principal double bass Joel Quarrington

The first Ovation concerts of the season – “Italian” Symphony on Wednesday October 6 and Thursday October 7 at 8 p.m. in Southam Hall – feature Music Director Pinchas Zukerman on the conductor’s podium and NAC Orchestra principal double bass Joel Quarrington in the spotlight in a salute to the warmth, romance, and colour of Italy.

The concert features:
ROSSINI                             Overture to Il Signor bruschino ROTA                     Divertimento concertanteMENDELSSOHN     Symphony No. 4, “Italian”

Although he composed almost 40 operas in his lifetime, Rossini (1792-1868) would become famous for just a handful, including Il barbiere di Siviglia, L’italiana in Algeri, and La Cenerentola. Like his popular overture to Guillaume Tell, the overture to his ninth opera, Il Signor Bruschino, took on a life of its own, thanks to its theatrical and musical qualities – like the opera itself, the overture is witty, funny, sentimental, and absurd. In an innovation that startled contemporary audiences, the violinists took their bows and tapped a characteristic rhythm on the metal candleholders on their music stands – not just once, but on two separate occasions.

NAC Orchestra principal double bass Joel Quarrington takes a star turn in the bright and energetic Divertimento concertante by Academy Award-winning film composer Nino Rota. Incredibly talented and prolific, Rota (1911-1979) wrote more than 150 scores for the films of Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, and Francis Ford Coppola, among many others. He also composed ten operas, five ballets and dozens of other orchestral, choral, and chamber works.  The Divertimento concertante was composed, as it happens, for Joel Quarrington’s teacher, Franco Petracchi. Award-winning musician, teacher, and recording artist Joel Quarrington is recognized as Canada’s foremost double bassist and is regarded as one of the world’s leading players. He rejoined the NAC Orchestra as principal double bass in 2006 after playing two seasons with the Orchestra in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 is commonly known as the “Italian.” It has its origins in the composer’s coming-of-age Grand Tour of Europe from 1829 to 1831, and is inspired by the colour and atmosphere of Italy. The symphony gracefully incorporates Mendelssohn’s impressions of a Neapolitan religious procession as well as saltarello and tarantella dance figurations. The deliriously happy 21-year-old Mendelssohn wrote of his time in Italy as “ …the supreme joy in life. And I am loving it. … The ‘Italian’ symphony is making great progress. It will be the jolliest piece I have ever done, especially the last movement.” The symphony was premiered in London in 1833; its success, and Mendelssohn's popularity, went on to influence the course of British music for the rest of the century. However, Mendelssohn remained unsatisfied with the composition, revising it four years later and planning even further revisions.

“Capriccio Italien” with William Littler, Toronto Star music critic

The NAC Orchestra performs “Italian Symphony” in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Wednesday October 6 and Thursday October 7 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

Our latest web offering--coming soon – the NACmusicbox
200 orchestral works, 80 Canadian compositions, 1 interactive TIMELINE. Explore unlimited music connections and discover Canada's contribution to orchestral history. The interactive TIMELINE will offer a visual mapping of our rare online collection. It also includes the addition of 65 Canadian works thanks to financial investment by the Virtual Museum of Canada at the Department of Canadian Heritage. We also acknowledge our partner CBC Radio 2 for 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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