The National Arts Centre Orchestra’s inaugural 2010-2011 Bostonian Bravo Series concert – Love & Spring -- highlights the return of charismatic conductor Alexander Shelley and Canadian star pianist Louis Lortie
Spring into fall! The first Bostonian Bravo concerts of the season – entitled Love & Spring – will be performed on Thursday October 14 and Friday October 15 at 8 p.m. in Southam Hall. These concerts feature the return of two renowned artists: perennially popular Canadian pianist Louis Lortie and British conductor Alexander Shelley, who was a big hit with audiences, critics, and musicians alike when he made his North American debut with the NAC Orchestra in October 2009. Both Mr. Lortie and Mr. Shelley will join Paul Lefebvre for a post-concert chat onstage.
The concert features:
COPLAND Appalachian Spring
MENDELSSOHN Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor
SCHUMANN Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, “Spring”
“The dean of American composers”, Aaron Copland’s quintessential voice -- optimistic, confident, and evocative, blending modern music and American folk styles -- speaks of young love in his 1944 ballet score, which includes the beloved hymn, “Simple Gifts.” Appalachian Spring was commissioned and performed by famed choreographer-dancer Martha Graham, and was awarded the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Music. The story tells of a spring celebration by American pioneers of the 1800s after building a new Pennsylvania farmhouse. Among the central characters are a newlywed couple, a neighbor, a revivalist preacher and his followers.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), wrote Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor (op. 25) in 1830-31, around the same time as his fourth symphony (“Italian”). The three connected movements use several relatively new formal techniques in their brief span — for example, the piano enters very soon after the opening of the first movement, with little of an orchestral tutti to contrast with. The concerto quickly became popular, and contains many sections of improvisation, one of Mendelssohn’s specialities.
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, op. 38 (“Spring”) was the first symphonic work composed by Robert Schumann. Largely known for works for piano and voice, it was Schumann’s beloved new bride Clara who encouraged him to write symphonic music. Schumann sketched the symphony in four days in early 1841 and completed the orchestration within a month; the premiere took place under the baton of his friend Felix Mendelssohn on 31 March 1841, and was warmly received. The title “Spring Symphony” was bestowed upon it because Schumann said he was inspired by his Liebesfrühling (spring of love).
PRE-CONCERT MUSIC – Southam Hall, 7 p.m.
Vocum Choir (Canterbury High School), James Caswell, director
POST-CONCERT TALKBACK: Paul Lefebvre hosts Alexander Shelley and Louis Lortie
FRIENDS OF THE NAC ORCHESTRA SILENT AUCTION
The Friends of the National Arts Centre Orchestra will be hosting a silent auction in the main foyer of the NAC on October 15. Bid on outstanding items from across Canada and around the world before the concert, during intermission, and for 20 minutes following the performance.
Proceeds from the auctions will benefit music education programs for young people.
Canadian pianist and prolific recording artist Louis Lortie has attracted critical acclaim throughout Canada, Europe, Asia, and the United States, not least for exploring his interpretative voice across a broad repertoire rather than choosing to specialize in a particular style. The Times (London), describing his playing as “ever immaculate, ever imaginative”, has identified a “combination of total spontaneity and meditated ripeness that only great pianists have”.
The son of two professional musicians, Alexander Shelley has been described in the press as “the most exciting and gifted young conductor to have taken this highly prestigious award [the Leeds Conductors Competition]. His conducting technique is immaculate, everything crystal clear and a tool to his inborn musicality.” Shelley is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most creative musical talents of his generation. A regular guest conductor in Germany, in September 2009 Alexander Shelley took up his post as Principal Conductor of Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra.
The NAC Orchestra performs Love & Spring in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Thursday October 14 and Friday October 15 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, visit the NAC website at www.nac-cna.ca
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Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335