2024 : A Summer Odyssey – A World Premiere, A Local Violin Sensation, and Strauss' Epic Tone Poem

June 20, 2024 – OTTAWA – Take a break from the summer sun and experience a different kind of heat as the NAC Orchestra (NACO) brings you an epic tone poem, a brilliant homegrown international violin sensation, and a world premiere, inspired by Japanese sci-fi magic — all on the Southam Hall stage. 

On July 4th at 8:00pm, Music Director Alexander Shelley will lead the NACO in 2024 : A Summer Odyssey alongside Ottawa-born violinist Kerson Leong, and featuring works by Métis composer Ian Cusson, and German Romantic composers Max Bruch and Richard Strauss. 

The evening begins with the world premiere of 1Q84: Sinfonietta Metamoderna, written for NACO by Métis composer Ian Cusson. This provocative new work, inspired by Haruki Murakami’s Orwellian novel 1Q84, blends Japanese sci-fi with magical realism, philosophy, and mythology. 

Next, Ottawa’s own international violin sensation, Kerson Leong, will ignite the stage with Max Bruch’s romantic Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor, one of the most beloved violin concertos of all time. Max Bruch is best known today for his first Violin Concerto which he began working on in 1857, but only completed it in 1866. Once finished, Bruch revised the concerto based on suggestions from the famous violinist Joseph Joachim and the final version premiered in Bremen on January 5, 1868. Nearly 40 years later, Joachim still considered Bruch’s violin concerto one of the four greatest of the nineteenth century, alongside those of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Brahms, calling it "the richest, the most seductive ". Additional program notes can be found here

Finally, if the sunrise could be depicted by a song, it would be Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra) by Richard Strauss. You’ve likely heard it before, as it symbolizes the dawn of time in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and, more recently, the dawn of film Barbie in 2023! While the opening theme, known as "Sunrise" in the composer’s program notes, is widely recognized, Also sprach Zarathustra offers a profound musical journey beyond this famous snippet. As a tone poem, the full composition is rich with depth and variety, promising a captivating experience that extends far beyond its renowned introduction. This work is an epic journey—powerful, unforgettable, and best experienced live. 

This concert is the perfect opportunity to introduce someone to the world of live symphonic music as the program bridges the familiar and the extraordinary. Plus, enjoy accessible ticket prices ranging from $15 to $45! 

Alexander Shelley, Ian Cusson, and Kerson Leong have limited availability, and may be available for virtual or in-person interviews. For scheduling and availability, please contact Mathieu Roy directly: mathieu.roy@nac-cna.ca.   


Tickets range from $15-$45 and are currently on sale, and can be purchased here - https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/36330 ;

See the full NAC Summer Programming lineup and additional ticket info on our website.  


Since its debut in 1969, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra has been praised for the passion and clarity of its performances, its visionary educational programs, and its prominent role in nurturing Canadian creativity. Under the leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NAC Orchestra reflects the fabric and values of Canada, reaching and representing the diverse communities we live in with daring programming, powerful storytelling, inspiring artistry, and innovative partnerships. 

Since its inception, the NAC Orchestra has recorded for radio and more than 40 commercial recordings many of the 80+ new works it has commissioned, primarily from Canadian composers. These include: 

  • The 2024 album Truth in Our Time, including the premiere recording of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 13, commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra.   
  • Clara - Robert - Johannes: A multi-year, multi-album exploration of the music of Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms, featuring pianists Angela Hewitt, Stewart Goodyear, and Gabriela Montero.   
  • The ground-breaking Life Reflected, which includes My Name is Amanda Todd by the late Jocelyn Morlock (winner of the 2018 JUNO for Classical Composition of the Year).   
  • Ana Sokolović’s Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes, 2019 JUNO Winner for Classical Composition of the Year (from the 2019 JUNO-nominated New Worlds).   
  • Angela Hewitt’s 2015 JUNO Award-winning album of Mozart Piano Concertos.      
  • The 2020 JUNO-nominated The Bounds of Our Dreams, featuring pianist Alain Lefèvre. 


The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.  


The National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank Mark Motors Group, Official Car of the NAC Orchestra, and Earle O'Born & Janice O'Born, C.M., O.Ont. The NAC Orchestra Music Director role is supported by Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LLD (hc). 


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