The National Arts Centre celebrates the Year of the North Orchestra tour this fall, major Northern Festival spring 2013

OTTAWA—Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC) is celebrating the Year of the North with two major artistic projects: the Northern Canada Tour of the NAC Orchestra in the Fall of 2012, and the Northern Scene in the Spring of 2013, when the NAC will invite Northern artists back to Ottawa for a major festival featuring 250 of the best established and emerging artists.

From October 26 to November 4, 2012 the NAC Orchestra will embark on a major Performance and Education Tour with six concerts and more than 50 educational events in all three Northern Territories. NAC Musicians will perform in Iqaluit, Pangnirtung, Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife and Whitehorse along with some of the North’s best known musicians and singers. GE Canada is the Presenting Partner of the NAC Orchestra’s Northern Canada Performance and Education Tour.

In the Spring of 2013, from April 25 to May 4, the NAC will be inviting 250 artists from Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut to be presented on stages and in galleries in the nation’s capital during Northern Scene, a major festival that includes Music, Theatre, Dance, Visual and Media Arts, Film, Storytelling, Food and Fashion. TransCanada Corporation is the Presenting Partner of Northern Scene.

“We’re calling it the NAC’s year of the North,” said NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf. “We are thrilled to be celebrating the artistry and heritage of the extraordinary talent of Northern Canada by touring the North with the Orchestra in the Fall and by staging the biggest showcase of Northern artists Canada has ever seen in the Spring during Northern Scene.”

“GE recognizes the importance of the north to Canada as a nation. Our Remote Communities study identified several important imperatives – including education – as key to building a solid foundation for the future," said Elyse Allan, President and CEO, GE Canada.  “We are delighted to sponsor the National Arts Centre Northern Tour, which is celebrating our northern artists, and helping to promote education and community engagement across Northern Canada.”

The Orchestra’s Tour builds on the wonderful relationship the NAC’s Music Education Department has established over the past three years through The Music Alive Program: Nunavut. NAC teaching musicians have worked with local educators, musicians, elders and community leaders to support local music-making, arts, culture and language through school music programs and education initiatives. The NAC’s Music Alive Program: Nunavut is supported by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Education, RBC Foundation and Travel Partner First Air.     

MAJOR CONCERTS IN IQALUIT, YELLOWKNIFE AND WHITEHORSE                                                                               

  • In Iqaluit the NAC Orchestra will perform at the Nakasuk Elementary School on Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation and tickets can be picked up in advance at Arctic Ventures Ltd. Visit for details.
  • In Iqaluit, there will be a student matinee performance, on Monday October 29, 2012 at 10 the Aqsarniit Middle School, featuring violinist James Ehnes and accordionist Simeonie Keenainak, throat singer Nancy Mike, the Iqaluit Fiddle Players, and Aqsarniit school choir.
  • In Yellowknife, a student matinee concert with the NAC Orchestra and the Weledeh Fiddlers at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.
  • In Yellowknife, the NAC Orchestra will perform at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at
  • In Whitehorse, the NAC Orchestra will perform at the Yukon Arts Centre on Saturday, November 3, 2012 in a family concert at 2 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. for an evening performance. Tickets are available in person at the box office or online at


The Tour will shine the spotlight on many Northern and Southern artists, including guest conductor Norwegian Arild Remmereit. Remmereit has conducted major orchestras around the world and joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2011 as its eleventh Music Director.

“I have never been to Canada’s North and I am so excited to be conducting the NAC Orchestra on this tour,” said Remmereit. “I have travelled and worked with artists in the far reaches of Norway and I am fascinated to see what the cultural similarities are between the circumpolar regions of both Canada and Norway.”

As featured soloist, Canadian violinist James Ehnes is known for his virtuosity and musicianship. Ehnes is from Brandon, Manitoba, and has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s greatest concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors. With over 25 recordings to date, Ehnes is the winner of many international awards, including a GRAMMY, a Gramophone, and 6 JUNO Awards.

The Tour will also feature Northern Canadian musicians, and singers including throat singers Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik, Sylvia Cloutier, Madeleine Allakariallak, renowned accordionist Simeonie Keenainak, the Iqaluit Fiddle Club, and the Aqsarniit School Choir. Throat singer Nancy Mike has worked with high school students in Iqaluit to compose an original song that will she will premiere during the Tour.

In what is sure to be a tour highlight—the NAC Orchestra will perform for the first time ever in the Nakasuk Elementary School in Iqaluit. The concert will include Take the Dog Sled, an original piece by celebrated Canadian composer, Alexina Louie. The music showcases the amazing voices of both Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik, and has been described as a poetic and extremely playful work that weaves traditional Inuit throat singing into a western musical framework.

In Yellowknife, folk singer Moira Cameron and the Weledeh fiddlers will be featured in the student matinee concert, while in Whitehorse recent SOCAN winner, Hélène Beaulieu and the Fiddleheads Yukon will be featured during the family show.

The main concert in Iqaluit will be co-presented by the Qaggiavuut Society and the Alianait Arts Festival. The Qaggiavuut Society is working hard to build a performing arts centre in Nunavut, an initiative the NAC is supporting.

“Nunavut is the only Territory or Province in Canada that does not have a performing arts centre at this time,” said Peter Herrndorf the President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “We know what a gift the National Arts Centre was to the country when it first opened its doors in 1969 and we are very supportive of the creation of a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre.”


  • Take the Dog Sled, a piece of music inspired by Canadian composer Alexina Louie’s travels to the north;  
  • The Four Seasons by Vivaldi with violin soloist James Ehnes;
  • A special appearance by renowned throat singers Sylvia Cloutier and Madeleine Allakariallak;
  • Holberg Suite Opus 40 by Grieg;
  • Avaala/Aqsarniit featuring celebrated accordionist Simeonie Keenainak;
  • Sibelius Suite for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, Opus 177;
  • Qiviasulirpunga and Quviasupunga, two traditional compositions from Nunavut;
  • Northern Memories by Alain Trudel, a new composition commissioned for the tour;
  • Winter a new piece composed by students at the Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit with throat singer Nancy Mike and composer Tim Brady
  • Amazing Grace sung in Inuktitut


Always at the forefront of technology and arts education, the award-winning NAC New Media department will connect children in Iqaluit and Ottawa through broadband videoconference technology. Members of Iqaluit’s fiddle club and the Inuksuk Choir will be linked to Ottawa’s Orkidstra and the KidSingers. They will discuss the power of music to transform lives.

Inspired by the El Sistema model of music education in Venezuela, students and faculty will discuss their teaching and learning philosophy to promote social action through music.

Media are invited to attend the performance and exchange that will take place on Saturday, October 27th at 3 p.m. at the NAC’s Fountain Room in Ottawa and the Music Room at the Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit. Distance learning is made possible via a broadband connection the NAC helped establish with Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit last year. The connection can be used for masterclasses between NAC Orchestra teaching musicians in the South and students in the North, part of the pioneering work the NAC is doing in Music Education.


The broadband performance is just one of 50 Tour teaching sessions that will be led by some of the most formidable musicians of the NAC Orchestra, including Concertmaster Yosuke Kawasaki, Associate Concertmaster Jessica Linnebach, Principal Bass Joel Quarrington, Principal Clarinet Kimball Sykes and Principal Bassoon Christopher Millard and the NAC’s Brass Trio of Donald Renshaw (Trombone), Lawrence Vine (French Horn) and Karen Donnelly (Trumpet).

These top-level professionals will work in collaboration with schools, community orchestras, choirs, bands, fiddle clubs and other local music organizations to inspire young Northern Canadian artists and audiences, building on the excellent foundation of the region’s music educators.

“This tour offers us a chance to showcase the incredible talent of Northern Canada and to celebrate its strong legacy of music-making,” said Genevieve Cimon, Director of Music Education at the NAC. “Every time our musicians travel up North they feel they are learning as much as they are teaching. The Tour offers a wonderful opportunity for the NAC Orchestra to encounter promising young artists and to introduce them to some incredible teachers, which we hope will lead to meaningful relationships that will continue well beyond the Tour.”


You can follow the NAC Orchestra as it travels across Northern Canada on its award-winning website: or or on twitter at #nacotour or #tourneeocna


Reaching out to Canadian communities through touring is a central pillar of the NAC Orchestra. Over its 41-year history, the Orchestra has performed for audiences in hundreds of venues around the world, including 119 cities and communities in Canada (including Atlantic Canada in 2012), and 122 cities internationally.


The National Arts Centre wishes to thank the Government of Canada for its support of the NAC Orchestra during the Northern Canada Tour.

The National Arts Centre Foundation gratefully acknowledges support for the Northern Canada Tour from presenting partner GE Canada, Supporting Partners Gail Asper, Q.C., O.M., and Michael Paterson, NCC Investment Group Inc. and Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. The Tour Travel Partner is First Air and the Major Media Partner is CBC North.


The National Arts Centre and Northern Scene wish to thank the Government of Canada, Government of the Northwest Territories, Government of Nunavut, Government of the Yukon and the Canada Council for the Arts for its support of Northern Scene. The National Arts Centre Foundation wishes to thank Presenting Partner TransCanada Corporation, Special Partners John and Bonnie Buhler, Community Partner TD and Major Partner Enbridge Inc. for its support. Northern Scene’s Supporting Partners are NCC Investment Group Inc., and The Banff Centre.  The Major Media Partner is CBC North with the Ottawa Citizen as Media Partner. The Travel Partner is First Air.

- 30 -

For more information:

Rosemary Thompson
Director of Communications
National Arts Centre 
(613) 947-7000, ext. 260 
(613) 762-4118 cell


Andrea Hossack
Communications Advisor
National Arts Centre
(613) 947-7000 ext 335
(613) 613-220-5487 cell


Carl Martin
Communications Advisor
National Arts Centre
(613) 947-7000 ext.560
(613) 291-8880 cell


Join our email list for the latest updates!