Beethoven’s iconic Ninth symphony – Rachminoff’s lush second symphony – Rimsky-Korsakov’s glittering Scheherazade… This five-concert series with the NAC Orchestra features some of the most popular and beautiful symphonic music ever written. In addition, Music director Alexander Shelley has invited some of today’s most exciting pianists to perform with the Orchestra, including Alain Léfevre, Alice Sara Ott, Beatrice Rana and Stephen Hough.
From the concert halls of Europe to the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor has always been a hit with the crowds. An instant success when it premiered in 1869, the concerto quickly took its place in the classical music repertoire. It crossed over to rock’n’roll in 1961, when jazz artist Jimmy Wisner created the top-10 single “Asia Minor” by playing an excerpt from the first movement on a cheap piano in boogie-woogie style. After recording the Concerto on her 2016 album Wonderland — praised by the BBC for “deep lyricism and light, glittering finger work,” — 29-year-old Alice Sara Ott regales the NAC audience with this perennial favourite.
Soar away on a musical magic-carpet ride to the enchanted world of the Arabian Nights. Rimsky-Korsakov’s spellbinding orchestral suite weaves a dreamscape around a sweet, solo violin part that represents the voice of the storyteller Scheherazade, as she recounts ancient tales of love and adventure to her cruel, jealous husband. By turns thrilling, suspenseful, sinister and beautiful, the music of Scheherazade is sure to evoke, in the words of the composer, “an Oriental narrative of some numerous and varied fairy-tale wonders.”
Succumb to the tempestuous emotion of Brahm’s most passionate piano concerto. Conceived after the attempted suicide of Brahm’s friend and mentor Robert Schumann, this stormy piece finds fierce expression at the hands of 23-year-old Italian prodigy Beatrice Rana. The youngest winner ever of the Montreal International Piano Competition in 2011, Rana makes her NAC debut by special invitation of our music director Alexander Shelley. The evening culminates with Schumann’s own Second Symphony, written as the composer attempted to overcome his feelings of depression through music.
Thursday Ovation series subscribers attend Friday performance.
Young finnish conducting sensation Klaus Mäkelä makes his Canadian debut. Pianist Stephen Hough is known for both power and refinement. “Hough is simply one of the most interesting musicians around.” —Boston Globe