September 22-25, 2022

Connection and interdependence

Just as all living things navigate the natural world through their senses, so do humans, communicating and creating bonds through music and art. 

Acknowledging the importance of Indigenous ecological practices and the philosophical contributions that artists, writers, and scientists make to our understanding of nature, Sphere asks us to Listen to the Earth and immerse ourselves in the natural world through music, sciences, and arts. In doing so, we advance our understanding of the environment and move towards activism for the new reality that is upon us all, while transforming our preconceived notions of what a symphony orchestra is. 

Be it film, music, or theatre, Canada’s creative industries can impact and shape our perception of the land beneath our feet. The NAC Orchestra invites audiences to consider climate change and biodiversity loss through the eyes and ears of artists—past and present—by engaging the senses with concerts, talks and interactive installations.

  • orchestra inside Southam Hall
    • Music Director, NAC Orchestra Alexander Shelley

    Music Director Alexander Shelley introduces the NAC Orchestra’s upcoming SPHERE Festival.

    • angela-rawlings-photo-1-cropped
      Co-Curator, SPHERE Angela Rawlings

    Dr. Angela Rawlings shares her vision for the NAC Orchestra’s upcoming SPHERE Festival.

Music that embodies the earth

The four days of Sphere are themed around Planet Earth’s interconnected spheres, featuring distinct and interconnected concerts with the NAC Orchestra.

As an ecosystem of interdependent players, NACO embraces multiple tempos and temporalities—threading together historic repertoire with new compositions reflecting our current times. How might we apply knowledge from the past to sustain diversity? How might we create space for a symphony of human and non-human voices to compose a future survivorship? 

At the intersection of art and science 

“As a nickname for our planet, ‘sphere’ is a suffix indicating Earth’s overlapping subsystems. The four primary subsystems are lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. NACO’s four-day festival has been designed to feature one subsystem per day. The word ‘sphere’ also contains the word ´here´ (current location) in English and ‘ère’ (time, era) in French. How do we listen to ourselves, to one another, and to the ecosystems on which we interdepend at this time of climate crisis and biodiversity loss?”  —Dr. Angela Rawlings, Co-Curator

Presented at both the NAC and Canadian Museum of Nature, Sphere includes a curated selection of captivating, sensorial, and thematically interconnected artifacts and specimen exhibits. Visitors will discover collections of predator skulls, whale vertebrae, eclectic lichen samples, and other items relevant to the festival’s four overlapping themes: 

  • Earth

    Hello Earth! Listen Well

    September 22

    Join NACO for The Eternal Earth, our featured performance that considers the Earth beneath our feet and the perseverance of life against increasingly difficult odds. This is your day to learn about the lithosphere and say Hello Earth! at the NAC and partner venues. 

  • Moss

    Hidden Worlds

    September 23

    Take part in a musical scavenger hunt at the Canadian Museum of Nature and uncover Hidden Worlds of sound by delving into newly commissioned compositions performed by NACO musicians. Later, you can enjoy nature-inspired works exploring our biosphere as part of the WolfGANG Sessions at Club SAW or Inuit throat singing duo PIQSIQ. 

  • Water

    Bodies of Water

    September 24

    Let’s make waves! NACO explores our hydrosphere, celebrating Mother Nature and the Bodies of Water that sustain us, with music dedicated to the critical ecological milestones our planet faces, including John Luther Adams’ seminal work, Become Ocean

  • Sustain


    September 25

    A day for the whole family, Sustain-Ability is your chance to learn about the living organisms of our Earth and atmosphere through interactive art installations. NACO’s Family Adventures concert Tune into Nature offers creative responses to the climate crisis and the challenging times that are upon us.

Join our email list for the latest updates!