Violinist Karoly Sziladi has been with the NAC Orchestra since it first performed in October, 1969. While the Orchestra was getting ready to depart on their seven-city 50th Anniversary European Tour this May, we asked Karoly about why touring is so important and what he’s most looking forward to about this milestone tour.
Q: You’ve been on many tours with the NAC Orchestra over the years, which ones stand out in your mind?
A: I especially remember the first major tour we did in 1973. It was five weeks long and took us to Poland, Russia, England, France and Italy. Our annual tours to Carnegie Hall in New York City are very memorable and I have a lot of memories from all the times we visited Eastern and Western Canada.
Q: As a musician what are you most looking forward to about the upcoming European Tour?
A: In Gothenburg we’re planning to play Life Reflected and I’m interested to see how it will be received by the audience. It’s the first time we’ll perform this Canadian story outside of Canada. Overall, I’m looking forward to a full house at every concert. As a musician, you feel great when you play for a large audience, the concert goes well and you get a standing ovation.
Q: Why is international touring so important for the NAC Orchestra?
A: It’s important to keep a high profile on an international level. For an orchestra like ours, it’s almost essential for us to tour every two years to give our young, talented musicians the opportunity to show their work on the world stage. They’ve been practicing since they were five-years-old and an international tour is the climax of all that effort.
Q: Why is it important to offer a robust education and outreach program during a tour?
A: Education and outreach helps keep the younger generations interested in classical music. Unfortunately, with modern technology like television, phones and tablets, live classical music is on a downturn. It’s important for us to share our experience with young people since they are the musicians and audiences of the future.
Q: What message of thanks would you like to send to donors who help make touring possible?
A: All of us in the NAC Orchestra are forever grateful. Without your support these tours wouldn’t happen. In the beginning, it was a must for the government to completely support us. Times are different now and we depend on generous donors to help fund tours, children’s concerts and education programs.