Thanks to your generous support, the inaugural NAC Orchestra Mentorship Program was an outstanding success! From May 31 to June 17, forty-nine talented emerging and early career professional orchestral musicians from Canada, the United States, Taiwan, China, Germany, and Mexico took part in this new professional development initiative led by Music Director Alexander Shelley and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
One NAC Orchestra musician shared, “This was perhaps the most fulfilling and successful program I’ve been a part of. The feedback from many participants has been outstanding. It was very well-organized, well-executed, and this is because of the work put in by all involved. It allows NACO musicians to take ownership of the program within parameters that give the mentees so many opportunities and experiences.”
Over the three weeks, NAC Orchestra Mentorship Program participants received side-by-side mentorship on stage and off with professionals in their fields; took part in a “getting-to-know-you” week with rehearsals and sectionals with mentors; performed in NAC Orchestra concerts; and participated in career-enhancing extra-curricular events including workshops, lectures, masterclasses and mock auditions.
In an anonymous exit-survey, one participant shared they valued “being able to see firsthand how an orchestra of such a high caliber works and rehearses”. Another participant shared, “I feel so inspired playing with the NACO musicians! I think it is so special that we get to sit with them both in rehearsals with Maestro Shelley and in large group sections.”
Coming out of this year’s program, participants have secured incredible opportunities with orchestras across Canada, including Chia-Yu Hsu, the new principal bassoonist for the National Ballet of Canada. When sharing their exciting news with the NAC, Chia-Yu said that they felt the program was excellent and that “this experience benefitted my career preparation immensely.”
It is loyal donors like you who help provide young orchestral musicians with inspiring opportunities to learn from seasoned artists. At least one member of the NAC Orchestra is already looking forward to the 2023 edition of the NACO Mentorship Program: “I was impressed with the high level of participants we attracted to the program — a good sign for next year!”