Match Made in Southam Hall

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Louis Lortie © Elias

Nature might be taking its time in bringing us sunshine and flowers, but the NAC Orchestra, conductor Xian Zhang and pianist Louis Lortie were in full bloom during an open rehearsal and chat on the morning of April 18.

 National Arts Centre Foundation donors and over 200 students from local schools watched and listened as Xian Zhang and the Orchestra worked together to perfect the nuances of compositions by Rossini and Beethoven. Xian’s passion for the music and attention to detail were evident on stage, as was the NAC Orchestra’s extraordinary talent and professionalism. A number of NAC Foundation supporters were awed by Xian and the rehearsal that she so expertly led.

During the break, pianist Louis Lortie charmed the audience from the get-go with his frank admission that he was terrified of Mozart and that the only way to deal with his fear was to learn all of the concertos. Louis demonstrated how he enhanced the bare melody of Mozart on repetition by playing for the audience. He shared that one has to learn Mozart in detail in order to create an improvisation that sounds like Mozart, and confessed that it is frightening to play such intimate music in a big hall like Southam.

One NAC Foundation supporter asked Louis what it is like, as a soloist, to play with different conductors, some who he never worked with before. Louis responded by expressing his confidence in artistic administrators such as the NAC Orchestra’s Daphne Burt. Daphne, he said, has worked extensively with conductors and soloists throughout Canada, the States and beyond throughout her career. She is extremely skilled at matching soloists and conductors that will work well together.

If the open rehearsal was any indication, Xian Zhang and Louis Lortie will be a remarkable match...I wouldn’t be surprised if their performance inspired some flowers to bloom.

A special thank you to our Open Rehearsal and Preview Sponsor, Rob Marland, Royal LePage Performance Realty who makes these sessions possible for NAC Foundation donors.

Join more than 6,500 champions of performance, creation and learning by supporting Canadian artists, educators and students through the NAC Foundation.

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