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Musical Globetrotters

Members of the NAC Orchestra embark on a tour in 1972 to the sounds of Frederick Mills’s trumpet. Founding Orchestra conductor Mario Bernardi waves from the top of the stairs. © NAC Archives
The NAC Orchestra during their New York City debut at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall on February 27, 1972. © NAC Archives
NAC musicians perform at the the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastavere in Rome during the Orchestra's European Tour in 1973. © NAC Archives
NAC Orchestra musicians pose in front of Berlin's famous Brandenburg Gate during their 1978 European Tour. © NAC Archives
The NAC Orchestra performs at the United Nations in New York on October 24, 1980. © NAC Archives
NAC Orchestra musicians pose in from of Jerusalem Wailing Wall in 2000. Some of the Orchestra's Middle East Tour concerts were cancelled when violence erupted in the region. © Brian Boychuk
Brian Boychuk's customized violin case which doubles as a card table on which he and fellow musicians could play cards while on tour. He first used it in a hotel lobby in Tel Aviv in 2000 when the musicians' ongoing journey to Jordan was cu © Brian Boychuk

We take a look back at some of the highlights and dramatic moments from past international tours of the NAC Orchestra.

For violinist Elaine Klimasko, now in her 44th season with the orchestra, the 1973 European tour that began in Poland was a highlight for a personal reason: she was able to meet up with distant family members from Ukraine, who travelled to hear her play. But on a musical level, “Pinchas Zukerman’s performance of the Beethoven concerto in Leipzig in 1990 was probably one of the greatest performances of this concerto ever!” she says, recalling his appearance as guest conductor and soloist on tour. “Another important change is that we now have a huge educational component on tours. Pinchas had such wonderful vision about the importance of this. It’s been a huge success.” 

For violinist Brian Boychuk, the thread of continuity that knits tours together is the card game he plays with other orchestra members. It began in a hotel lobby in Tel Aviv when the musicians’ ongoing journey to Jordan was suddenly cancelled as it became too dangerous to cross the border. “That game started 13 years ago and it’s been no end of fun,” he says. “We’ve played on buses, airplanes, hotels, everywhere.” Boychuk has customized a touring violin case, adding a fl at top and legs so that there’s always a level
surface for the cards.

For Chris Dearlove, orchestra manager from 1998 to 2007, most touring memories involve a crisis! “There was the concert in Amman, Jordan that was cancelled as violence broke out. Suddenly, we had to find 60 seats on a flight to Italy. This was followed by the stop in Locarno when we arrived to find the city flooded. This became known as the ‘Hell or High Water Tour,’” he recalls with a wry smile. “But ultimately, everything works out, as it’s usually the culmination of several years of planning and thought.”

Story by Hattie Klotz
Prélude Editor, Carl Martin

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