Nurturing the passion of the next generation of Canadian artists

Thanks to her participation in the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Competition, which encourages excellence among young instrumentalists, and in the 2011 Young Artists Program, flutist Lara Deutsch got to work closely with the NAC Orchestra’s renowned principal flutist, Joanna G’froerer. 

“So that was a really fantastic opportunity to get a lot of one-on-one time with the principal flute of the NAC Orchestra, Joanna, and just to have this sort of unfiltered access to them and get to pick their brains and get to perform with them. I mean, all of those opportunities were a huge privilege and certainly fundamental to my growth as a young musician,” says Lara Deutsch.

Lara is recognized as an accomplished orchestral musician and professional soloist, and she and her flute were on stage with Joanna G’froerer and the NAC Orchestra on the evening of the NAC Gala on November 1. 

Investing in the next generation of artists 

The National Youth and Education Trust is committed to helping the next generation of artists develop, hone their craft, and nurture their passion, and to introducing young people across the country to the magic of the performing arts through unforgettable experiences. Since its inception in 2001, the NAC’s main source of funding for education and youth programs has consistently invested in the future of the next generation of artists. 

“This is where we start to spark the curiosity of young artists,” says Malika Burelle, Senior Development Officer, Major Gifts. “As a national institution that celebrates excellence, we need to make sure we're giving the next generation the tools they need to see themselves on stage.” 

Whether it’s a young artist in Ottawa looking for opportunities to develop their talent or a school filled with students in Saskatchewan whose lives are about to be transformed by attending their first live performance, there’s no denying the power of learning.

“The one thing about kids is they grow up and they’ll never forget the way you made them feel,” explains Zoey Roy, an Indigenous (Nehithaw-Dené Métis) hip hop-inspired spoken word poet.

The Saskatoon-born artist, educator, activist and storyteller, who now lives in Ottawa, has been working with the NAC’s Music Alive program for nearly eight years. By reaching out to young people in classrooms across the country, Zoey is committed to sharing messages of anti-racism and healing. 

“I’ve taught tens of thousands of students how to tell their stories through rhythm and rhyme in a way that feels good,” says Zoey. “Without the National Arts Centre’s support, I don’t know how I would have possibly had the opportunity to reach so many students.” 

“The National Arts Centre is so willing to think outside the box reach into communities and recognize the inherent value that our communities have that is what is going to make Canada a better place for everyone,” says Zoey. 

“You’re investing in empathy and human connection, people who are able to look at things from different perspectives, people who are able to express themselves, connect, communicate and create a society in which there is this sense of community,” says Lara.

As a national institution, the NAC wants to ensure that children and youth from coast to coast to coast can access and participate in the performing arts, regardless of where they come from or where they live. “This is one of our founding principles,” notes Malika Burelle. 

Making connections 

Generous contributions to the National Youth and Education Trust not only support a wide range of educational initiatives, stimulate young people’s imaginations, and foster a love of the performing arts: they also help build community connections to the NAC through the Centre’s various activities across the country.

Now an actor in TV series and films, Sébastien Cimpaye began his career at the age of four and a half. In 2017, at the age of nine, he played Tiny Tim in the NAC English Theatre production of A Christmas Carol, and has twice been a BIG BANG Ambassador (in 2019 and 2021). The teenager of Rwandan-Burundian heritage studied drama in high school, and it’s not unusual to come across him at the NAC, as he regularly attends French Theatre plays. 

“When I first joined the NAC, I had only taken lessons, but there I had the chance to really see a production in full swing,” says Sébastien. “And the best thing about it was that they made it all seem normal, so I didn’t notice that I was being fostered by a great institution. I was having fun.” 

Part of the NAC’s mission is to continue building close relationships with a wide range of organizations, collectives, companies and artists from coast to coast to coast, in order to represent and encourage the next generation.

Support of the NAC’s National Youth and Education Trust helps the NAC provide learning and engagement opportunities for all — from young children in the classroom, to artists, to the lifelong learner. Thank you to the hundreds of donors who support this fund each year. 

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