Q&A: Nelson McDougall, NAC Orchestra and Tour Manager

Nelson McDougall, NAC Orchestra and Tour Manager © Remi Thériault

Q. What are the key numbers around the NAC Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary European Tour (May 10 to 26)?

A. Nine concerts, 50 education activities, seven cities, 70 musicians and five Canadian soloists performing the music of six Canadian composers.

Q. What’s your role?

A. I’m like a “chief coordinating officer” on everything from budget and travel to programming, booking concerts, education events, and publicity. If it’s not under my direct control, I’m ensuring the tour team is in sync.

Q. Sounds like a huge job.

A. It is, but a huge reward is watching our NAC Orchestra perform in some of the world’s best concert halls.

Q. What keeps you up at night?

A. My to-do list. I call it Hydra – check one thing off, two grow in its place. The trick is to focus on things you can control.

Q. How many tours have you organized?

A. This is my fourth major tour. After this, I will have travelled 70,000 km with the NAC Orchestra.

Q. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve faced on tour?

A. On the morning we were leaving for the 2014 UK Tour, our connecting flight in Frankfurt was cancelled. I had to scramble to reroute 100 people. After hours of calls to Air Canada, we managed to get out that same evening. No pressure!

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