In May 2023, the NAC Orchestra offered its annual Mentorship Program to 46 emerging and early-career artists from around the world. This three-week side-by-side career development program saw string, wind, brass, and percussion players as well as a librarian and harpist in programs featuring Strauss and Holst.
Here are what some of the participants had to say about the Orchestra, the mentorship, and the amazing opportunities.
Alec began his studies at the University of Ottawa with NACO percussionists Jonathan Wade and Kenneth Simpson, during which time he performed frequently with the Ottawa Symphony and NACO as well as with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra during their 2017 tour. He then obtained a Master's Degree in percussion from CSU Long Beach, where he studied with Ted Atkatz. After his studies, Alec became the timpani fellow at Southbank Sinfonia in London, UK, where he maintains a freelance career along with his duties as Music Librarian for the BBC. He is currently Principal Timpanist for the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra.
Hailing from Ottawa, Canada, Austin Wu started playing the violin at the age of five, studying with, Leslie Wade, Serhii Vyhovskyi, and Elaine Klimasko. He has participated in various music festivals such as Orford Music Academy, Domaine Forget, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, the National Arts Center Orchestra Mentorship Program, and the Tanglewood music center. In 2022, Austin obtained a bachelor’s degree in music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Grigory Kalinovsky. Currently, he is completing his master’s of music at McGill university with Andrew Wan.
At the age of 16, Evelyne Méthot began her studies at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal (CMM) with Carole Sirois, and completed her bachelor’s degree in April 2022. Through several training internships, she obtained valuable advice from cellists Lluis Claret, Amit Peled, Brian Manker, David Hetherington, Joseph Johnson, Elizabeth Dolin, Denis Brott and Stéphane Tétreault.
In June 2019, Evelyne participated in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s summer program. During the orchestra’s Odyssey Tour, she performed in nine concerts in Canada and Spain under the direction of conductor Michael Francis.
In November 2021, the young cellist performed as First Chair of the cello section of the Orchestre symphonique du CMM for a concert at the Maison symphonique.
A clarinet player originally from Albania, he has had an active and prolific career from the start, winning international competitions such as First Prize in Chamber Music category at the XIIº International Competition "Città di Pesaro", first Prize in Soloist category at Xº International Competition “Luigi Zanuccoli”, Rotary Club Award for the Best Student of the 13’/14’ Academic Year, just to name a few. He has performed as Principal Clarinet, E-flat clarinet and soloist with various orchestras, such as The Orchestra of the America, Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco in Mexico, National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Orchestra Maderna di Forlì in Italy, National Theater of Opera and Ballet of Tirana in Albania, Italian Clarinet Consort among others, also he counts with several records in Contemporary music and other genres as Electro Swing, Hard Rock, Dixieland and Latín Jazz Music. He holds a Bachelor degree in Clarinet performance from the Academy of Art of Tirana, and a Master degree in Contemporary Music performance from the conservatory of Cesena, Italy.
Soo Jin Chung, Korean-Canadian conductor and pianist, holds a Master's degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Michigan. She also holds a Master of Music in piano performance from Rice University where she studied under the guidance of Jon Kimura Parker. Recently, she has been the guest cover conductor for St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra.
Soo Jin has conducted the Berlin Sinfonietta, Sofia Sinfonietta, Eastern Festival Orchestra, Saratoga Orchestra and Sinfonica Azteca, among others. The conductors she worked with include with Xian Zhang, Paolo Bortolameolli, Collin Metters, Donald Schleicher, Kenneth Kiesler and Gerard Schwarz.
Dr. Rachel O’Connor is a French hornist who has performed internationally as a soloist and orchestral musician. She is currently based in Los Angeles, California, where she performs with orchestras and for top industry clients such as Netflix, AppleTV and Coachella. She also recently appeared with the Phoenix Symphony as Assistant Principal horn. She was also a member of the National Repertory Orchestra in 2021 and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada from 2015-2018. Rachel recently earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Horn and Master’s of Musicology from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. Rachel also enjoys doing research and won the American Musicological Society’s Irving Lowens Award in 2021 for her research on the forced migration of El-Sistema trained Venezuelan musicians. In 2019 Rachel was the recipient of the Presser Graduate Music Award, which she used to do a teaching artist tour in Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico. When Rachel isn’t practicing or teaching, she enjoys spending time with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.