May 9, 2019

The National Arts Centre Orchestra today begin their 50th Anniversary Tour, entitled ‘Crossings’, which sees them travelling from London to Paris, Utrecht, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Gothenburg under the leadership of Music Director Alexander Shelley.

At the end of last night’s celebratory pre-tour concert in a packed out Southam Hall, Shelley, the orchestra and over 2000 audience members took a ‘send-off selfie’ as the first official image of the journey.

The tour begins in the UK, where the orchestra will be joined by Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki, Canadian countertenor David DQ Lee and the British chorus London Voices. The first concert takes place at Saffron Hall on May 12th with a programme featuring Lisiecki interpreting Ravel’s G-Major Piano Concerto. The matinee concert will open with Canadian-Serbian composer Ana Sokolovic’s work for countertenor and chorus ‘Golden Slumbers kiss your Eyes’, based on French, English, Italian, German and Serbian folksongs and nursery rhymes. This vibrant, colourful and virtuosic work was recorded by the NAC Orchestra and received a JUNO Award for best classical composition in 2019. The programme concludes with Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

In London the NAC Orchestra will also be resident at the Royal College of Music, giving masterclasses (including a conducting masterclass with Alexander on Monday May 13th) and a major intercontinental education event ‘ConneXXions’ at which Alexander will be joined by trumpeter Alison Balsom and violinist Esther Abrami to connect up virtually with young musicians in Canada and around the UK. 

On Tuesday May 14th the London leg of the tour concludes with a concert at Cadogan Hall as part of the Zurich International Orchestras Series. The performance will include the Sokolovic and Ravel works performed at Saffron Hall a few days earlier, but will feature Brahms 2nd Symphony in the second half.

The orchestra then moves on to Paris for a two day residency at the Seine Musicale, where they will be joined by Canadian soprano Erin Wall for both concert peformances and also a production of the groundbreaking ‘Life Reflected’ project, focused around the stories of four remarkable Canadian women. 

The tour will continue on to Utrecht, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Gothenburg, with soloist and long-time collaborator of the NAC, James Ehnes joining from Holland onwards to perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

Find out all about the concerts and outreach events and keep up with everything that the orchestra is doing by visiting the tour website