NACO’s Alexander Shelley, championing new music

Posted on: May 22, 2015

In Thursday’s (5/21) Vancouver Sun (B.C., Canada), David Gordon Duke speaks with Alexander Shelley, who leads the Vancouver Symphony this week. “At 35, Shelley … is poised to assume the position of music director of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in the fall…. ‘One of the most exciting elements of my work here is that it is a national arts organization,’ says Shelley. ‘If a group receives direct federal funding, you have to offer something on a national scale, in this case a forum for Canadian composers… Modern symphony orchestras tend to sandwich new music among other more familiar repertoire, and I want us to explore a different approach. …. One of my first decisions was that on every program I do, there will be a piece new to the orchestra, because I want to aggressively and joyfully expand the repertoire…. The question is how to find a way to allay fears of the unknown … Because of the abstract nature of the language of music, audience response tend to be limited to ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like.’ It’s up to us, who are arguing for the new, to also argue the ‘why.’ ”

Posted May 22, 2015