Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra returns to stage with reworked season—streamed

Posted on: November 2, 2020

Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and Music Director Alexander Shelley held an in-person rehearsal on October 8, their first since the beginning of the pandemic. Photo by Jean Levac / Postmedia News

“Just a day before the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s season-opening concert was scheduled to take place, Ontario imposed modified Stage 2 restrictions that shut down performing arts centers … in hopes of curbing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic,” writes Lynn Saxberg in Thursday’s (10/29) Ottawa Citizen (Canada). “The decree was amended to allow for livestreaming and rehearsals on a venue’s stage, provided no spectators are in attendance…. The plan all along was to broadcast the opening concert from an empty Southam Hall, so it was [rescheduled] for Oct. 31.… As for the music that will be featured in NACO’s first full-orchestra concert of the pandemic, … ‘The voices of traditionally and historically under-represented communities will be front and center,’ music director Alexander Shelley said, pointing to … Lyric For Strings by the late George Walker … and Jessie Montgomery’s bright and optimistic Starburst…. Equally important is showcasing Canadian culture…. The theme of the opening concert is inspired by the title of [Canadian composer Jocelyn] Morlock’s composition: Solace. ‘So much has happened,’ Shelley said. ‘People have died, and people’s lives have been turned upside down. This music is cathartic … showing the future can be bright, great and hopeful.’ ”