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Preview: NACOcast: Classical music podcast with Chris Millard

NACOcast: Classical music podcast with Sean Rice

Join host Sean Rice (Second Clarinet, NAC Orchestra) as he explores the world of classical music and its great composers. In this series of audio programmes you can look forward to hearing insightful commentary about upcoming NAC Orchestra programmes as w

Published: Tue, 17 Apr 2018 13:48:45 -0400

Last Build Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2018 13:48:45 -0400

Copyright: Canada's National Arts Centre

Natasha Gauthier with Alice Sara Ott and Eivind Gullberg Jensen

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 17:22:24 -0400

Natasha Gauthier of interviews pianist Alice Sara Ott and conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen who performed the Grieg Piano Concerto together with the NAC Orchestra, at the NAC, in January 2018. Join them as they talk about personal firsts, world travels, and the whirlwind life of a musician.

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Institute for Orchestral Studies

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 12:02:49 -0500

Sean Rice, second clarinetist of the NAC Orchestra, interviews the five apprentices who participated in the NAC's annual Institute for Orchestral Studies in the fall of 2017. They were:

Alexander Volkov, violin
Gabrielle Bouchard, violin
Alisa Klebanov, viola
Grace Sommer, cello
Talia Hatcher, double bass

The Institute for Orchestral Studies (IOS) is an apprenticeship program designed to prepare highly talented young musicians towards successful orchestral careers. It was established in 2006 under the guidance of former Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, and is funded by the National Arts Centre Foundation through the National Youth and Education Trust. Apprentices take a seat in regular NAC Orchestra rehearsals and performances, and get private lessons, coaching and mentorship throughout their apprenticeship.

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Joana Carneiro, NACO and the Tanztheater Wuppertal – Pina Bausch dance company

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:32:20 -0500

Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro, a well-travelled artist, talks with Sean Rice about her first time with the Pina Bausch dance company and with the NAC Orchestra, all in the same week in September 2017.

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Chip Hamann's new CD, Canadian Works for Oboe & Piano

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:19:23 -0500

Sean Rice interviewed the NAC Orchestra’s principal oboe Chip Hamann about his new album, a two-disc album that was released in June 2017. It was the first classical recording at the Isabel Bader Centre in Kingston. What a fantastic and incredible hall to record!

The double-cd set is called Canadian Works for Oboe and Piano, a collaboration with Ottawa pianist Fred Lacroix. It all started with John Burge’s Sonata Breve No. 4 for oboe and piano, composed in 2012. Fred Lacroix was also rather instrumental in the creation of this recording. Chip outlines several ideas that contributed to his CD which is available on the Canadian Music Centre’s website.

Sean Rice a interviewé Chip Hamann, hautbois solo de l’Orchestre du CAN, au sujet de son nouvel album, un album à deux disques qui a été publié en juin 2017. Ce fut le premier enregistrement de musique classique au centre Isabel Bader à Kingston. Quelle salle fantastique et incroyable pour un tel enregistrement!

L’ensemble s’intitule Canadian Works for Oboe and Piano, et est une collaboration avec le pianist d’Ottawa Frédéric Lacroix. Le tout a commencé avec la Sonate Breve no 4 pour hautbois et piano de John Burge, composée en 2012. Frédéric Lacroix à eglaement joué un rôle important dans la création de cet enregistrement. Chip souligne plusieurs idées qui ont contribué à son CD, œuvre disponible sur le site web du Centre de musique canadienne.

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Robert Chafe, lyricist for "Heirloom" co-produced with Larysa Kuzmenko

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 17:23:11 -0400

Robert Chafe is a 2010 Governor General Award recipient for his play, Afterimage. His extensive body of work also includes such plays as Place of First Light, Charismatic Death Scenes, Belly Up, Emptygirl, Oil and Water, Butler's Marsh, and Tempting Providence. Butler's Marsh and Tempting Providence also earned Robert a 2004 Governor General Award nomination. Robert is Artistic Director for the company, Artistic Fraud, based in St. John's, and he collaborates quite frequently with our head of English Theatre here at the NAC, fellow Newfoundlander, Jillian Keiley. We are incredibly fortunate that Robert is able to join us today to talk about his work, Heirloom.

The NAC Orchestra and Shallaway Youth Choir performed "Heirloom" by Larysa Kuzmenko and Robert Chafe (based on Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118, No. 2) on April 27, 2017.

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Joel Quarrington and his new album: Schubert "An Die Musik"

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:24:17 -0400

Principal Bassist, Joel Quarrington, joins us to talk about his brand new solo album, Schubert: An die Musik, that he recorded with Canadian pianist, David Jalbert. We discuss his love of the music that he recorded and his album release at this year's Double Bass Convention in Ithaca, NY.

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Ideas of North

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:13:52 -0400

Maestro Alexander Shelley shares his thoughts on the National Arts Centre Orchestra's 2017-18 opening festival of music, Ideas of North - featuring an array of Scandinavian composers and performers, including many of Sibelius' symphonies and tone poems. Principal Guest Conductor, John Storgårds, will perform Kaiji Saariaho's Violin Concerto and Guest Conductor Hannu Lintu joins Maestros Shelley and Storgårds on the podium for the series of concerts.

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ENCOUNT3RS - Creation and Colaboration

Fri, 19 May 2017 15:34:44 -0400

In this bilingual panel discussion on Creation and Collaboration that preceded the world premiere of ENCOUNT3RS (April 20-22, 2017), animator Catherine Clark speaks with the six Canadian artists involved in this historic NAC dance-music commission celebrating Canada 150. Following a discussion between Executive Producer of Dance Cathy Levy and Music Director Alexander Shelley in 2015, choreographer Jean Grand-Maître (Alberta Ballet) and composer Andrew Staniland; choreographer Emily Molnar (Ballet BC) and composer Nicole Lizée; and choreographer Guillaume Côté (The National Ballet of Canada) and composer Kevin Lau were invited to create three new one-act ballets and three original orchestral scores to be performed by the NAC Orchestra under Alexander’s baton. The outcome was an extraordinary dance and music triple bill. The panel conversation centred on the genesis and creative process for each collaboration; the choreographer-composer relationship; the ground-breaking nature of this project; the impact this rare opportunity had on the creators and performers; the role art plays in helping us better understand the world we live in and in bringing us closer together; and the legacy of ENCOUNT3RS. In closing, the artists praised the NAC for commissioning a project of such magnitude and for its unrelenting urge to see it through.

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Soul Stirring Music

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 16:37:22 -0400

Sean Rice and Alexander Shelley talk about the "Soul Stirring Music" coming up in the 2017-2018 season of the NAC Orchestra.

"I am full of anticipation for the NAC Orchestra season ahead and the glorious music that awaits us. We will host some of the finest performers in the world - artists like Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Lang Lang, Angela Hewitt, Stephen Hough, Pinchas Zukerman and John Storgards."

- Alexander Shelley

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A Night of Classical Collisions #TheKiss

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 16:07:55 -0500

In celebration of Beethoven and Schumann – two highly expressive and innovative composers, the NAC Orchestra created an eclectic evening of music, dance and art called Classical Collisions. Fine art inspired graffiti artists while classical music mixed with DJ scratching - and everybody danced.

Artist Anita Kunz, who was commissioned to create the illustration of Beethoven and Schumann in a fraternal kiss loved the concept. “It’s a lovely, warm idea of brotherhood between these two great composers.”

For Music Director Alexander Shelley it was an opportunity to welcome a diverse community of artists to collaborate and create. "It’s absolutely appropriate that we should have other improvisers in the building showing what they do with these themes." explained Shelley.

Classical Collisions was a 21st century interpretation of the free spirited romantic era. And it was a party I’m sure both Beethoven and Schumann would have loved.

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Joel Quarrington and Peter Paul Koprowski's Concertante for Double Bass, Strings and Percussion

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:50:55 -0500

November 16 & 17 was the world-premiere of Peter Paul Koprowski's Concertante for Double Bass, Strings and Percussion, written for and performed by the NAC Orchestra’s own world-class, mega-talented principal double bass Joel Quarrington. Sean talks with Joel about his roots, his training and his career as a double bass player.

Excerpts of Peter Paul Koprowski's Concertante for Double Bass, Strings and Percussion from the NAC Orchestra concert in Southam Hall on November 17, 2016.

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Canadian Brass

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:52:23 -0500

Did you know the Canadian Brass shares founding members with the National Arts Centre Orchestra!? Join Sean Rice in a conversation about the history and future of Canadian Brass with founding member Chuck Daellenbach and newest member Caleb Hudson. Chuck shares stories like filling in with the NAC Orchestra, getting to Carnegie Hall by way of children's concerts, and Caleb talks about possibly the most difficult audition in history.

Musical excerpts are from their spectacular concerts with the NAC Orchestra from November 3-5, 2016.

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Is Classical Music Really Dead?

Tue, 17 May 2016 10:52:07 -0400

The death knell for classical music has been ringing for decades.
Yet many say the music is not only alive, it’s kicking!

Join us for a fascinating, up-close-and-personal conversation with two highly original voices – Alexander Shelley, Music Director of the NAC Orchestra, and Andrew Potter, Editor of the Ottawa Citizen. With special guest Nadia Sirota ,violist and host of WQXR's Q2 Music Meet the Composer podcast.

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Sean Rice chats with Nadia Sirota before the Canadian premiere of Nico Muhly’s Electrifying Viola Concerto

Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:45:04 -0400

Vanguards of the New York indie classical scene, composer Nico Muhly and violist Nadia Sirota embody the meaning of "classical reincarnated" in an electrifying concert.

Nadia Sirota joins Alexander Shelley in the Canadian premiere of Nico Muhly’s Electrifying Viola Concerto. This much anticipated work was commissioned by an international consortium of orchestras and organisations made up of Orquesta Nacionales de España, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Festival of Saint Denis and National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Nadia Sirota’s debut album, First Things First (New Amsterdam Records), was a New York Times 2009 record of the year, and she can also be heard on albums by Grizzly Bear, yMusic (a new music ensemble who commission Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, and other young American composers),Jonsi, the National, Ratatat, Doveman, My Brightest Diamond, and Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning The Suburbs.

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Exploring the works of Richard Strauss with Alexander Shelley

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 11:18:32 -0400

Nick talks to Alexander Shelley about his plan to perform, over the next several seasons, the works of one of his favourite composers, Richard Strauss. The orchestra begins next week with performances of Don Juan and Death and Transfiguration.

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Sean Rice takes you inside the music of the All-Canadian Wolfgang Session Number 5

Fri, 15 Jan 2016 17:26:19 -0500

Sean Rice is back with another special “all-Canadian WolfGANG” edition of the NACOcast! This time, Sean interviews Canadian composer Andrew Staniland in advance of the world premiere of the NAC-commissioned arrangement of his work The Beauty of Reason for bass clarinet and harp. The rest of the program features music by composers from the Great White North including Marjan Mozetich and Vivian Fung, whose music is inspired by music from other parts of the world, as well as music from Elizabeth Raum and Montrealer Samy Moussa. You’ll be amazed by the talent in this country.

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Humour in Music

Tue, 08 Dec 2015 12:28:56 -0500

Looking at the lighter side of the classics, with selections from Mozart, Rossini and others. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf appears for the first time on the same playbill as Spike Jones.

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Special Edition: Sean Rice, 2nd clarinetist with the NAC orchestra, interviews Bryce Dessner

Thu, 19 Nov 2015 11:18:07 -0500

WolfGANG is back! He’s got a new bowtie, and he’s ready to get his groove on. Come to the Mercury Lounge to hear works by the great Philip Glass, Montrealer Analia Llugdar, and Bryce Dessner (you might know him from The National). This music is sure to take the chill out of the air.
Presented with Mercury Lounge, in partnership with the Arboretum Festival, The WolfGANG Sessions push classical music out of its comfort zone. The music mixes contemporary and indie classical with exciting collaborations between NAC Orchestra musicians, video projection artists and DJs. Get ready to hear “classical music” at Mercury Lounge in a whole new way. It’s music with a wild side.

Philip Glass: String Quartet No. 5
Analia Lludgar: Luz for violin and cello
Johannes Maria Staud: Black Moon for bass clarinet
Bryce Dessner: Aheym for string quartet

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Sound the Trumpet

Mon, 16 Nov 2015 15:12:27 -0500

Nick asks: What does it take to play in an orchestral trumpet section? NACO trumpeters Karen Donnelly and Steven Van Gulik explain.

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Canadian Voices

Tue, 13 Oct 2015 17:49:25 -0400

Canadian voices. Nick takes a look at three iconic Canadian singers from the past: Lois Marshall, Leopold Simoneau and James Milligan, all of whom deserve a place in the pantheon of vocal art.


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Who's Afraid of Anton Bruckner?

Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:52:07 -0400

Nick, Carissa Klopoushak and Sean Rice discuss the music of this frequently under-appreciated composer, as the NAC Orchestra prepares a performance of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony.

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Green and Pleasant Land

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:23:55 -0400

Nick presents some of his favourite pieces of music inspired by the English countryside. Music by Vaughan-Williams, Britten, Stanford and others, including a performance by Pinchas Zukerman of The Lark Ascending.

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Eric Friesen Presents his talk "Orchestral Schmorgesborg"

Tue, 10 Mar 2015 14:25:40 -0400

Eric Friesen presents "Orchestral Schmorgesborg", a preconcert talk about the February 19 - 20, 2015 NAC Orchestra Concert "Søndergård Conducts Sibelius".

Major works by Sibelius and Beethoven anchor this concert: Thomas Søndergård’s interpretation of Sibelius’s symphonic masterpiece will enthrall you with its Nordic grandeur; and Beethoven’s high-spirited Second, though composed at a time of deep despair over his increasing deafness, already foreshadows the energy and originality we think of as quintessential Beethoven.

Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter (“a remarkable talent” ~ Chicago Classical Review) joins the NAC Orchestra as soloist in Haydn’s jaunty D Major Concerto.

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Alexander Shelley and the 2015/2016 NAC Orchestra Season

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:32:43 -0500

Nick speaks with Alexander Shelley, Music Director, about the 2015/2016 NAC Orchestra Season. Alexander Shelley was appointed Music Director-designate of Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra in October 2013 and will take up the position of Music Director in September 2015. In 2015 he enters his seventh year as Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra where he has transformed the orchestra’s playing, education work and touring activities which have included tours to Italy, Belgium, China and a re-invitation to the Musikverein in Vienna. In January 2015 Shelley was named Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he will curate and perform a series of concerts at Cadogan Hall each season. Born in the UK in 1979, Alexander first gained widespread attention when he was unanimously awarded first prize at the 2005 Leeds Conductors Competition and was described as "the most exciting and gifted young conductor to have taken this highly prestigious award. His conducting technique is immaculate, everything crystal clear and a tool to his inborn musicality." Since then he has been in demand from orchestras around the world including the Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Stockholm Philharmonic, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, DSO Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Simon Bolivar, Seattle and Houston Symphony Orchestras. Further afield Alexander is a regular guest with the top Asian and Australasian orchestras. Recent press has singled him out as "a musician of considerable gifts and extraordinarily impressive interpretative qualities" (Strauss, Elgar and Sibelius in London), a conductor with "exceptional artistic authority" (Brahms with DSO Berlin) and described his Verdi Requiem in Salzburg as an "original, intelligent, thoroughly convincing and well-crafted interpretation". Alexander’s operatic engagements have included The Merry Widow and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet for Royal Danish Opera; La Bohème for Opera Lyra at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Iolanta with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Cosi fan tutte in Montpellier and a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for Opera North in 2015. Alongside his regular appearances in London, Ottawa and Nuremberg, the 2014/15 season and beyond includes return visits to, among others, the DSO Berlin, Gothenburg Symphony, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Melbourne Symphony and NDR Radio Philharmonic as well as his debuts with Camerata Salzburg, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg and Oslo Philharmonic. His first recording for Deutsche Grammophon, an album with Daniel Hope and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, was released in September 2014. In Germany Alexander enjoys a close relationship with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, with whom he performs regularly both in subscriptions in Bremen, and around Germany, and in October 2013 he took the orchestra on tour to Italy with a signature programme of Strauss, Wagner and Brahms. He is artistic director of their Zukunftslabor project - an award-winning series which aims to build a lasting relationship between the orchestra and a new generation of concert-goers through grass-roots engagement and which uses music as a source for social cohesion and integration. The son of professional musicians, inspiring future generations of m[...]

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WolfGANG: Ryan Lott (Son Lux)

Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:25:17 -0500

In this Special Edition of the NACOcast, guest host Sean Rice interviews Ryan Lott (Son Lux) for the February 14, 2015 WolfGANG show at the Mercury lounge.

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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: A retrospective view

Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:03:03 -0500

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: A retrospective view. Nick traces the career of one of his favourite singers, born a hundred years ago, in works by Mozart, Schubert, Strauss and others.

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Handel's Messiah with Christopher Millard

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:54:44 -0500

The NACOcast's perennial holiday favourite is back! Curl up by the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy Christopher Millard's thirty minute guided tour of Handel's Messiah.

Read more about Handel at and listen to entire pieces for free at

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Nick speaks with conductor, Michael Francis, and National Youth Orchestra director Barbara Smith

Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:33:15 -0500

Nick's guest this week is conductor, Michael Francis, in town to conduct the NAC Orchestra. Michael will be leading the National Youth Orchestra of Canada next summer. NYOC director Barbara Smith joins the conversation.

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The Great War and Canada: An Interview with Margaret MacMillan

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:46:49 -0400

As a prelude to the NAC Orchestra's UK Tour -- a tour of commemoration and remembrance -- Nick speaks with renowned historian Margaret MacMillan about Canada and its role in the First World War.

Prof MacMillan, is an historian and professor at the University of Oxford, where she is Warden of St Antony's College. She is former provost of Trinity College, professor of history at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. A leading expert on history and international relations, MacMillan is a frequent commentator in the media. []

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WW I: A Personal Journey

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:37:56 -0400

Nick shares his impressions of the First World War through his own family memories, interspersed with some of the popular music of the time.
The Regimental March of the PPCLI is performed by the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Musical Excerpts:

Regimental March - Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Roses of Picardy - Wood-Weatherly
Keep the Home Fires Burning - Novello
Keep Right on to the End of the Road - Harry Lauder
The Parable of the Old Man and the Young - Wilfred Owen

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Shakespeare, Stravinsky and Alexander Shelley

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:40:12 -0400

In this final NACOcast episode of the season, Nick talks to NAC Orchestra Music Director Designate Alexander Shelley about the two programmes he is conducting next season. [Music excerpt: Carlo Maria Giulini - Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Stravinsky - The Firebird (Suite, 1919 version), Finale - Angel SFO-36039] See you in September!

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Jon Kimura Parker on Mendelssohn

Fri, 04 Jul 2014 08:22:08 -0400

Guest host Frank Dans, Interim Artistic Administrator for the NAC Orchestra, interviews Jon Kimura Parker for the "Parker Plays Mendelssohn" concerts from February 5-6, 2014. Inspired by his sunny sojourn in Italy (and a brief infatuation with a young pianist), Mendelssohn composed an equally unclouded piano concerto, brimming with free-flowing lyrical lines and opportunities for displays of virtuosity by NAC Orchestra favourite Jon Kimura Parker. Schumann presented his Fourth Symphony to his beloved wife on her 22nd birthday, saying it contained her portrait in a melody he called the “Clara” theme. Listen for it, woven like a shimmering thread throughout the work. To begin the concert, re-enter Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer’s evocative musical landscape.

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Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 with Eric Friesen

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:06:15 -0400

Guest host Eric Friesen, writer and broadcaster, presents his pre-concert chat entitled, "Schumann’s Fourth Symphony: From Darkness to Light”.

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The NAC Orchestra's Institute for Orchestral Studies

Wed, 28 May 2014 15:16:20 -0400

The four apprentices in the NAC Orchestra's Institute for Orchestral Studies — violinist Sunny Shi, violist Kayleigh Miller, cellist Zhou Fang and bassist Nate Martin, plus former apprentice Emily Westell — were the guests for the pre-concert talk of November 14. The young musicians spoke about their experiences in the IOS, NACO's tour of China, and they performed movements from Mozart's “Divertimento" and Vivian Fung’s “Pizzicato".

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"Fate Lurks, but Tunes Triumph" with guest host Eric Friesen

Mon, 28 Apr 2014 08:27:34 -0400

In this episode, guest host Eric Friesen, writer and broadcaster, presents his pre-concert chat entitled, "Fate Lurks, but Tunes Triumph”.

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Brahms Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, with guest host Paul Wells

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 09:31:56 -0400

Guest host Paul Wells, political editor of Maclean's magazine, presents a program entitled, "Brahms Between Yesterday and Tomorrow."

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Drums along the Rideau

Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:35:09 -0400

Percussion playing is not just a matter of indiscriminate crashing and banging. NAC Orchestra percussionists Jon Wade and Ken Simpson explain the finer points of playing in an orchestral percussion section. It's MUCH more complicated than you think!

Tchaikovsky - 4th Symphony
Rimsky-Korssakoff - Capriccio espagnol Op. 34
Arturo Sandoval - Conga
Leonard Bernstein - Mambo
Tchaikovsky - Marché Slav Op. 31

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Operatic Athletes (Part 2)

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 17:28:41 -0400

Nick continues his discussion of some of the great "gold medal" singers of the past.

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Operatic Athletes (Part 1)

Mon, 27 Jan 2014 17:28:22 -0500

On the eve of the 2014 Olympic winter games, Nick shares his enthusiasm for some of the great singers of the past.

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The Oboe - Beyond the 'A'

Mon, 16 Dec 2013 08:26:49 -0500

Beyond the 'A' : Everything you need to know about the oboe, with Charles 'Chip' Hamman and Anna Peterson Sterns.

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Shostakovich and music in Soviet Russia

Mon, 09 Dec 2013 09:31:55 -0500

Recorded on location in Toronto as the Orchestra makes its annual appearance at Roy Thomson Hall, Nick talks to NAC Orchestra violinist Lev Berenshteyn about Shostakovich's 10th Symphony and music composed in the shadow of Stalin.

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China Tour Remembered

Fri, 15 Nov 2013 15:18:30 -0500

Nick gives an insider's view of the NAC Orchestra's recent China tour, which included a performance in a giant egg and a walk along the Great Wall.

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Spanish Music

Tue, 01 Oct 2013 03:51:33 -0400

In this first episode of a new season of NACOcasts, host Nick Atkinson examines some of the influences on Spanish music as it has developed and travelled around the world.

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The Slavic Bass

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 14:58:42 -0400

In this last edition of this season of the NACOcast, Nick gives us the lowdown on Eastern Europe with The Slavic Bass … He explores the curious fact that Slavic countries tend to produce excellent tenors.

Music in this episode:

Epistle to the Romans - Liturgical Music from the Russian Cathedral
Dinev: The Judicious Villain - Music from the Slavonic Orthodox Liturgy
Borodin: Khan Konchak's Aria - Chaliapin: Great Scenes from Boris Godunov
Rimsky-Korsakov: Song of the Viking Guest - Chaliapin: Great Scenes from Boris Godunov
Mozart: Don Giovanni, Madamina! il catalogo è questo - Boris Christoff: Opera Arias
Ariodante: Al sen ti stringo e parto - Alexander Kipnis
Mozart: La Flûte Enchantée, acte 2: In diesen heiligen Hallen - Alexander Kipnis
Brahms: Sapphische Ode, Op. 94, No. 4 - Alexander Kipnis
Brahms: Vier Ernste Gesaenge, Op. 121 No. 3, Oh Tod, o Tod, wie bitter bist du - Alexander Kipnis

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Maestro Mario Bernardi remembered (2006 Interview)

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 08:05:56 -0400

The National Arts Centre mourns the loss of Maestro Mario Bernardi, the founding conductor of the NAC Orchestra. Maestro Bernardi passed away peacefully in Toronto on June 2. In this episode of the NACOcast we pay tribute to the great music director by reprising a previous edition of the NACOcast featuring an interview conducted by Christopher Millard at the maestro's home in Toronto in 2006.

A conductor, and accomplished pianist, Mario Bernardi was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario in 1930. He moved to Italy when he was six years old with his mother, living in the small city of Treviso, near Venice, where they remained throughout the war.

He studied at the Venice Conservatory and excelled in the keyboard instruments of piano and harpsichord. A man of many musical talents, he was considered among the best of Canada’s promising young musicians emerging in the postwar period—a group that included Glenn Gould.

He began his professional career with the Royal Conservatory Opera School in Toronto. He first began to conduct in his mid-twenties at the Canadian Opera Company. In 1963, he moved to London, England where he was recruited by the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company (now the English National Opera). He served as Music Director of Sadler’s Wells before being enticed back to Canada to become the founding conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada from 1968-1982.

From the original podcast show notes: As a tribute to Walter Prystawski, the NAC Orchestra's founding concertmaster who is retiring after 37 years at the first desk, Christopher talks to founding NACO music director Mario Bernardi as well as three of Walter's original orchestra colleagues. The conversations touch on the core classical repertoire of the orchestra, NACO's signature sound and the critical role Walter Prystawski played in shaping that sound.

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The Noble Trombone

Thu, 30 May 2013 09:36:12 -0400

Nick talks to National Arts Centre Orchestra principal trombone player Don Renshaw about the various musical roles played by the orchestral trombonist.

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The Strange Case of Antonio Salieri with author Ian Kyer (free ebook included)

Mon, 08 Apr 2013 12:15:34 -0400

Antonio Salieri was a successful composer, who wrote about forty operas; he was an excellent teacher, whose students included Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt, and he was, for a time, the most powerful musician at the Vienna court of the Habsburgs. He lived from 1750-1825 – not bad going if you think of Mozart, Schubert, Chopin and Mendelssohn, all of whom died young, but not so impressive if you consider the enduring fame of the composers who lived only half as long. Salieri, if he is remembered at all nowadays, is best known for his association with Mozart, and, most especially, as a suspect in Mozart’s death.

In this edition of the NACOcast, Nick talks to Ian Kyer, whose book on Salieri shows that the oft-maligned composer deserves a lot more respect! And as a very special bonus for NACOcast listeners, Ian Kyer has graciously allowed us to make available the full text of his novel as a downloadable PDF. Get it here:


Music is this edition of the NACOcast:

Armida: Aria of Armida: "Tremo, dell'idol mio"
Artist: Chen Reiss, L'arte Del Mondo, Werner Ehrhardt
Album: Liasions
Composer: Antonio Salieri

La Fiera Di Venezia - Vi Sono Sposa E Amante
Artist: Cecilia Bartoli; Adám Fischer: Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment
Album: The Salieri Album
Composer: Antonio Salieri

Les Danaïdes - Act 2: Par Les Larmes Dont Votre Fille
Artist: Mojca Erdmann; Andrea Marcon: La Cetra
Album: Mozart's Garden
Composer: Antonio Salieri

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Scottish Folk Songs, Haydn, Beethoven and Robbie Burns

Mon, 04 Feb 2013 08:52:55 -0500

Inspired by Robert Burns's Birthday on January 25, Nick presents a selection of Scottish folk songs in arrangements by Haydn, Beethoven and others.

Featured music in this episode:

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - Maggy Lauder
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - O köstliche Zeit
Lois Marshall - The Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond
Lois Marshall - The Cockle Gatherer
Isobel Baillie & Kathleen Ferrier - Comin' through the rye
Kathleen Ferrier - Ca' the yowes
Kenneth McKellar - Afton Water
Kenneth McKellar - Ae fond kiss
Kenneth McKellar - My love is like a red, red rose

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Around the Horn

Mon, 28 Jan 2013 09:50:37 -0500

Nick talks about how French horn playing has developed over the years with his colleagues in the horn section of the NAC Orchestra.

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Paul Wells Interviews Alexina Louie

Tue, 15 Jan 2013 08:32:48 -0500

Paul Wells speaks with Canadian Composer Alexina Louie about her work, "Take The Dogsled", and touring Canada's North with the NAC Orchestra.

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George Gershwin, with Jack Everly

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 12:20:07 -0500

Fascinating Rhythm: Nick talks to Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly about the works of George Gershwin and his role in the development of American music.

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Eric Friesen and Pinchas Zukerman on Elgar's Violin Concerto

Thu, 15 Nov 2012 07:44:37 -0500

Eric Friesen, acclaimed author, speaker and broadcaster sits down with Maestro Pinchas Zukerman to discuss playing Elgar's Violin Concerto.

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Touring and Inuit Throat Singing in Canada's Arctic

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 16:10:52 -0400

In this edition of the NACOcast, founding host, Chris Millard reprises his role with the NACOcast while on tour with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Cananda’s North. Chris is joined by Inuit throat singers Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik. They discuss throat singing history and technique ... and its intersection with Western classical music in Canadian composer Alexina’s work, “Take the Dog Sled”, currently being performed by the NAC Orchestra in Nunuvat, the Northwest Territories and the the Yukon.

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The Art of Tito Schipa: A Vocal Approach to Brass Playing

Mon, 22 Oct 2012 09:21:48 -0400

Nick's back with a brand new episode. In this edition of the NACOcast, Nick explores what brass players and singers have in common. He uses one of the great turn-of-the-century opera singers, Tito Schipa, to show how vocal techniques can be applied to playing brass instruments.

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Robert Harris on "Beethoven The Revolutionary"

Tue, 09 Oct 2012 07:42:38 -0400

Guest host Robert Harris, author and CBC host, speaks on "Beethoven The Revolutionary".

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Paul Kennedy: "What was Beethoven thinking?"

Mon, 01 Oct 2012 16:24:02 -0400

"Two Fifths": Paul Kennedy, host of CBC's Ideas, looks at Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto and Fifth Symphony and asks, "What was Beethoven thinking?"

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Robert Harris on "Brahms The Progressive"

Thu, 27 Sep 2012 14:32:13 -0400

Guest host Robert Harris, author and CBC host, speaks on "Brahms The Progressive".

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La Bohème with Alexander Shelley

Mon, 17 Sep 2012 11:51:11 -0400

Nick sits down with Alexander Shelley to discuss the state of opera, in particular, La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini, Shelley's youth and inspiration to become an opera conductor.

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In Memoriam: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Tue, 04 Sep 2012 11:19:54 -0400

In Memoriam: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Nick pays tribute to the great German baritone, who died earlier this year.

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"Low Notes"

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 09:48:30 -0400

Nick sits down with Joel Quarrington (double bass), Chris Millard (bassoon), and Jonathan Wade (timpani) to discuss the bass sections of the orchestra. They discuss the importance of the "low notes" in balancing out the melody and giving body to the works.

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The Leading Note Foundation and El Sistema

Thu, 24 May 2012 08:42:03 -0400

Nick Atkinson talks to Margaret Munro Tobolowska and Tina Fedeski about The Leading Note Foundation, a music education program in Ottawa based on Venezuela's El Sistema

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"The English Parlour Song Revisited"

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 13:30:49 -0400

In a program entitled, "Come into the Garden, Maud", host Nick Atkinson revisits the English parlour song.

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"From Band to Orchestra"

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:18:11 -0400

Host Nick Atkinson (tuba) talks with his NAC Orchestra colleagues Karen Donnelly (trumpet) and Doug Burden (trombone) about musicians who make the transition from bands to orchestras.

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Chris hands off to Nick

Sat, 03 Mar 2012 11:35:27 -0500

After more than 60 episodes over 5 seasons, NACOcast founding host, Christopher Millard officially hands over the hosting duties for the NAC's premiere podcast series to Nicholas Atkinson, NAC Orchestra principal tuba, avid record collector and opera buff. Join us in thanking Christopher for 5 stellar years as host and welcoming Nick to his first NACOcast episode.

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Maestro Trevor Pinnock

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 13:45:24 -0500

Guest host Charles "Chip" Hamann, NAC Orchestra Principal Oboe, in conversation with Maestro Trevor Pinnock, on the occasion of his latest visit to the National Arts Centre.

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Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer on "Happiness" in music

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 07:59:52 -0500

In contrast to his defiant First Symphony, Brahms turned to an overall feeling of cheerfulness for his Symphony No. 2, a subtle work that displays the brilliance of the master composer. With lilting melodies and uplifting harmonies, Brahms’s work will remain with you days after the performance. After a stunning NAC debut in fall 2010, young Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen is back by popular demand, joining the NAC Orchestra for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, a work often referred to as the Elvira Madigan Concerto after its limpid sounds were used in the popular 1967 Swedish film of the same title.

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Trevor Pinnock interviewed by Eric Friesen

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 13:52:11 -0500

In this first of two interviews with Trevor Pinnock, writer and broadcaster Eric Friesen speaks with Maestro Pinnock about Handel's Messiah.

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Susan Knight, from St. John's NL

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 11:11:40 -0500

Christopher, on tour with the NAC Orchestra in St. John's, interviews Susan Knight, founding director of Newfoundland's world-renowned Shallaway choir. Among the many themes explored in this edition of the NACOcast is the fundamental importance of music education.

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Paul Wells and Thomas Dausgaard explore Sibelius No. 1

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 07:15:44 -0400

Canadian journalist Paul Wells explores Sibelius' Symphony No 1 in conversation with acclaimed conductor Maestro Thomas Dausgaard.

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William Littler

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 07:36:56 -0400

Italy was the programatic theme of the NACO concerts and pre-concert talks of October 6 & 7. "Capriccio Italien" was the title of talks which paired William Littler, the erudite music critic of the Toronto Star, with the ebullient theatre expert and classical music buff Paul Lefebvre. It was a most enjoyable romp through the musical landscape of Italy guided by this virtuoso duo.

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"The Trumpet Shall Sound"

Mon, 02 May 2011 14:35:52 -0400

A talented student trumpet player suffers a serious lip injury. In this edition of the NACOcast, Christopher follows the struggle to recover and explores the dangers facing eager young virtuosi.

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Rob Kapilow

Tue, 29 Mar 2011 09:43:08 -0400

This week, Marjolaine Fournier caught up with conductor, composer, commentator and broadcaster, Rob Kapilow in his dressing room at the NAC. They talked about what makes music great, and what makes for great music.

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Jonathan Biss, Pinchas Zukerman - Beethoven's Spring Sonata

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 09:48:57 -0500

It may still be winter in Ottawa, but as the days get longer Christopher gets more hopeful. A little Beethoven always helps! Jonathan Biss visits the NAC's Hexagon studio to discuss the Spring Sonata. The show concludes with a complete performance of this sunny masterpiece with Pinchas Zukerman and Jonathan Biss recorded live in the bitter cold of February.

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On Antonio Salieri with Ian Kyer

Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:37:27 -0500

We all remember Antonio Salieri as portrayed by F. Murray Abraham in Peter Shaffer's Oscar-winning film, Amadeus. Was the historical Salieri obsessively envious of Mozart? Did he kill him? In this edition of the NACOcast, Christopher speaks with Ian Kyer on the music, life, and mythology of Antonio Salieri.

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Guest host: Robert Harris

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 15:41:25 -0500

The CBC’s Robert Harris began his career in broadcasting in Ottawa many years ago, and we were very happy to bring him ‘home’ as a guest speaker during the Mozart-Haydn Festival. Robert literally took a page from his book "How to Listen to Mozart" in his pre-concert talk of the same title.  It was standing room only in the NAC’s Salon on September 29th as Robert guided patrons through the lexicon of Mozart’s style and development in his short life.

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Guest host: Paul Kennedy

Fri, 05 Nov 2010 17:34:39 -0400

For those many faithful listeners of CBC's Ideas, you know producer and host Paul Kennedy to be as entertaining as he is enlightening. And he was every bit of that in his pre-concert talk of September 24th at the NAC. His theme was “Amadeus: Fiction, Art and Truth”. I think you’ll enjoy his debunking the many myths of Mozart’s life, and you just might learn something new about Mr. Mozart as well.

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Guest host: Paul Wells

Thu, 21 Oct 2010 11:20:20 -0400

Author and Maclean's magazine columnist Paul Wells was invited to open the NAC Orchestra's Mozart-Haydn Festival on September 22nd on its Musically-Speaking Series of pre-concerts talks.

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Fri, 01 Oct 2010 09:18:33 -0400

The show is taken over by some of Christopher's students in this fun and informative edition of the NACOcast

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"To Repeat, or not to Repeat" (with Leonard Slatkin)

Mon, 03 May 2010 11:10:31 -0400

Christopher speaks with the distinguished conductor Leonard Slatkin about the problem of repeats in Schubert.
The conversation focuses on his Ninth Symphony, The Great C Major, with a careful examination of the exquisite Andante Con Moto.

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"On The Spot"

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 12:02:25 -0500

Two conductors, twenty questions. In this episode, Christopher puts conductors Andrew Grams and James Gaffigan to the test with some challenging questions for aspiring maestros.

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"Practice Makes Perfect"

Mon, 08 Feb 2010 09:50:55 -0500

In this episode, Christopher ponders the concept of deep practice and how successful musicians use intelligent repetition to build their skills.

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"Measuring Time"

Wed, 04 Nov 2009 15:09:31 -0500

Christopher has been thinking about metronomes. Here he discusses the history of that irritating but essential device, and talks with NACO guest conductor Alexander Shelley about Maelzel, Beethoven and the challenges of the metronome for modern conductors.

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Dvořàk (reprise)

Tue, 06 Oct 2009 13:49:29 -0400

In preparation for our new season of NACOcasts ... and to celebrate the the National Art Centre's 40th anniversary this week. We offer you this reprise edition of the very first NACOcast from February 20, 2006, featuring, as the Orchestra did 40 years ago, Dvořàk.

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NAC Orchestra 2009/10 Season Preview

Tue, 02 Jun 2009 14:40:11 -0400

Christopher takes you on an hour-long exploration of the NAC Orchestra's recently announced 2009-2010 season, complete with musical excerpts from the NAC Orchestra audio archives and Naxos Canada.

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Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin

Tue, 31 Mar 2009 17:49:47 -0400

Bringing Onegin to Life. With insights from philosopher Isaiah Berlin and a wide ranging conversation with tenor Richard Troxell and stage manager Joseph Bascetta, this episode explores Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin. Opera Lyra Ottawa's production of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece opens April 4.

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NACO Artistic Administrator, Daphne Burt

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 09:52:53 -0400

In this second in a series of podcasts which will look at the business and administration of symphony orchestras, NACOcast host Christopher Millard talks with Daphne Burt, artistic administrator of the NAC Orchestra.

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NACO librarians, Margo and Greg Hodgson

Mon, 07 Jan 2013 14:30:20 -0500

In this first in a series of podcasts which will look at the business and administration of symphony orchestras, NACOcast host Christopher Millard talks with husband-and-wife team Margo and Greg Hodgson, principal librarian and assistant principal librarian of the NAC Orchestra, about the complexities of their profession, and their life together in music.

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James Gaffigan and Beethoven Symphony no. 1

Mon, 24 Nov 2008 15:55:17 -0500

This week's episode of the NACOcast looks at Beethoven's First Symphony. American conductor James Gaffigan is Christopher's guest. Chris and James analyze the harmonies employed in the introduction of the first movement and continue with a discussion of the sonata form.

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"Do we need Conductors?" (reprise)

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 08:37:17 -0500

While the NAC Orchestra is on tour in Western Canada ( we offer you, by popular demand, a repeat of one of our most downloaded NACOcast editions to date: "Do we need Conductors?" Ever wonder about the role of the conductor? This week we bring you a presentation made by Chris Millard to members of the NAC Orchestra Association as part of the "Behind the Music" discussion series.

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NACOcast LIVE! The Violin and The Voice

Wed, 22 Oct 2008 08:49:59 -0400

Live from Southam Hall at Canada's National Arts Centre, Christopher talks with Pinchas Zukerman and Arianna Zukerman about the voice as instrument, and the instrument as voice.

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"Figuring Out Figaro"

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 22:59:56 -0400

In this episode, Christopher speaks with Opera Lyra Ottawa's Artistic Director Tyrone Paterson, Conductor Christoph Campestrini and mezzo-soprano Marion Newman about the new production of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro. The conversation focuses on the personalities of each of the principal characters, their place in the social strata of their time and how Mozart's music so brilliantly captures their individual human experience.

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On Hearing

Tue, 08 Jul 2008 08:42:03 -0400

Christopher explores hearing, and the loss thereof, as it relates to orchestral musicians and audiences in general.

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"A Prophetic Conversation"

Mon, 09 Jun 2008 15:39:30 -0400

Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony is one of the great works of programmatic music in the orchestral repertoire. Christopher examines the thoughtful insights of musicologist Owen Jander in a study of the second movement, Scene by the Brook.

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"Clown of the Orchestra"

Wed, 14 May 2008 20:19:46 -0400

Christopher discusses primates, brontosauri and other musical influences in a wide ranging examination of his favourite orchestral instrument.

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Andrew Litton (encore)

Fri, 09 May 2008 11:26:00 -0400

Conductor Andrew Litton returns to lead the NAC Orchestra on May 14-15. Here is an encore presentation of the wide-ranging chat that NACOcast host Christopher Millard had with the Grammy Award-winning conductor on his last visit to the NAC in January 2007.

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NAC Orchestra 2008/09 Season Preview

Thu, 27 Mar 2008 09:44:37 -0400

Christopher takes you on an hour-long exploration of the NAC Orchestra's recently announced 2008-2009 season, complete with musical excerpts from the NAC Orchestra audio archives and Naxos Canada.

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Strauss Oboe Concerto with Charles Hamann

Fri, 18 Jan 2008 00:00:00 -0500

In this first NACOcast of 2008, Christopher focuses on Richard Strauss' Oboe Concerto with special guest Charles Hamann, principal oboe, National Arts Centre Orchestra.

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Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto with Jon Kimura Parker

Fri, 14 Dec 2007 08:46:47 -0500

Christopher's guest is the ebullient Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker, a virtuoso star who is also known for his outgoing personality and cheerful sense of humour. Jackie and Christopher discuss Beethoven's "Emperor" Piano Concerto No. 5.

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A Messiah Reprise

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 15:34:52 -0500

By popular demand ... In this very special NACOcast presentation, Christopher takes us on a 30-minute guided tour of that holiday perennial, Handel's Messiah.

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The World Orchestra for Peace

Wed, 07 Nov 2007 20:27:06 -0500

As Remembrance Day approaches here in Canada, Christopher looks at The World Orchestra for Peace in a programme that first aired on CBC Radio in 2003. "The World Orchestra for Peace is an expression of harmony on all levels. It was founded in 1995 by Sir Georg Solti to reaffirm, in his words, 'the unique strength of music as an ambassador for peace'. Its players come from orchestras all over the world, many of them concert masters and section leaders in their own right, and the orchestra has no existence outside the very special occasions that call it into being."

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