Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra heads to U.K. for remembrance tour

Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra heads to London to perform 5 concerts across the U.K. marking 100 years since the beginning of the First World War.

5-city tour marks 100 years since the beginning of the First World War

Musical director Pinchas Zukerman is seen conducting the National Arts Centre Orchestra in October. The NACO's forthcoming U.K. tour, under the patronage of Charles, Prince of Wales, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. (Dwayne Brown/NACO)

Members of Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) are heading to the United Kingdom from Ottawa today, marking the unofficial start of a special remembrance tour.

Over the next two weeks, 70 members of the orchestra, under the baton of music director and violin virtuoso, Pinchas Zukerman, will play five U.K. cities commemorating the start of the First World War.

Dates include:

  • Edinburgh - Oct. 23
  • Nottingham  - Oct. 25
  • London  - Oct. 27
  • Bristol ​ - Oct. 30

The tour also aims to use music as a force for healing and remembrance.

"A live concert experience brings you extraordinary energy," said maestro ​Zukerman in a statement. "It can be a major life experience. With music, you can reach the depths of human experience.”

Historical highlight

The highlight of the tour will take place in Salisbury, England on Oct. 29th when the orchestra will offer a concert in the city's famed Salisbury Cathedral. The 755-year-old church is home to Britain's tallest spire, contains the world's oldest working clock (from AD 1386) and has the best-preserved original copy of the Magna Carta.

It is also near to the site where, exactly one hundred years ago this month, the first wave of Canadian soldiers bound for war in France spent months training —  including Canadian soldier, physician and poet John McCrae who is best known for writing the iconic war poem, In Flanders Fields.

Remembrance through education

As with the NACO's past national and international tours, the orchestra's players will also participate in dozens of educational and outreach activities — including master classes, workshops, coaching sessions and classes — with local student musicians.

Prince Charles, a devoted classical music fan, will serve as royal patron for the 10-day tour. He will also attend a special concert in London that will see the NACO join with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on stage.

Together they'll perform masterpieces by Vaughan Williams and Beethoven, including his 9th Symphony, Ode to Joy.

The CBC is planning extensive coverage of the tour on radio and television.

The National Arts Centre’s Concert at the Salisbury Cathedral on October 29th will be broadcast on CBC Radio 2 o​n Nov​. 9th and 11th and featured on CBC Television as part of its Remembrance Day coverage. An hour-long broadcast of the Salisbury Cathedral concert will be broadcast by CBC Television during the holiday season in December. 

The NACO's U.K. tour takes place Oct. 22-30.


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