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Zukerman performs with Perlman at opening of NACO season

The National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa has announced a 2008-9 season featuring appearances by Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta and Radu Lupu and a gala with special guest Tony Bennett.

The National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa has announced a 2008-2009 season featuring appearances by Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta and Radu Lupu, and a gala with special guest Tony Bennett.

Itzhak Perlman on violin, left, performs with Pinchas Zukerman on viola. They will play some Mozart together to open the NACO season. ((National Arts Centre))

Bennett, 81, will perform with his quartet at the Oct. 4 gala, organized as a benefit for the National Youth and Education Trust. The NAC Orchestra, conducted by Pinchas Zukerman, also will perform.

The NACO season, Zuckerman's 10th as music director, begins in September with a Mozart Brahms Festival that includes a children's performance of The Magic Flute and a choral performance of Mozart's Requiem.

Zukerman will play viola alongside Perlman on violin, in a performance of Mozart's Duo for violin and viola, and other Mozart and Brahms selections.

Internationally renowned Mehta will conduct the NAC Orchestra in his debut with the Ottawa orchestra as part of the same program.

The season includes a mix of pop performances, with appearances by artists such as Neil Sedaka, with classical favourites, such as Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 and a Haydn celebration.

The NAC Orchestra also plans to add to its repertoire with first-ever performances of the Saint-Saëns "Organ" Symphony No. 3, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade and Brahms's German Requiem.

Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer has been commissioned to create a new work for the orchestra in honour of his 75th birthday. The work will have its world premiere in 2009.

Soprano Measha Brueggergosman is to appear with the NAC Orchestra in Berlioz Les nuits d'été. ((National Arts Centre))

New work has also been commissioned from young Canadian composer Scott Good, a graduate of the NAC Young Composers program.

Other high-profile guests planned for the season:

  • Canadian violinist James Ehnes performing the Korngold Violin Concerto, the same music for which he just won a Grammy Award.
  • Pianist Yefim Bronfman performing Rachmaninov's 3rd Concerto, made infamous in the movie Shine.
  • Percussion soloist Evelyn Glennie, performing Tripleplay, a NAC co-commission written for her by composer John Corigliano.
  • Soprano Measha Brueggergosman performing Berlioz's Les nuits d'été.

Both the Vancouver Symphony and the Toronto Symphony will be appearing in Ottawa as part of the season.

The TSO performs annually, but the VSO is visiting for the first time since 1976.

The NACO also plans an 18-date tour of Western Canada with Pinchas Zukerman as a soloist and performances by pianist Jon Kimura Parker.

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