NAC orchestra’s long reach

“We have ‘National’ in front of our name,” says Douglas Burden over the phone, explaining why the National Arts Centre Orchestra would pick its entire self up in Ottawa and travel to the Yukon.

The bass trombonist, who has played with the orchestra since 1972, says the NAC’s music director has stressed outreach and education since he took over in 1998.

That would be Pinchas Zukerman, one of the top string players in the world, who will travel with the orchestra to conduct and even solo on the violin in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3.

The main event will be at the Yukon Arts Centre Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m., with a pre-concert lobby performance.

Unfortunately, the performance is sold out.

But Whitehorse Concerts has arranged for a student matinée led by the NAC Orchestra’s principal youth and family conductor, Boris Brott.

The matinée, called Bravo Beethoven!, is co-hosted by Ottawa actor Peter Deuschenes, the artistic director of Platypus Theatre. He will play the character of Beethoven.

Students will have a chance to play along with the orchestra on recorders.

Burden has more work while he is here: he will teach a clinic on the day of arrival, Oct. 29, at Porter Creek Secondary School.

“The interesting thing is that the teacher and students came to Ottawa in March and I gave them a clinic,” he says. “So, I get to reacquaint myself.”

Besides playing for the NACO, Burden has also played for the Salvation Army Band and Capital BrassWorks. And he has also taught at the University of Ottawa since 1975.

“I am aware of high school standards and the wide range that comes with that,” he says. “It doesn’t faze me. My job is making improvements in that person.”

The performance on Oct. 29 will feature Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 which, according to Manager of Artistic Planning Daphne Burt, gives the guest soloist, Jon Kimura Parker, “a chance to shine”.

“It’s a crowd pleaser.”

Also, the NAC-commissioned Infinite Sky With Birds, by Alexina Louie, and Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C Major (also known as Jupiter) will be performed.

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