In Thursday’s (9/25) Ottawa Citizen, Peter Robb reports on the legacy of conductor/violinist/violist Pinchas Zukerman, music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) since 1999 and its “longest-serving, surpassing the late Mario Bernardi by five years…. He has a home in Ottawa and another in New York and he is on the road most of the year.” NACO had 45 players when he began as music director. “Zukerman swept into town and the orchestra immediately started growing and getting younger. Reaching 61 players, the door opened to Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvorák.” He hired numerous key players including Concertmaster Yosuke Kawasaki and Associate Concertmaster Jessica Linnebach; established the Summer Music Institute (SMI) and an extensive distance-learning program; and led “12 tours in 15 years including one coming up in October to the United Kingdom.” Sources quoted include Linnebach, an alumna of SMI and Zukerman’s former student at Manhattan School of Music, and National Arts Centre CEO Peter Herrndorff, who notes that “the combination of somebody who had a lot of ties to the orchestra and was one of the world’s great [instrumental] musicians” was “irresistible” to NAC; Herrndorff states, “Pinchas was perfect.”

Posted September 26, 2014