In Saturday’s (1/2) Toronto Star, William Littler writes, “As comedian Jack Benny famously demonstrated, it is best, psychologically, to remain 39 as long as possible. To its credit, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra has decided instead to face chronological facts and arrive at Roy Thomson Hall two weeks from today during the course of a frankly admitted 40th-anniversary season. Few of the players scheduled to appear on stage were actually there that October night in 1969 when Mario Bernardi gave the downbeat for the orchestra’s formal debut. The NAC itself had opened four months earlier with the premiere, by the National Ballet of Canada, of French choreographer Roland Petit’s Kraanerg, set to a ferociously aggressive (and, for its ballet, ultimately fatal) score by Greek composer Iannis Xenakis. But the National Ballet was a visitor from Toronto, whereas the orchestra, newly minted, was to be permanently in residence. … [The orchestra] will be playing Mozart in Toronto (with Zukerman himself as soloist in the Violin Concerto No. 5, K.219), but it will also be playing Songs for an Acrobat by one of its most frequently performed Canadian composers, Linda Bouchard, with the Canadian baritone Russell Braun as soloist.”

Posted January 5, 2010