Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra coming to the UK

Marking the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War 1

Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra will tour the United Kingdom in the autumn of 2014.  The tour will celebrate the strong ties between Canada and the U.K., commemorate the sacrifices of Canadians during the Great War and demonstrate the power of music as a force for healing and remembrance. The Orchestra is honoured that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will serve as Royal Patron of the Tour.

The Great War is particularly significant to Canadians, an event often portrayed as a pivotal moment in Canadian history when Canada came of age as a nation. In 1914 Canadians from small towns who had never seen a city volunteered to ship overseas to defend the British Empire. For the first time, the forces fought as Canadians and the nation became recognized as a country independent –but strongly tied – to the British Empire. The U.K. Tour will honour the legacy of the Great War through music by marking this important anniversary and engaging young people in Canada and the U.K. in their shared history.

Extraordinary musician and teacher Pinchas Zukerman, Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, will lead the Tour. There will be a robust education program linking school-aged children in Canada and the U.K. using music to underline themes of remembrance and reconciliation. The repertoire will include a composition called “A Ballad of Canada” by Canadian composer Malcolm Forsyth, which incorporates imagery from the poem “In Flanders Field” by Lt. John McCrae.

On October 27, a joint concert of the National Arts Centre Orchestra with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall will close with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, featuring the inspiring “Ode to Joy” which has been used to celebrate such historic moments as the fall of the Berlin Wall. Preliminary plans for additional repertoire include a second Beethoven symphony, a violin concerto performed by Pinchas Zukerman. To enhance the Tour’s education program, the National Arts Centre is collaborating with the Canadian War Museum to showcase selected works from the Museum’s extensive collection of war art from the First World War in the U.K. during this time period.

An emotional highlight of the tour will be the concert at the Salisbury Cathedral on October 29, 2014. The musicians will be following in the footsteps of Canadian troops during the Great War, who trained in Salisbury for months when they arrived in Great Britain. The Salisbury plain is near the Church, and was the site where Canadian troops lived and trained on the muddy terrain before going onto Europe.

Tour Details

Tour stops will include performances in London (Royal Festival Hall), Salisbury (Salisbury Cathedral), Edinburgh (Usher Hall), Bristol and Nottingham. The Salisbury concert will take place just 10 miles from the original encampment of the first Canadian contingent to arrive in the U.K at the start of First World War. Over two dozen educational and outreach events are also being planned.

The tour runs October 22-31, 2014

For more information about the orchestra go to