My Ottawa includes music. I’m rather taken with food and drink these days, but there was a time when I studied piano like many impressionable youths. I remember the technique: scales and arpeggios; chords; ear training; and exercises for improving “independence of fingering.” There was sight-reading. There was theory. There were lessons, concerts, exams, and competitions. While I developed some proficiency, I hated every second of it. But, I developed a healthy respect for those who choose music as their vocation.
It is somewhat ironic I would marry someone who teaches piano. Both my wife Jenn and her youngest sister aspired to one day perform with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. My sister-in-law dreamt of competing on the national stage.
Suffice it to say I never had the aptitude to play anything composed by former child prodigy Felix Mendelssohn. One of the most prolific composers of the romantic period, Mendelssohn is most commonly recognized for the Wedding March he composed for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This Friday, the NAC orchestra performs Symphony No. 4 in A major, “Italien.”
And, Amanda Forsyth (cello) and Jethro Marks (viola) will perform a double concerto composed by Malcolm Forsyth (Amanda’s late father).
Pinchas Zukerman will conduct.
Part and parcel of another “Casual Friday” event, the NAC again aims to share a novel way to experience world-class classical music. Aimed at attracting and inspiring another generation of music lovers, the intention is to strip away the archetypal trappings that make visiting “the symphony” pretentious. Attendees can expect food and drink (a “culinary overture,” in fact), talented classical musicians, and a relaxed atmosphere in which to socialize and meet fellow like-minded people. Forget the black tie.
Here are some random facts from the previous Casual Friday event held in November 2013:
- # of concert-goers who experienced first “experiment gone mad” Casual Fridays, Nov. 1: 2,228
- 2 fine wines offered at the 1st concert were from which U.S. state? (and not available in LCBO): California
- # of crabcakes served: 1400
- # of renewable-resource bamboo swizzle sticks harmed in the making of this live event: 3,000
- top tweet at #NACOFridays : “yum!”
Suffice it to say, the event was quite the success.
Here are some random facts about the coming Casual Friday event:
- Percentage by which [the NAC] has cut back number of Culinary Overture tickets available, to avoid “stampede”: 50%
- Chef Morris’ focus for this Casual Fridays menu: Italian-inspired, high quality ingredients, simple flavors from sunny Italy “beauty and simplicity”
- Number of “culinarians” (cheffy people) at March 7 Casual Fridays’ Culinary Overture: 30
- Most plentiful ingredient Chef has stocked for this Casual Fridays Menu Tasting: Extra virgin olive oils!
- Host for March 7th Casual Fridays is political columnist and best-selling author: Paul Wells
- Soloists in concert: NAC Orchestra Principal Cellist Amanda Forsyth and Principal Violist Jethro Marks
- The celebrated Canadian composer’s work we will hear Amanda Forsyth and Jethro perform: Dr. Malcolm Forsyth, Amanda’s late father, who died in 2011.
- What’s our hashtag? #NACOFridays #VendredisOCNA
- Last fact: The next Casual Fridays with the NAC Orchestra concert is marked on the calendar for: June 6th
Here is the menu:
[gluten-free (also comes without lamb as a vegetarian option]
[gluten-free and dairy-free]
[vegetarian and gluten-free]
While many enjoyed the previous Casual Friday event, there were murmurs about impossible lineups at the food and drink stations in the NAC lobby. This time around, Culinary Overture tickets have been limited to 800. Furthermore, each station will offer more than one tapas “bite.”And, a bit of a break from tradition, beer and wine will be allowed into Southam Hall for the performance. A first, the NAC Orchestra decided to undergo an experiment. Both wine and beer can be dispensed into lidded plastic cups attendees can take with them to their seats, straws prohibited of course. The recyclable cups have been available a while. Though, they are normally only employed during outdoor “stadium” events.
Interested yet? Click here for tickets.
Want to win a pair to this event, including accompanying Culinary Overture tickets? Enter here:
Pre-Concert Reception: 5:00pm
Concert with NAC Orchestra: 7:00pm
Post-Concert Reception: 8:30pm