This concert is made possible in part through the generous support of the Friends of the NAC Orchestra’s Kilpatrick Fund.
Ottawa’s own international award-winning (2nd Prize and Audience Prize, 2021 Geneva International Music Competition) cellist Bryan Cheng made his Carnegie Hall debut at 14 and has been captivating audiences with his vibrant musicality ever since. Under the baton of guest conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier, Cheng and the NAC Orchestra perform Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1, a glorious work in which the cellist rises up and into the music from the very beginning and communicates with the orchestra as an equal.
French composer Louise Farranc broke gender barriers all her life. In 1804, at age 15, she was accepted into the all-male composition class at the Paris Conservatoire, and by 38, she was a piano professor at the same institution – a situation unmatched by a woman for the entire 19th century. Virtuosic pianist, pedagogue, and composer (Berlioz was a fan), she continued to compose her entire life. But be assured that the worth of Farrenc’s Overture No. 2 is not just about a determined woman breaking barriers in a male-dominated world – it is a masterful and beautiful orchestral work among many written by this colossally talented composer.
César Franck’s Symphony in D minor is, unfortunately, the French composer’s only effort in the genre. Now a rarity in the orchestral repertoire, this symphony once dealt a knock-out punch to Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s yearly poll of audience favorites, going on in subsequent years to beat Beethoven’s Fifth, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth and Sixth, and Brahms’s First. It is a beautiful work that is at once peaceful and filled with yearning – and indisputably worthy of revival.