LSM Newswire

Thursday, September 25, 2008

NAC Gala with Tony Bennett on Oct. 4

NAC Orchestra programme announced for NAC Gala with the legendary Tony Bennett on Oct. 4

Ottawa, Canada The National Arts Centre Gala has been sold out for some time and lucky ticket-holders have a truly spectacular night ahead on Saturday, October 4. Tony Bennett, famously described by Frank Sinatra as the best singer in the business, together with his quartet will give a one-hour command performance in the second half of the Gala. And, to launch this night of glamour and style, Pinchas Zukerman will lead the NAC Orchestra in a complementary classical programme.

Two young Ottawa string virtuosos will join Maestro Zukerman and the Orchestra in the opening half. Stanley Leong, a 13-year-old cellist, and his brother 11-year-old violinist Kerson Leong will join forces to perform the Allegro from Vivaldis Concerto in B-flat major for Violin and Cello, filled with acrobatic highjinks requiring nimble fingers! Both have been multiple top prize winners in the Canadian Music Competition, and both participated in last summers Tenth Anniversary NAC Summer Music Institute in the Junior Strings Programme.

The five participants in this seasons Institute for Orchestral Studies (IOS) will be onstage performing with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. They are Emily Westell (violin, 23, Calgary, AB), Amline Chauvette-Groulx (violin, 25, Ottawa, ON), Tali Kravitz (viola, 24, Israel), Leat Sabbah (cello, 21, United States), and Theodore Chan (double bass, 24, Ottawa, ON).

The NAC Gala is a benefit for the National Youth and Education Trust, investing in young Canadians through the performing arts. Both the Summer Music Institute and the Institute for Orchestral Studies are among the NAC programmes that are supported by the National Youth and Education Trust.

Maestro Zukerman will also lead the NAC Orchestra in Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn, and will close the first half with Ravels thrilling Bolero, an orchestral tour de force that is one of the most popular compositions in the entire classical repertoire.

In the second half Tony Bennett will take the stage with his quartet consisting of Lee Musiker (music director and piano), Gray Sargent (guitar), Jim Hughart (bass) and Harold Jones (drums). Mr. Bennett will announce his programme from the stage.

The Gala Committee NAC is chaired for the third year by Janet Yale, TELUS executive vice president, Corporate Affairs. Mrs. Laureen Harper is the Galas Honourary Chair.

There will be a pre-concert reception in the Foyer for all patrons at 5:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 6:30 p.m. Those who have purchased Encore Seating will join Gala sponsors at a post-concert reception in the Foyer, followed by dinner on the Southam Hall stage.

TELUS, Founding Partner of the NACs National Youth and Education Trust, is the Presenting Sponsor of the annual Gala. This commitment reflects TELUSs continuing support of the National Youth and Education Trust, a primary resource for supporting the artistic development of young Canadians through educational resources, professional training, mentoring programmes and young audience performances. The Trust is also supported by SunLife Financial, patrons of the Gala and the National Arts Centre Foundation Donors Circle.

Tony Bennett is the stuff of legends. His unforgettable voice has touched the heart and moved the souls of admirers around the globe. For nearly 60 years he has entertained us, yet has remained forever young and wowed generation after generation of new fans. He is an international treasure, honoured by the United Nations as a Citizen of the World. With over 50 million records sold world-wide and platinum and gold albums to his credit, Bennett has received thirteen Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. His appearance with the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the 1993 MTV Video Awards ceremony introduced him to a whole new generation with his recording MTV Unplugged garnering Grammys top award, Album of the Year. The New York Times declared Tony Bennett has not just bridged the generation gap, he has demolished it.

Tony Bennett is one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. He introduced a multitude of songs into the Great American Songbook that have since become standards for pop music. He has toured the world to sold-out audiences with rave reviews whenever he performs. To celebrate his 80th birthday in 2006, Tony Bennett recorded Duets - An American Classic with some of the top names in contemporary music, including Bono, Michael Bubl, Elvis Costello, Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Sting, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder.

The NAC Orchestras own Pinchas Zukerman was one of the instrumental superstars on Tony Bennetts Duets An American Classic. Named Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1998, Maestro Zukermans genius and prodigious technique have been a marvel to critics and audiences for over four decades. He is equally respected as a violinist, violist, conductor, and chamber musician while his dedication to teaching has been a major catalyst for many of the education initiatives supported by the National Youth and Education Trust. Pinchas Zukerman's discography contains over 100 titles, and has earned him 21 Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. He was named first-prize winner of the 1969 Leventritt Competition, and, in 1983, President Reagan awarded him a Medal of Arts for his leadership in the musical world. In October 2002, he became the first recipient of the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence at the National Arts Awards Gala in New York City. Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra donate their services for the NACs annual Gala.

Kerson Leong, violin, and Stanley Leong, cello

Kerson Leong is 11 and has already won the Grand Prize at the Canadian Music Competition for four straight years, each time achieving the highest mark of any age group or instrument. In the recent 2008 competition in Quebec City, the judges awarded him a mark of 99% for his stunning performance. He was recognized in the Galaxie Rising Star Program of the CBC and was also the youngest finalist in the 2006 nationwide CBC Mozart Variation Contest held to celebrate Mozarts 250th birthday anniversary.

Stanley Leong is 13 and has been a top prizewinner at the Canadian Music Competition for 6 years in a row. At the recent 2008 competition in Quebec City, he won First Prize once again and made his solo debut at the CMC Gala with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Yoav Talmi.

Both young musicians have been guest soloists with the NAC Orchestra at a TD Canada Trust Young Peoples Concert, as well as with I Musici de Montreal, and have performed at the 2008 Ottawa Chamberfest and at the CBC Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

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