Music and Artistic Director
Alexander Shelley became Music Director of the NAC Orchestra in September 2015; he is Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and was Chief [...]
It’s so nice to hear the orchestra in the foreground. It is really touching.
— Médium large, ICI Radio-Canada
One of the most interesting symphonic projects in Canada.
— The Globe and Mail
One of the most interesting Canadian symphonic endeavours.
— Ottawa Citizen
Life Reflected reminded us that when we try new things, art regains its primal power.
All the performances on this CD are well executed, with special credit due British conductor Alexander Shelley, who took up his NAC post in 2015 and is already making a major contribution to music in Canada, for spearheading this project.
— Ludwig van Toronto
Life Reflected is a stunningly original live experience: a celebration of youth, promise and courage, revealed in the compelling and diverse portraits of four exceptional Canadian women: Alice Munro, Amanda Todd, Roberta Bondar and Rita Joe.
Alexander Shelley, Music Director of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, brought together four remarkable Canadian composers to collaborate with Creative Producer and Director, Donna Feore, and an ensemble of extraordinary performers and multi-media artists to create this unique symphonic experience. Life Reflected’s four musical works immerse audiences within a 3D environment featuring photography, motion picture and graphic design, projected on screens surrounding the orchestra. This creative landscape and the accompanying visuals were created and adapted by artistic partner, the innovative Montreal visual design company Normal. This recording showcases the music from this multi-discipline, multi-media collaboration.
Dear Life is based on Nobel Prize-winner Alice Munro’s semi-autobiographical short story “Dear Life” with music by award-winning Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri. It features soprano Erin Wall and narration by legendary actor Martha Henry, who gives a chilling reading of an expertly distilled adaptation of the story prepared by writer Merilyn Simonds. Striking black and white photography by Larry Towell (Magnum Photos) accompanied the piece.
My Name is Amanda Todd is composed by Jocelyn Morlock. Amanda Todd was a vibrant 15-year-old from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia who loved singing and expressing herself through music. Amanda Todd tragically took her life on October 10, 2012 after suffering for years from cyber abuse, harassment and bullying at school. Amanda posted a poignant video on YouTube, using a series of flash cards, speaking out against bullying and sharing her story. The message of hope, empathy and tolerance she expressed in her video has since caused a worldwide groundswell of support, and is now being used by educators and parents to support anti-bullying measures.
Bondarsphere traces the extraordinary life of Dr. Roberta Bondar in this original and inventive work by Montreal composer Nicole Lizée. As a child, Dr. Bondar dreamed of being an astronaut. This dream was realized in January 1992, aboard NASA’s space shuttle Discovery, when she became the first neurologist in space and Canada’s first female astronaut. Lizée has interpreted her remarkable expertise as an astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, photographer, author, and environment interpreter, through soundtrack, video and live orchestra.
I Lost My Talk is based on the poem by Mi’kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe, C.M. Rita Joe penned her poem to express not only the pain and suffering she experienced at Schubenacadie Residential School in Nova Scotia, but also her hope and conviction that her words could guide and inspire Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to journey to a place of strength and healing. NAC Award Composer John Estacio has created a lush musical score, performed in synergy with a film by world renowned director Barbara Willis Sweete. Featuring First Nations dancers with choreography created by Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith, Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. Rita Joe’s poem is narrated by Guna and Rappahannock actor Monique Mojica.