Treasuring Live Music
A core value introduced by company founder Celia Franca, the National Ballet’s commitment to live music distinguishes it as one of only a handful of dance companies across North America to boast its own orchestra. The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra is considered one of the finest ballet orchestras in the world and a trusted creative partner for many of today’s most noted choreographers and composers. With 62 tenured musicians, and often growing to as many as 91 players, singers and chorus members, the Orchestra plays an average of 80 performances each year. The National Ballet’s commitment to live music extends beyond the Orchestra to include prestigious guest conductors and musicians, four full-time rehearsal pianists and an extensive archive of over 221 ballet scores.
“Watching the collaboration between dancers and musicians take shape in the moment of performance is inspiring and invests our experience of ballet with a sense of energy, freshness and excitement. Our talented Orchestra and Principal Conductor, David Briskin, are not mere accompanists, but full-fledged partners in the artistic venture.” Music Circle members Charles and Anne Morison
The Music Circle is a giving programme that offers an opportunity for passionate music lovers to provide direct, ongoing funding to support all aspects of the music programme and the National Ballet Orchestra. Members of the Music Circle are dedicated to ensuring that live music remains a vital component of the company’s success. In turn, they enjoy exclusive access to the music of the National Ballet as it is being created, rehearsed, performed and preserved, with invitations to engage with Music Director and Principal Conductor David Briskin and the talented musicians of the National Ballet Orchestra, hear first readings of scores, meet with renowned composers, attend orchestra rehearsals and more.
“In ballet, the music and dance are inseparable. How we shape the music is always informed by the emotional narrative, the dramatic arc, the characters at play and the rhythmic construction of the choreography. Supporting and inspiring the physical expressivity of the dancers demands a greater degree of flexibility and intensity from us in the Orchestra. It’s very rewarding to have that challenge every day.” - Aaron Schwebel, Assistant Concertmaster, The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra