The National Academy Orchestra of Canada is Canada’s only Professional Training Orchestra and is recognized as a Canadian National School for its effective “apprenticeship” pairing of young graduate musicians with seasoned “mentor” musicians from Canada’s finest orchestras. Apprentices come from every province and territory in Canada to live and work in the Hamilton/ Halton area for 16 weeks a year.
This past winter, over 300 potential apprentices auditioned from across Canada for one of 43 spots in the orchestra. Most have just graduated from their undergraduate music programs, while some have completed their Master’s degrees. They have studied and worked hard all their lives to make a career as a musicians and the NAO program is their apprenticeship into the real world of rehearsals, auditions, performances and practical issues such as taxes, granting and publicity. While with the Brott Music Festival, the musicians perform schedule with 30 concerts throughout the Hamilton, Halton, Toronto and Muskoka regions.
Performing at Brott Music Festival concerts is only one aspect of the National Academy Orchestra’s activity. The NAO places particular emphasis on entrepreneurial skills through master classes and seminars. It also incorporates a real-to-life rehearsal and performance schedule as part of its training programme. These are aspects of a musician’s life which are not taught in school, and help to “arm” the apprentice with real life skills and knowledge with which to make a successful career in the music field here in Canada and around the world.
The NAO Adopt An Apprentice Program gives our audience and local businesses an opportunity to put a face to their donation. Every dollar goes toward making the experience of each apprentice musician a full and rewarding one this summer, from covering operating costs such as venues, post rehearsal and post-concert receptions to absorbing some of the costs of a self-promotion and publicity seminar, complete with a day-long photo shoot by Toronto marketing guru Liz Parker. Ms Parker is Canada’s pre-eminent marketer of classical musicians and is renowned for her creativity in marketing young up and coming players with exciting marketing materials.