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Alexander Shelley conducting with his arms raised up

NACO + OSQ: Two Orchestras, One Symphony

Sat, Mar 2, 2024 Roy Thomson Hall

Alexander Shelley leads the combined forces of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and Orchestre symphonique de Québec, paying homage to one of Canada’s most original voices, Jacques Hétu, with a performance of his final work, the Fifth Symphony, originally commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The four movements of Hétu’s Fifth portray 1940 before, during, and after the Nazi invasion of France, capped off by the poem “Liberté” set
to music. Hétu passed just three weeks before the TSO’s première of his work in 2010. Opening the performance is Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2, which, as one piano critic stated, “begins with Bach and ends with Offenbach”—a nod to the work’s contrasting themes and solo piano line, which is virtuosic yet not too flashy, performed by young artist Kevin Chen.

Kelly-Marie Murphy

Dark Stars, Bright Nights, Vast Universe


Piano Concerto No. 2



Symphony No. 5

TSO Commission

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National Arts Centre Orchestra

guest orchestra

Alexander Shelley


Orchestre symphonique de Québec

guest orchestra

Kevin Chen


Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

Jean-Sébastien Vallée

Artistic Director, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir