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Ontario’s National Arts Centre Orchestra Hires Resident Conductor 

Henry Kennedy will assume the role as of September 2024


Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) has announced the Nova Scotian conductor Henry Kennedy as its first Resident Conductor.

Open to Canadians and Permanent Residents, the selection process reviewed over 50 applications, auditioned five finalists, and included feedback from orchestra members and the Artistic Advisory Committee. 

Kennedy, 27, has spent most of his educational and professional life in the UK. He is the founder and music director of the Resonate Symphony Orchestra, and recently completed his tenure conducting Poland’s Wroclaw Opera.

Additionally, he was Assistant Conductor to Sir John Eliot Gardiner touring venues such as the Berlioz Festival, Salzburg Festival, The Royal Opera of Versailles, Berliner Philharmonie, and BBC Proms. Kennedy has also been mentored by Riccardo Muti, among others. 

As part of NACO’s new two-year Resident Conductor position, Kennedy will have professional development opportunities under the mentorship of NACO’s Music Director Alexander Shelley

Kennedy’s responsibilities will include collaborating with NACO’s administrative team, serving as assistant conductor for the NACO’s guest conductors, plus collaborating with Principal Guest Conductor John Storgårds and Principal Youth Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

The role also includes a competitive salary and participation in a conductor exchange program with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

To visit Ottawa this summer to attend the NACO’s summer concert series, Kennedy will officially start his tenure in September 2024.

“I feel greatly honored to be joining the National Arts Centre Orchestra as their Resident Conductor,” Kennedy said in the press release. “I will never forget the lightning bolt response I received from the Orchestra in the audition when I gave the downbeat for the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

“From the beginning to the end of the audition, I felt a musical electricity that I have never experienced before,” he continued. “This position offers a unique opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s finest musicians and contribute to the vibrant cultural landscape of Canada. I look forward to a period of immense growth and artistic collaboration in the beautiful city of Ottawa.”

“I am delighted to be welcoming Henry to our artistic team,” added Shelley, who made the final decision on Kennedy’s appointment. “During his audition he demonstrated wonderful technique and poise in front of the orchestra and spoke eloquently about the role of the conductor in the community and about the importance of music to us all. He joins us at an exciting moment in his career as his work across the pond in the UK and Europe continues to blossom. I am confident that our audiences in Ottawa and across Canada will benefit greatly from his artistry. Welcome, Henry!”

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