About the Orchestra
Founded in 1965, the Ottawa Symphony was known as the Ottawa Civic Symphony until 1976. Our first concerts were held in a local high school auditorium before moving to the National Arts Centre in 1974, where we performed for 44 years. In 2018, we received an invitation from Carleton University to perform in their newly acquired venue, Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre. Our first concert in this space was on January 21st, 2019.
If you’re new to the Ottawa Symphony, or classical music in general, here are just a couple things you should know that set us apart:
We’re fearless in our programming. We don’t shy away from the exciting, monumental works of the 19th and 20th centuries that take full advantage of our large and harmonically rich ensemble of musicians. In an intimate concert setting, our audiences are treated to the big, full sounds of composers like Bruckner, Mahler, Wagner and Strauss that only a large-scale orchestra like ours can offer (on a regular concert night, you’ll find anywhere from 70 to 100 musicians on stage!)
We celebrate Canadian and local talent, in every way we can. At all of our performances, you’ll find us performing work by a Canadian composer. In 2018-19, our audiences were treated to the World Premiere of a newly-commissioned work by Harry Stafylakis, as well as works by Alexina Louie, Jeffrey Ryan, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Airat Ichmouratov and John Estacio.
We’re all about giving emerging musicians their first opportunities. Through a longstanding partnership with the University of Ottawa, our mentorship program affords young musicians the opportunity to perform with our professional orchestra over the course of their degree. During this time, students virtually double their orchestral performance opportunities in a given academic year and are exposed to a broad and challenging repertoire.