Thursday, October 15, 2015

NAC Open House

The National Arts Centre (NAC) had an open house on the last Sunday in September. Today I'm starting a  series on the event, with an interruption or two for other posts. The Centre is home to the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Opera Lyra, companies for English and French theatre, and hosts regular concerts and visiting shows.

A Steinway piano belonging to the late Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould sits on the mezzanine level. It is still used on occasion when a solo pianist comes to perform here.

This sculpture hangs down among one of the staircases from the top floor all the way down. 

A view from the top level takes in lower floors. Gould's piano can be seen on the second floor.

This massive door has the look of something out of a science fiction movie, and I wanted to photograph a section of it. There's a room beyond it- I've been inside on occasion to give blood when there's a clinic at the NAC.

This bust is of the founding conductor and music director of the NAC Orchestra, the late Mario Bernardi. It was sculpted by the artist Ruth Abernethy.

Along one of the corridors are portraits of winners of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, given out each year to Canadians in the arts. Some of these faces will only be known to Canadians, and others much more widely. There are, by now, a lot of these portraits- here are two years worth. 


  1. A very solemn place.
    It would be nice to see that gold-plated piano.
    Have a great thursday.

  2. The bust of the founder with the hands - looks like the fingers are ready to play the piano!

  3. love the piano, wish some one was playing. ( :

  4. The texture of the wooden door is amazing! I want to touch it but would probably have my hand slapped, right?

  5. A very interesting building, that door clearly belongs to Dune or Alien...

  6. Amazing! You are constantly on the move. Do your friends make you wear one of those GPS ankle bracelets so they know where you are all the time? GRIN.

  7. The NAC is an amazing space William, the stair hanging sculpture looks fab. Must admit to only recognising William Shatner amongst the faces there :)

  8. I especially love the piano. I always wanted to learn to play.

  9. You've been a "culture vulture " lately. NAC? A real treasure! Nac is a facility that promotes the arts not only in Ottawa but nationally.

  10. @Orvokki: thank you!

    @Nancy: the artist really made the sculpture come to life.

    @Beth: I imagine the acoustics there are good, and the piano's kept in tune.

    @EG: no, actually- it's ultimately still just a door, but a very visually interesting one.

    @VP: it also reminded me of Blade Runner.

    @Birdman: fortunately not!

    @Grace: I know quite a few of them, but some tend to be from Quebec and the French language side of the country, so I'm less familiar with them.

    @Norma: my dad played, but of course nowhere near to Gould's level.

    @Red: it really does. The previous conductor really took the orchestra across the country and around the world and reminded us that it's a national orchestra.

  11. That looks like quite an attractive place. I'd love to tinkle the ivories on that Steinway.

  12. Glenn Gould's piano is gorgeous!

  13. The recipients are honored twice when their photos are hung on that bright red wall.

  14. This is a fine place! I remember Glenn Gould and had one or two of his records. But I don't remember the Canadian connection. My bad.

  15. Very cool. And the hands on the bust aren't as scary to me as the busts with no arms.

  16. I love that sculpture hanging down among staircase.
    And the door does look something from SF movie! Such a unique door!

  17. i like the piano for firsts. Nice interesting place of arts.

  18. I think I'm going to enjoy this. Love the hanging sculpture and to think that Glenn Gould's hands touched that piano...

  19. I've probably heard recordings of Glenn playing on that instrument.

  20. Patty Smith was on Q yesterday morning and she was playing on Gould's piano that they have at the CBC and she was thrilled. It was an interesting interview!

  21. The details on the door are impressive.

  22. @Sharon: I'm not surprised. It wouldn't surprise me if there's a security camera trained on that piano all the time.

    @Linda: and kept in great shape.

    @Kate: indeed. They really stand out well that way.

    @Lowell: I wouldn't have known myself until I came to live here. My mother, who loved classical music, would have definitely known.

    @Whisk: the sculpture seems to work well this way.

    @Tamago: it's such an unusual door- very artistic.

    @Carolann: it's a pleasure to show this place. I've only really photographed the exterior- including one shot coming up in a post that'll be interrupting this series.

    @Ciel: there was quite a lot going on. I enjoyed touring the place.

    @Revrunner: no doubt! He played on several, but this was a favourite.

    @RedPat: it doesn't surprise me that there's a piano of his at the CBC.

    @Marleen: most impressive!

  23. That's a fantastic building William, every angle, view and wall has something of interest

  24. The hands (of the sculpture) look alive.

  25. That piano is impressive. Love all the other photos as well.

  26. Did you get back stage at all? I love it back there. I've sung there many times with the Ottawa Choral Society! Great memories!

  27. Another wonderful space. I think I rather like that door.

  28. Glenn Gould! Now, here was an interesting guy. By "interesting," I mean "talented but crazy."

  29. The door looks as if it is the entrance to some grand vault. Very solid and impressive. The Arts Centre looks line a wonder of special moments in past art scenes.

  30. @Geoff: it's changed considerably since these shots.

    @Mari: they do. I really should photograph that bust again.

    @Theresa: it is quite a building.

    @Lois: thanks!

    @Jennifer: yes, I've been able to get backstage on these visits.

    @Kay: I do too. Very sci-fi. I passed by it again on this past weekend.

    @Janey: that it is.

    @Jose: it is!

    @Jack: yes indeed.

    @Gemma: and yet the room beyond isn't a vault. It's spacious and visually interesting, but very much a contrast to its door.