Amanda Forsyth returns to the NAC to premiere a new cello concerto by Xi Wang

Amanda Forsyth has been travelling the world since she left the principal cello chair with the National Arts Centre Orchestra some three years ago.

From Seoul to Sydney; St. Petersburg to Sao Paolo, she’s lugged her cello Carlo to concert halls across the globe as a soloist or as a member of the Zukerman Trio with her partner Pinchas Zukerman and pianist Angela Cheng.

Now she’s about to step back on the Southam Hall stage as a soloist for the first time since she left to pursue a career in the wider world.

She will perform a concerto written for her by the Canadian composer Marjan Mozetich, who has more than 70 works to his credit and has won several major awards including the 2010 JUNO for Best Classical Composition of the Year.

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Radiant beauty and delight from the Jerusalem Quartet and friends by Xi Wang

It is rare to have a full concert of string sextets, and it is rare indeed to find playing as beautiful as that provided by the Jerusalem Quartet and their two exalted collaborators, violist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth. Radiant warmth and feeling flowed everywhere in this concert, starting from Richard Strauss’s lovely Sextet from Capriccio and ending with the energy and romantic ardour of Tchaikovsky’s late sextet ‘Souvenir de Florence’. In between was Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht , also painted in luxuriant colours, though here some sharper, more distilled contours might not have been out of place. It was a particular joy to see the Jerusalem Quartet in its fullest splendour: the Vancouver Recital Society sponsored the ensemble literally from its birth-pangs two decades ago.

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Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth with The Jerusalem Quartet at Symphony Center by Xi Wang

As part of the Symphony Center Presents chamber music series, renowned husband and wife duo Pinchas Zukerman, viola, and Amanda Forsyth, cello, along with the acclaimed Jerusalem Quartet presented a program of lush, fully developed works at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago on October 7, 2018.

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Cellist Amanda Forsyth returns to Calgary with Zukerman Trio by Xi Wang

This probably shouldn’t be taken as an invitation to behave badly at a classical music concert. But Amanda Forsyth says she wouldn’t mind it if you behaved badly at a classical music concert.

“I think they should do what they want,” says the cellist, on the line from her home in New York City. “The whole problem with classical music is that everyone thinks they have to behave. What has to happen is the music fills their bodies and makes them feel something, whatever it is they want to feel.”

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And so the final curtain: Forsyth takes a bow as a soloist with NACO by Xi Wang

In the crowded dressing room that she and Pinchas Zukerman share backstage, Amanda Forsyth was tidying up the pieces of her last solo concert as a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

It was a night of significance for the institution and for the principal cellist of NACO, who will leave the ensemble at the end of this season.

Forsyth has been a “presence” with NACO for 17 years. Call it star power or charisma, when she is on stage people watch her.

Thursday night she gave them something more to look at and, in an interview later, to think about.

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An Interview with Amanda Forsyth by Xi Wang

Hannah Nepil speaks to Amanda Forsyth, lead cellist of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, ahead of their collaboration with the RPO at the end of the month.

There’s a matter-of-fact quality to Amanda Forsyth’s voice when she says, ‘it was the worst and best time of my life.’ The Canadian cellist is describing the run-up to the 2011 world premiere of A Ballad of Canada, the last piece ever composed by her father, Malcolm Forsyth. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer at the time and had been told he had two months to live. ‘But he lived for nine and the reason was that he had this premiere and he wanted to be there. And he was. Somehow he managed to get, with his oxygen tanks, to Ottawa,’ Forsyth recalls.

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