Group of 27 November 15, 2013 Beethoven 2, M’vt III

A snippet from our last concert with the group of twenty-seven led by Eric Paetkau… this is the orchestra that I recorded the Canadian Concerto Project with.  We are allowed to publish 30″ segments of our pieces, so a sample of the premiere of the Oddbird Concerto will be coming soon.

I love this orchestra!  It is the best orchestra I have ever played in and I want everyone to come to our shows.



Thinking a lot about my dear parents… Dad recovering from surgery and still ready to take on the world at the age of 88… my Mom so strong in my memory.

They love/d me so much!

Christmas makes me remember their fiery spirits and how they tried to make it a wonderful time for me and my brother Keith even as it brought to the fore all of the anomalies of our family… too bad they didn’t know they did not have to be the “perfect” family, but that their fierce love and spiky spirits were beyond perfect.

I’ll try to tell them.  Again.

Nadina with B. Allan Mackie (a.k.a. Slim) at Silloep Hills Ranch, B.C. 1959

Nadina with Mary Mackie (a.k.a. B.C. Mary) at Silloep Hills Ranch,  B.C., 1959



Getting In Shape

I have a few live performances up on YouTube. Part of me flinches every time I put them up because they are flawed. But there are also good parts and tons of good memories about the events, and also informative because they are all live. In truth, they are also the only footage that I have… I do have some better footage but don’t own the rights so cannot share (yet). It is hard to get concert footage for classical musicians… so many rules governing hall, and even when there are no rules, the audience is never sure if they are allowed to film us. But I have come to love the idea of casual videos and am going to figure out how to edit. Anyway, on to my topic.

When I do live performances, I have learned the hard way over the years that I cannot drink coffee. I mentioned this once to a great orchestral flautist, and she said that she would never give up the enjoyable things in life for playing better… I think she is one of the lucky ones who doesn’t fall apart from being over-stimulated!

And I sooooo want to drink coffee. So sometimes I have my last cup quite close to the concert day. And it is always an error. It throws me into another time zone and I have to hang on for dear life once my particular brand of performance adrenalin kicks in. And it really is dumb, because it takes away the refinements that actually are part of my voice.

So, part of getting in shape is acknowledging that playing well is more important than dark, fragrant, exhilarating, sometimes disappointing adventures in coffee.

Yet, it is not only about the perfection of my performances (or lack of), but the energy that I send out into the world. If I am strong and healthy, that is part of the energy that goes out too…

Today, I received this note from a young professional. I actually gave her a lesson three years ago and had utterly forgotten until she gracefully reminded me. When I thanked her, she responded with this note:

You should just know–when you came to Wisconsin in February, we collectively as a school were in a winter funk, but we were all so excited for your visit. I remember my friend Heidi (oboist) saying, “It’s like Nadina is a beautiful alien from outer space who came to show us that everything is okay in the world.” And I was like, “Heidi, you are right!” Also, there was a little girl in the audience who came from Appleton to see you with her mom. They were SO excited. It reminded me of when my mom would take me to the far reaches of the tri-state area to see bassoonists. So, your visit was a very meaningful one. 

This inspires me to get back to the reed table, to get back to my scales, to keep working on memorizing all of my repertoire, to exercise with equal enthusiasm and to learn tons of new skills to play with the musicians I am meeting these days. I need companionship, encouragement and praise to do all of these things. For the exercise part, I am working with musician and trainer, Karen Moffatt. For the rest of it, I am trusting that I can pull it together by doing it.

I am to get in shape so that I can send the shape of my ideas out in the form that I intend. And then see how they will come back to me in the years to follow!


New Photos!

I love getting new publicity photos!  I always love the fantasy and the process.  These photos were taken at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport… I had just come home from premiering the first movement of Paul Frehner’s Apollo X with Orchestra London and Valdy was driving in from Pembroke, the last concert of his Ontario tour.  We needed shots for our first show with orchestra that will be on February 1 in Brampton with the Rose Orchestra (Valdy to Vivaldi).

We met our photographer, Bo Huang and his wife Yan at the airport.  I had managed to secure permission from the airport administration that very morning to set up and it was one of the most enjoyable shoots I have ever done.

Here are a couple of the pictures… many more were taken from all angles and I’ll reveal them on our websites over time.

All photos by








Great Ideas for Orchestras: chamber music concerts

Last night, I played a recital with the violist David Rose on the chamber series that has been launched by our chamber orchestra, group of twenty-seven.  I would love to have all of my friends come to these concerts with me… this is the most vibrant orchestra that I know and I love them.
The concept of a chamber music series attached to an orchestral season springs from the percolating mind of our creative, energetic and buff conductor, Eric Paetkau (all conductors should work out and eat right, just saying).  This is our first season of more concerts, namely 4 orchestra concerts and 12 (count ‘em) chamber music concerts that feature the astonishingly good musicians within the orchestra.

Today I want to talk about the idea of chamber music within the orchestral context….


First of all, it is essential!   
Eric has a vision that is both detailed and allows the musicians to stretch out with their own particular style.  group of twenty-seven is actually drawn from a rotating pool 50 players based mostly in Toronto who have distinctive style, spirit and virtuosity.    Eric is very committed to collaborating with independent-minded musicians, disciplined, all-star players with minds of their own.  The results are vibrant yet cohesive in the extreme. 
With group of twenty-seven, this is the first time in my experience that an orchestral artistic director has opened the door and made it a reality by booking a scheduled chamber series as part of the orchestra’s season.
Eric has curated the series, choosing the artists, fitting them into the schedule and working together to create short programmes (one hour) that are performed without intermission in a comfortable setting.  Part of the vision is having a host who illuminates the music and draws out the musicians.  For our first concerts, the popular CBC host Tom Allen was the host, and for my recital last night with David Rose, Eric himself was the host. 
Which is what I really want to talk about.
And he is encouraging the musicians by committing his time and reputation to creating chamber concerts that truly shine the spotlight on them… this is not a conductor who stands back and waits to see if people are worthy of his time and interest!
I have to admit that I have been too busy woodshedding my concerti and recitals to attend any of the other chamber concerts, but after last night, I am going to make every effort to get to the other chamber concerts in the series… something this valuable needs a lot of support to survive.
The concert last night with David Rose…
For such a short concert (one hour of music), there is so much to say!!!
And what is it with musicians from Saskatchewan!?  Now based in Fredonia at SUNYFredonia, David is originally from Regina and is one of the most refined, thoughtful, responsive, and utterly beautiful performers I have ever played with.  It was a complete joy to rehearse with him and to also hear his solos in the concerts.  His style is so different from mine… he takes all the space that is available in the music, yet his pulse is vivid, alert, and vibrant.  He is relaxed yet never ever sleepy… it is a new kind of alertness that I will now try to own in my playing.  There is a frank grace, and natural candour that I really have never seen before, and a generosity of spirit that is startling.   And I have never ever played a recital with only a single viola!  A revelation.
When I arrived at the hall, the chairs had been all turned to face the massive fireplace and our artistic administrator, Emma Walker, has placed a log in the fire, ready to light just before the audience arrived.
Eric sat on a couch near where we played and commented on the music, then invited me and David Rose to join him on the sofa to talk about ourselves and our music.  He also invited composer Ann Park Rose to speak about her music, which she did so simply, eloquently and directly.  And he brought artist/mezzo-soprano  Paula Aciniega, to the fore to talk about the painting that she did based on the new work on our program, Three Short Stories by Gernot Wolfgang for viola and bassoon.  This is the third large work that she has created this season, and she will go on to finish 9 more for each of the remaining concerts.
 There was food at the back of the hall, a gift from our sponsors Cheese Magic and Wanda’s Pie in the Sky… mulled cider and wine perfumed the air.
The small audience was talking cheerfully and there were at least 6 children under the age of 9, all comfortable with their parents or drawing on the vacant stage.
I had a young friend in the audience, a high school bassoonist who was writing a report on the life of a professional musician (well, me).  Anyway, after the concert, she told Eric that she so enjoyed the atmosphere where the music was serious but the communication was casual. 
I have pasted our programme below… I think I should end this post now as it is already too long and I HAVE TO PRACTISE!!
David Rose and Nadina Mackie Jackson
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Heliconian Club
Sonata III  Opus IV (dedicated to Felice Baciocchi)           Niccolò Paganini       
viola and bassoon
i.                Allegro con Zelo
ii.              Allegretto con Moto
Caprices *                                                                               Mathieu Lussier (b. 1973)  solo bassoon  
i.                Rapsodie (1999)
ii.        Tarantelle (2001)        
iii.        Fantaisie (2001)    
Mook-Nyum by Ann Park-Rose (b. 1979)*                                               
solo viola
Sonata V Opus VI(dedicated to Madame T)                      Niccolò Paganini                                          
i.                Adagio con grazia e trasporto         
ii.              Andantino scherzando
Suite No. 2 in D minor                                                           J. S. Bach                   
solo viola
i.                Prelude
ii.              Allemande
iii.             Courante
iv.             Sarabande
v.              Menuet
vi.             Gigue
 Three Short Stories (2001)                                                 Gernot Wolfgang                             
viola and bassoon
i.                Uncle Bebop
ii.              Rays of Light
iii.             Latin Dance