National Broadcast Orchestra

The National Broadcast Orchestra was incorporated in January, 2009 to carry on the spirit of the disbanded CBC Radio Orchestra.  Under the direction of Alain Trudel, the NBO will share orchestral music with all Canadians and champion Canadian composers and musicians through live concerts, recordings and broadcasts.

Like its predecessor, the NBO is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.  The new orchestra makes its home in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC.

The CBC Years (1938-2008)

Even before the CBC, Canadians could enjoy live national broadcasts of orchestral music through the Canadian National Railway’s radio network.  So, it’s not surprising that the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra was formed in the very early days of the new broadcasting entity.  Other CBC orchestras were eventually formed in Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, but by the early 1980′s only the Vancouver orchestra remained.  It’s name was officially changed to the CBC Radio Orchestra in 2000, by which time it was the sole broadcast orchestra in North America.  In its 70 years, the CBCRO had only four principal conductors:  John Avison (1938-1980), John Eliot Gardiner (1980-1983), Mario Bernardi (1984-2006), and Alain Trudel (2006-2008).  In March of 2008, CBC announced that the Radio Orchestra would be permanently disbanded.  Its final concert was performed on Sunday, November 16, 2008 at Vancouver’s Chan Centre.

Emergence of the NBO

Following the news of the CBCRO’s demise, thousands of people across Canada rallied in support of the orchestra.  When it became clear that the CBC’s decision was final, a new direction was proposed by Montreal businessman and orchestra enthusiast Philippe Labelle.  Labelle worked closely with Alain Trudel to draft a plan for the orchestra’s rebirth.

In January, 2009, the new entity was officially incorporated as the National Broadcast Orchestra Company, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to continuing the spirit of its predecessor.

While the reputation of the CBCRO was built on the radio, the new orchestra reaches beyond the boundaries of traditional media, utilizing the Internet as its primary tool for broadcasting performances and connecting with audiences.  The NBO’s programming represents many periods and styles of orchestral music, with ongoing dedication to the work of Canadian composers and artists.