Monday, May 2, 2016

Sketching the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Open Dress Rehearsal

On Sunday May 1st, Ottawa urban sketchers met at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to sketch an open dress rehearsal of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.

Ottawa urban sketchers meet and line-up to enter Southam Hall

Principal Guest Conductor, Alain Trudel, briefly addressed the audience and explained how he runs his rehearsals and he also talked about the musical piece that was being rehearsed.

Conductor Trudel was incredibly generous with information on how he became a conductor and the rehearsal process. His humour and passion for the music were contagious.

The members of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra are amazing and when you sketch them while they play, you really witness their passion, precision and devotion to their instrument.

Sketch of Conductor Trudel by artist Joanne L.

The music piece that the orchestra practiced was Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique (which I later learned online was featured in the films The Shining, The Witches, and Sleeping with the Enemy)

Sketch by artist Diane D.

First movement: "Rêveries – Passions" (Reveries – Passions)
The Ottawa urban sketchers would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the NAC staff. From our earliest inquiries through the box office manager Mary O’Shea to the amazing ushers who were so helpful when we were getting seated (referring to us as the "Ottawa sketchers" and assisting us with our wheelchair accessibility needs.)

The house lights were kept on during the rehearsal and the artists in attendance used a wide variety of materials to sketch the orchestra. Time really flew. The open rehearsal was scheduled from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM and when it ended we all could not believe that an hour and a half had passed and that  the rehearsal was actually finished!

Below is a small sampling of some of the sketches posted online. To see all of our sketches, please visit our Urban Sketchers Ottawa facebook group page (

Sketch by Laurie F

Sketch by artist Suvitha R.

Sketch by artist Cindi F.
Sketch by Cynthia M.
Sketch by artist Gillian H

Sketchers sharing their sketches at the end of the "show and tell" session
This sketching event was incredibly fun and one that we hope we can repeat in the future.

More Ottawa Sketching Events?

We try to organize sketching events in Ottawa at least once per month.
Winters are challenging but now that the weather is finally warming,
there will be an increasing number of opportunities to gather and sketch being offered.

If you would like to join us, be sure to join our facebook group and/or look for the #urbansketchers hashtag on twitter (also #USkYOW) and/or sign up to follow this blog by email (add your email in the space provided on the right)

Chicago Symphony
 Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique 
(complete performance)


  1. I was at this dress rehearsal. I had a lovely time. It has been captured here in both words and images. Very cool.

  2. Thank you so much kdar for your kind comments. We had great fun at this event and hope to do it again. Perhaps you could join us on a future sketch event! Hope so - take care!