The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) is a Canadian orchestra based in Ottawa, Ontario. The NACO's primary concert venue is the eponymous National Arts Centre. The NACO also broadcasts nationally on CBC Radio. The Orchestra has visited 112 cities in Canada and 122 cities internationally in its 38-year history, including a 1999 coast-to-coast Canada Tour. The NACO undertook first international tour in 1973 to Europe.
The NAC Orchestra was founded in 1969 as the resident orchestra of the newly opened National Arts Centre, with Jean-Marie Beaudet as Music Director and Mario Bernardi as founding conductor. Bernardi became Music Director in 1971 and held the post until 1982. Beaudet and Bernardi are the only Canadian conductors to be appointed Music Director of the NACO. Bernardi was named Conductor Laureate in 1997. Subsequent NACO music directors have included Franco Mannino (1982 to 1987), Gabriel Chmura (1987 to 1990), and Trevor Pinnock (1991-1997). From 1999 to 2015, Pinchas Zukerman was the NACO's Music Director. The orchestra expanded to 61 players during Zukerman's tenure. In October 2013, the NACO announced the appointment of Alexander Shelley as its next music director, as of the 2015-2016 season, with an initial contract of 4 years.