NAC Fourth Stage Technical Director Peter Kealey will conduct an enthusiastic crew and a new theatre full of new equ  ©2016 Brett Delmage

Starting this month NAC Fourth Stage Technical Director Peter Kealey will conduct his enthusiastic and experienced crew in a new theatre with a new stage, new lights, and upgraded sound equipment. ©2017 Brett Delmage

Canada's National Arts Centre’s popular Fourth Stage concert hall officially reopened Wednesday afternoon after a 17-month reconstruction, which included a down-to-the-ground tear-down.

“We've been waiting for this moment for a long time,” NAC CEO Peter Herrndorf told the press at the opening. It was Herrndorf's idea, back in 2000, to convert a former bookstore into the original Fourth Stage, and he said it became “the most popular venue” at the NAC, and a favourite space for community groups.

The reconstruction was part of the NAC's major 50th anniversary rejuvenation, which substantially expanded its event rooms and performance spaces, and added a new glass front and entrance on Elgin Street. Passers-by can now look into the windows of the Fourth Stage from the sidewalk and see events happening there, as part of "a more welcoming space”.

Listeners voted the original Fourth Stage as their favourite jazz concert venue in OttawaJazzScene.ca's Jazz Favourites Poll in 2014. As one listener summarized: “Amazing sound, lighting, stage, ambiance, tables, space, green room areas, bar service...no place is better for listening intimately to great jazz.”

The basic location of the hall has not changed, although its entrance has been moved further inside the NAC (meaning no cold drafts for those waiting in winter line-ups). Alicia Phinney, the project manager for the NAC's architectural rejuvenation, said that the new hall will accommodate 165 listeners in its usual cabaret table set-up, and as many as 200 in a straight theatrical set-up – approximately the same as before.

But inside it looks quite different. The stage and audience have swapped position. There's been many upgrades to improve the listening experience and make the space more accessible. At the opening, Herrndorf thanked Fourth Stage Technical Director Peter Kealey and his crew for their work in planning the stage.

NAC Fourth Stage Technical Director Peter Kealey watches a performance by Gabrielle Shonk and her group at the official opening ©2017 Brett Delmage

Lights! Sound! Action! NAC Fourth Stage Technical Director Peter Kealey watches a performance by Gabrielle Shonk and her group at the Fourth Stage's official opening ©2017 Alayne McGregor

A few days before the opening and just as construction had barely finished, Kealey gave OttawaJazzScene.ca an extensive tour of the new stage, explaining in fascinating detail the major improvements they've made – from acoustics, to lighting, to clearer sight-lines, to new tables and chairs, to updated washrooms, to faster bar service.

Watch our exclusive video tour to get the behind-the-scenes story of what you'll see and hear at the new stage – and learn why the NAC crew is so enthusiastic about creating and operating the best space possible for jazz and other performances, earning them great appreciation.

   – with files from Alayne McGregor

Watch our video story

Watch OttawaJazzScene.ca Inside the Scene video stories about jazz performances in the original NAC Fourth Stage

Read OttawaJazzScene.ca reviews and photos of jazz performances in the original NAC Fourth Stage


 

214 jazz and improvised music shows presented at the original NAC Fourth Stage from September 26, 2009 to May 7, 2016

Source: OttawaJazzScene.ca weekly and event listings (Get your personal copy of our Jazz Bulletin with detailed event listings)
This list does not include all Ottawa Jazz Festival summer and winter shows

  • Rachel Beausoleil - CD release party
  • John Geggie with Jean-Marc Padovani, Aldo Mazza, and Marianne Trudel
  • Brian Browne
  • Geggie Project CD release concert
  • John Geggie with Paul Meyers and Josh Rager
  • The Geggie Trio + Donny McCaslin CD release concert
  • John Geggie with four horns
  • John Geggie with Michael Webster, Rob Mosher, and Greg Ritchie
  • John Geggie with two masters of improvisation
  • Jazz masterclass with pianist Jason Moran
  • New Year's Eve with John Geggie
  • Extreme Makeover, Music Edition,
  • Seductive Latin Strings – Servantes
  • Médéric Collignon
  • Rory Magill - Rake-star Project
  • Pierre-Yves Martel and Quartetski Does Satie
  • Cory Weeds Quintet with Jim Rotondi
  • Eric Vloeimans
  • A concert of Latin music with Pachamama Music & Caridad Cruz/Cesar
  • Asian Mix: A concert of Persian music and Indo-Jazz
  • Jazz masterclass with vocalist Peter Eldridge
  • Jazz masterclass with vocalist Theo Bleckmann
  • Jazz masterclass with vibraphonist Stefon Harris
  • Amanda Martinez
  • Mike Essoudry Octet
  • Nicole Ratté CD release concert
  • Alicia Borisonik and the Argentinian Project
  • Swing Into Spring
  • Hugh O'Connor CD release concert
  • Tim Murray Quintet - 50th Anniversary Concert
  • Jazz Delphinus
  • Spring Fever: Peggy Lee Tribute Concert
  • Rachel Beausoleil / Evandro Gracelli Project
  • Creaking String Quartet
  • John Geggie with Jerome Sabbagh, Nancy Walker, and Ethan Ardelli
  • Anders Drerup and Friends, featuring Diane White,
  • Jazz masterclass with vibraphonist Stefon Harris
  • John Geggie with John Taylor
  • Gord Grdina's East Van Strings
  • The Story with Zack Lober
  • John Geggie with Rebecca Martin, Peter Kiesewalter, and Jim Doxas
  • John Geggie with Sigurdur Flosason, Jim Lewis, Kelly Jefferson, and Karl Jannuska
  • John Geggie with Christian Howes and Kim Ratcliffe
  • John Geggie with Marc Copland and John Fraboni
  • John Geggie with Brian Browne, Archie Alleyne, and Mike Rud
  • Jayme Stone
  • Jazz masterclass with flutist Jamie Baum
  • Jazz masterclass with trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater
  • Jazz masterclass with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon
  • Ottawa jazz festival showcase
  • Patricia Cano
  • Christine Fagan CD Release Party
  • Patricia Cano
  • Boleros Night with Claudia Salguero
  • Swing Into Spring
  • Michelle Grégoire Group
  • Makoto Takenaka
  • Four Men and a Marimba
  • JazzWorks showcase
  • Brian Browne Trio
  • Alice Groves
  • Boleros Night with Claudia Salguero
  • Erica Feininger CD Launch
  • The Jerry Granelli Trio
  • The Ari Hoenig Quartet
  • CLEAR CD Release Concert
  • Michael Kaeshammer
  • Geggie Series 2011 - 2012: with Joe Sullivan, Lorne Lofsky, and Jim Doxas
  • Geggie Series 2011 - 2012: with Pat LaBarbera, Josh Rager, and Nick Fraser
  • Geggie Series 2011 - 2012: with Joel Frahm, Min Rager, and John Fraboni
  • Geggie Series 2011 - 2012: with Phil Dwyer, Chet Doxas, and Jim Doxas
  • Geggie Series 2011 - 2012: with Ron Miles and David Occhipinti
  • Geggie Series 2011 - 2012: with Susie Ibarra
  • Capital Vox 70's Flashback
  • The Donny McCaslin Group
  • Sophie Milman
  • Jazz masterclass with vocalist Peter Eldridge
  • Jazz masterclass with drummer John Riley
  • Jazz masterclass with pianist Vijay Iyer
  • Jazz masterclass with saxophonist Dave Liebman
  • Jazz masterclass with saxophonist Donny McCaslin
  • Brandi Disterheft
  • Jill Barber
  • Minor Empire with special guest Jane Bunnett
  • Winter 2012 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Pulse Mondiale
  • Winter 2012 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble
  • Winter 2012 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Mike Tremblay & Mark Ferguson Quartet
  • Winter 2012 Ottawa Jazz Festival: The Ingrid and Christine Jensen Quartet
  • Winter 2012 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Quinsin Nachoff's Flux
  • Harris Eisenstadt
  • Nightfall
  • Amy Cervini
  • Canciones de Amor with Claudia Salguero
  • Swing Into Spring
  • My Pal Frishberg: A Night of the Songs of Dave Frishberg
  • Jeff Kavanda
  • Brian Browne and Steve Berndt CD Release: Déjà Vu
  • "Oscar Peterson in the Black Forest"
  • CCMC (Michael Snow, John Oswald, Paul Dutton) with Paul Minton
  • The Kelly Craig Sextet plays Adam Daudrich
  • A tribute to Willem Breuker
  • Canada Day: Waiting for You
  • Alex Cuba
  • Caridad Cruz
  • Pugs and Crows
  • Amélie et les Singes Bleus
  • A tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday
  • Cory Weeds Quartet with Steve Davis
  • Renée Yoxon's & Mark Ferguson's CD Release Concert
  • The Rob Frayne Dream Band
  • Megan Jerome CD Release Concert
  • Tom: Songs from a drunken piano
  • Brian Browne Trio
  • Claudia Salguero - Romantica
  • Elizabeth Shepherd
  • Kellylee Evans
  • Laila Biali
  • Geggie Series 2012 - 2013: with William Carn, Tara Davidson, Tim Bedner, and Jim Doxas
  • Geggie Series 2012 - 2013: with Roddy Ellias, Pierre Tanguay, and David Braid
  • Geggie Series 2012 - 2013: with Jean-Nicolas Trottier. Thom Gossage, and Frank Lozano
  • Winter 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Brian Browne Quartet
  • Winter 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo
  • Winter 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: The John Escreet Trio
  • Winter 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: The Wee Trio
  • Winter 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Nick Fraser Quartet with Tony Malaby
  • Winter 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: The Miguel De Armas Quartet
  • Andalusia: An evening of Flamenco jazz
  • The Jivewires
  • Michael Webster Group with Ingrid Jensen
  • Jacques Émond Tribute Show
  • Hikashu
  • Gaby Warren: Reflections of a Jazz Fanatic CD Launch
  • Adam Makowicz
  • Michaela Rabitsch and Robert Pawlik
  • Caridad Cruz with the Miguel de Armas Latin Jazz Quartet
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Superstition
  • Whose Solo Is It Anyway?
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: I Love Paris
  • Gibson/Weeks - Duets
  • Torch with Geri Childs
  • Jozée Devoua & Swing Addiction
  • John Geggie and special guests
  • Jérôme Beaulieu Trio
  • Mamselle
  • Phil Nimmons and David Braid
  • Jazz Winterlude with Jozée Devoua & Swing Addiction
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Duke, Dizzy, Miles, Monk, Mingus and More
  • Reis Demuth Wiltgen Trio
  • Claudia Salguero - IDILIO
  • Michael Webster's Momentus with Ingrid Jensen
  • Steve Berndt and Brian Browne: "All Over Again"
  • Omer Klein with Haggai Cohen-Milo
  • Bianca Basso - i love
  • Turning the Page with Jesse Stewart and H'Art of Ottawa
  • The Kelly Craig Sextet
  • Maja Ratkje
  • Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Swinging the Bard
  • Adesso CD Release
  • Bianca Basso - i love
  • Peter Liu: Bamboo Groove
  • The Marianne Trudel Quintet with Ingrid Jensen
  • Petr Cancura & Down Home
  • Geri Childs CD Release - "More Than Magic"
  • Tanya Tagaq
  • The Brian Browne Trio Annual Concert
  • Umbrellas with Jesse Stewart and Discovery University
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Voyage to the New World
  • Dominique Forest - C’est à moi
  • The Nina Project
  • Ain't Misbehavin'?
  • Wolanyo Akakpo – Les pépins de melon de Toumani Samba
  • The Mike Essoudry Sextet
  • Afro-Cuban Night
  • Latin Sound Machine
  • Chauvet: David Braid & The Penderecki String Quartet with Mike Rud and Sienna Dahlen
  • Something Old, Something New: An Evening of Jazz, Soul and Blues
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Invention
  • The Emie R. Roussel Trio
  • Claudia Salguero - ORIGENES
  • John Geggie and special guests Kelly Jefferson, Frank Lozano and Jim Doxas
  • Patricia Cano and Luanda Jones
  • The Stretch Orchestra and Jaron Freeman-Fox and The Opposite Of Everything
  • The Mike Murley Septet
  • Guitar Heroes with Kevin Breit, Madagascar Slim, Tony D, Don Rooke, and Emily Burgess
  • Megan Jerome and the Together Ensemble CD Release
  • Laura Crema
  • The Rob Frayne Dream BigBand
  • Peter Hum "Alpha Moment" CD Release
  • Steve Berndt featuring Brian Browne
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Works of Art (Blakey & Pepper)
  • The Anne Lewis Quintet
  • The Guillaume Martineau Quintet
  • TOM: Songs From A Drunken Piano
  • The Carlos Alberto Santana Jazz Trio
  • The Brian Browne Trio Annual Concert
  • Petr Cancura Crossroads series with guest Ian Tamblyn
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Daydreams Under the Blossoms with Diane Nalini
  • The Rob Frayne Dream Combo
  • 100 Years Yours, Frankly! A Tribute to Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Killin’ The Classics
  • Norteño - Tango Nuevo
  • Black Music Series: Ferline Regis
  • Petr Cancura Crossroads series with guest Lynn Miles
  • The Gift of Jazz
  • Black Music Series: Abel Maxwell
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Bird and Oliver
  • The Laila Biali Trio
  • Fagan & Berndt Vocalese
  • Petr Cancura Crossroads series with guest Jeremy Fisher
  • The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra: Introspection (Kenny Wheeler)
  • The Sultans of String
  • Music Matters
  • Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels

Did you enjoy this story? Would you like to read more like it, or hear more podcasts, or watch more Inside the Scene video reports?

Researching, interviewing, transcribing, writing, and editing each story or podcast or video report takes hours of work – as well as skill, experience, and enthusiasm.

OttawaJazzScene.ca is solely reader-supported, which gives you independent reporting that's not beholden to anyone else.

If everyone who reads and likes OttawaJazzScene.ca helps fund it, we could worry less and report more. You can support OttawaJazzScene.ca for as little at $6 – in just one minute. Thank you for supporting independent reporting about jazz in your community.