Thirteen Strings. Chamber orchestra founded in Ottawa in 1975 by the conductor Brian Law and string players from the NACO. Law was conductor until the end of the 1990-91 season. Conceived chiefly as a baroque ensemble, the orchestra presented all of Handel's Concerti Grossi, Opus 6 in its first season (1976-7). The orchestra's 1989-90 five-concert series, although featuring many baroque works, had a wide-ranging repertoire.
Thirteen Strings has presented works by Sir Ernest MacMillan and Harry Somers, and premiered John Reeves' Compline Cantata (1980), Patrick Cardy's Virelai (with James Campbell, 1985), Manus Sasonkin's Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings (with Colin Tilney, 1988), Gary Kulesha's Serenade for Strings (1988), Srul Irving Glick's Divertimento for Strings (1988), Derek Holman's Serenade for Clarinet and String Orchestra (with Campbell, 1989), and Steven Gellman's Burnt Offerings (1990). In 1988 the orchestra performed for the final round of the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers, and in 1990 it collaborated with the CMHS, Opera Lyra, and the Cantata Singers of Ottawa in a program of excerpts from early Canadian opera.
Soloists with Thirteen Strings have included Lawrence Cherney, Gerald Danovitch, Andrew Dawes, Gerald Finley, Rivka Golani, Norbert Kraft, Mark Pedrotti, Catherine Robbin, Erik Shultz, and Colin Tilney, as well as several NACO players. Concertmasters have been John Gaszi 1976-84, succeeded by Jerry Csaba.
Concerts have been held at St Matthew's Church, Christ Church Cathedral, Notre Dame Basilica, and, beginning in 1988, St Andrew's Church. The orchestra has been broadcast frequently by CBC radio and appeared at the Festival of the Sound in 1985, 1986, and 1989.