Once again, the contemporary music scene in Montreal promises a season full of concerts and new music experiences. Whether as sophisticated regulars of contemporary music, fans of instrumental or mixed music, or even intrigued by the exploding scene of digital music and sound installations, Montreal’s artistic community will fulfill your desires as cosmopolitan music lovers. Here is an overview of several events to schedule on your calendar.
La Société de musique contemporaine du Québec
For its 52nd season, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) [Quebec Contemporary Music Society] presents a colourful program with diverse influences. This year, the SMCQ will honour José Evangelista, composer of Spanish origin, for its 6th Tribute series. A concert with pianist Louise Bessette is planned for October 17 in the salle de Bourgie at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. With the theme of the National Day of Spain, three of Evangelista’s pieces for piano will be set off by other composers from the Iberian Peninsula: Federico Mompou, Enrique Granados et Ernesto Lecuona. Keep your eye also on the Montreal/ New Musics Festival. www.smcq.qc.ca
Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
This year, the NEM will start a season which will pave the way, unhurriedly, towards its 30th anniversary celebrations. NEM’s musicians will begin their 29th season in Toulouse, participating in Bypass’s third edition (le Forum de la jeune création musicale international) [Forum for Young International Music Creation], particularly with works by Bertrand Dubedout, Philippe Leroux and Denis Gougeon. The concert De Retour de Toulouse, presenting the repertoire performed in Europe, is scheduled for November 15 in Montreal. Earlier in the fall, NEM will meet up with the French ensemble CAIRN, led by Guillaume Bourgogne, to develop a work by composer Jérôme Combier. Matching SMCQ’s Tribute series, the ensemble conducted by Lorraine Vaillancourt will present José Evangelista’s piece Piano concertant with pianist Louise Bessette in the spring of 2018. This concert is bound to deliver a special dimension given that Evangelista has taught for over thirty years at the Faculty of Music in the Université de Montréal. NEM will close its season by turning the spotlight on upcoming talent, with a concert showcasing Keiko Devaux, the ensemble’s composer in residence, and conductor Dina Gilbert. Don’t miss the public performances held regularly at the Université de Montréal. www.lenem.ca
L’Ensemble contemporain de Montréal
L’Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary with a festive program, cadenced by contrasts. Under Véronique Lacroix’s baton, the ensemble’s season starts off with a tour in Vancouver for the World New Music Days, with soloists Andréa Tyniec (violin) and Krisztina Szebo (mezzo soprano). Ana Sokolović’s works and one of her creations will be performed there, as well as recent compositions by Martin Rane Bauck, Iñaki Estrada et Grzeforz Pieniek. The concert is scheduled for November 14 at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. The ensemble will also feature four young composers for the project Génération2018. This event, the upcoming talent’s beacon of light, will be interspersed with a series of mini-concerts and workshops. For the season’s wrap-up, fans of our national sport will be tempted to attend the musical creation Hockey Noir, André Ristic’s opera in May 2018 at the Monument-National. Apart from Montréal, ECM+ will also perform the opera in Ontario, the United States and Belgium. Like the playoffs, you won’t want to miss this event! www.ecm.qc.ca
This year, the renown Bozzini Quartet will have a strong presence in Canada, particularly in Toronto, Victoria and Edmonton, although it will also travel to Sweden and Scotland. Montrealers can take advantage of their concert Intention et Mémoire with pianist Philip Thomas on September 18 and 25 in the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur. The workshops, Performer’s Kitchen and Composer’s Kitchen, organized and directed by the quartet for musicians who wish to develop a career in contemporary music and perfect their knowledge and skills as interpreters as well as composers, will take place outside Canada at the start of the year, but will likely return. Whether as participant or as a spectator, it is an unforgettable experience. www.quatuorbozzini.ca
Also figuring in the many anniversaries, the renowned Molinari Quartet is celebrating its 20th year. Several quite diverse concerts are on the Montreal ensemble’s program. To mark the anniversary, the ensemble will launch a new concert series named Les Dialogues sur le Plateau. These musical workshops are an occasion for the public to become acquainted with the various pieces for string quartets through interacting with the musicians. The first one will take place November 5 at the Maison de la culture du Plateau-Mont-Royal. Another concert to watch for is the one celebrating Canadian composer Brian Cherney’s 75th birthday. www.quatuormolinari.qc.ca
Digital music followers have not been forgotten either with the festivals throughout the year. The AKOUSMA Festival, held October 23 to 28 this year, always offers interesting creations of electroacoustic and digital music. The Ondes Martenot will open the Festival with a concert highlighting the sixty-fifth year of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with two virtuoso ondists, the French Nadia Ratsimandresy and the Québécoise Estelle Lemire, instructor of the only class in America of this instrument. Both the curious and the fans of augmented instruments will certainly be tempted to catch Martin Marier’s Sponge Quintet on October 20 at the Eastern Bloc. Also, not to be missed is the Electrochoc concert series with, among others, James O’Callaghan, Chantal Laplante and Yves Daoust, as well as the Soundwich series dedicated to the next wave of artists. www.akousma.ca
Festival Ultrasons offers again this year a high quality experience of discovering digital musical works by the students and professors of the Faculty of Music at the Université de Montréal. The concert series starts this winter and continues through to April 2018.
Remember to stay tuned to the calendars of Le Vivier and the Gesù. Also keep an eye on the events of the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en musique, médias et technologie (CIRMMT) at McGill University and the Labo de Musique contemporaine de Montréal as well as the university and Conservatory students’ concerts.
Translation: Karine Poznanski