Browsing: Orchestral

MSO and OM back in business In a continental performing arts scene dominated by a whole lot of cancellation, Montreal is a hive of activity. Both the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (now entering a post-Kent Nagano interregnum) and the Orchestre Métropolitain (under Yannick Nézet-Séguin) have remarkably busy schedules in the Maison symphonique and elsewhere. Crowds might be reduced but there is no noticeable reduction in quality. With little to do in New York, YNS has an enhanced presence in his hometown. All his Maison symphonique concerts, September to December, are sold out, so best to act quickly on Prokofiev’s Peter and…

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Not your usual opening night. Small crowd. No mingling. No buzz. Except insofar as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Labadie proved itself equal on Sept. 11 to the repertoire at hand. This band has met only sporadically since March, mostly in popup chamber concerts that remained stubbornly under the radar. Apparently the players have not lost their team spirit and pride in playing well. Even in social-distance formation – 43 looking more like 60 as spread across the stage of the Maison symphonique – the MSO sounded like a balanced and cohesive ensemble. The start could not have been…

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The number 19 is a coincidence. Months after COVID-19 put public arts programming on hold, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra will perform 19 concerts for a live audience in the Maison symphonique from Sept. 11 to Dec. 9. “Our musicians will perform symphonic repertoire,” noted Madeleine Careau, the orchestra’s CEO, implicitly drawing a distinction between the lineup announced Thursday and the many chamber pop-up concerts given during the summer. “They need to play together, to keep this ability to play together.” The season opener, a Mozart and Beethoven program led by Bernard Labadie, will be disseminated live on the Medici.tv platform…

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The familiar setting is Bourgie Hall, festooned with microphones, lamps, music stands and cleared of audience chairs. Yannick Nézet-Séguin stands on a podium near the rear, facing forward, score to one side. Horns, trumpets and timpani are on the stage, other players on the floor. Everyone is moderately distanced but unmasked. There might be some techies in the balcony but no public as that word is normally understood. All of this in keeping, we are assured, with provincial guidelines on recording. “It’s what I like to call a jam session,” YNS said in a spoken introduction to the Friday afternoon…

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At merely 33 and looking half her age, Elim Chan is taking the world by storm. Born and raised in Hong Kong, despite coming from a non-musical family, she has always had music in her life. She played the piano, sang in choirs and played the cello in the Hong Kong Children’s Symphony Orchestra. The first celebrity to pique her interest in conducting was – wait for it – Mickey Mouse. When she watched the Disney icon in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Disney’s Fantasia, she thought it would be cool to become a conductor. While in Grade 3, Chan attended…

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Recent announcements from Minister of Culture Nathalie Roy have received mixed reviews from professionals in the field, in particular those working in the performing arts. In an open letter, Stéphane Laforest, conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Sherbrooke and the Sinfonia de Lanaudière, argues that government assistance only benefits part of the industry and neglects those employed as performers. At first, like many of my colleagues – especially people from the performing arts – I felt critical of the minister of culture. We were all shaken after two press conferences which announced the opening of drive-in cinemas and the allocation…

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Kent Nagano will inaugurate a series of live one-hour concerts on Saturday from the auditorium of the Maison de la Radio, the headquarters of Radio France. The conductor, who has been sequestered in Paris since the outbreak of the pandemic, leads a reduced and distanced Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France in Britten’s Fanfare for Three Trumpets; Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten and Spiegel im Spiegel; and Strauss’s Metamorphosen and Sextet from Capriccio. The concert will be broadcast live at 2 p.m. EST (8 p.m. in France) and can he heard on France Musique or seen as a livestream on…

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It was the day the music stopped – in future tense. On April 7 the City of Montreal decreed that no festivals, sporting events or public gatherings would be allowed on its “territory” through July 2 owing to the COVID-19 crisis. While it was not clear whether this announcement had any direct bearing on indoor performances, and Mayor Plante was heard telling CJAD that its decision was only for outdoor events which required a city permit, music presenters including the MSO promptly scrapped the balance of the 2019-20 season. The Orchestre Métropolitain, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and Les Violons…

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Montreal, April 1st 2020 – The current isolation measures are difficult for all music lovers, which is why l’Orchestre classique de Montréal chose to innovate and present a series of eight mini concerts online. It’s our way of offering audiences a taste of the upcoming season while bringing light and hope to the hearts of classical music enthusiasts. Starting Tuesday April 7, at 7:30 P.M., a featured soloist of the 2020-21 season will give a mini-concert on OCM’s Facebook page, taking the public on a journey of their favourite musical genres. Each 45 minute performance will unveil the programming details of our…

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Montreal, March 26, 2020 – In order to conform to the requirements and continued measures adopted by the government of Quebec, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal announces that all concerts scheduled up to May 24 inclusively* are cancelled. We still hope to offer you, as planned, the two end-of-season concerts leading to six performances conducted by Maestro Kent Nagano, from May 26 to 28 and from June 2 to 4. These are subject, of course, to public health guidelines. The OSM has been in existence for over 85 years as a not-for-profit organization, and never in its history has it faced a challenge…

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