Festival de Lanaudière: An Exceptional Year, Reunited Again!

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

Joliette, August 10, 2021 — The Festival de Lanaudière concluded its massively successful 2021 edition this weekend, wrapping up an auspicious return to large-scale concerts before vast audiences. In total, more than 18,000 festival-goers attended this summer’s programming of concerts and recitals in different venues, in addition to enjoying a new component of free musical walks-in-the-parks.

Owing to several changes of distancing measures and the partial reopening of the Canada-USA border, many surprises awaited the Festival team this summer, even after announcing the event’s artistic programming on June 17. These surprises, however, turned into unforgettable moments: a few days after the easing of border restrictions, the Festival was able to announce a concert reunion with Kent Nagano whose 1500 seats sold out in less than 48 hours!

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“This success would never have been possible without the unconditional enthusiasm of our audience and the openness of institutions and artists with whom we collaborate. This edition demonstrated the exceptional talent of members of the Canadian music scene, in addition to showing the extent to which we all crave collective experiences. It was, in a sense, a rebirth, as much for the Festival as for music in Quebec as a whole,” affirmed Artistic Director Renaud Loranger.

“Several moments of this edition were extremely moving. We have received countless testimonials from festival goers, partners, volunteers, and artists, who all seem to have been stirred by this return to an—almost—normal concert experience. It was a year we will all certainly remember!” remarked General Manager Xavier Roy.


The past four weeks featured countless fine moments, as the Region of Lanaudière resonated to the sounds of eleven large-scale concerts at the Amphithéâtre Fernand-Lindsay and five recitals in Lanaudière’s most beautiful churches.

Two new features this year transported the Festival beyond its usual venues. Fifteen free performances in the parks and public spaces of Greater Joliette were offered by various artists including Vincent Lauzer, Ariane Brisson and Elinor Frey. Also, four fee-based online broadcasts of this season’s major concerts enabled the Festival to reach out to audiences all around the world.

In collaboration with Place des Arts, the City of Joliette and the municipalities of Saint-Charles-Borromée and Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, the Festival also offered its 15th edition of four musically themed free movie screenings.

Looking Back on a Few Great Moments at the Amphithéâtre

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal graced the stage a total of four times this season, and the greatest surprise this year was, without any doubt, the concert conducted by Kent Nagano with soprano Hélène Guilmette. Jacques Lacombe also gave us three other magnificent OSM programs, joined by Mélisande McNabney on one occasion and by Bryan Cheng on another. The OSM Chorus—without its orchestra!—directed by Chorusmaster Andrew Megill fittingly transported audiences through centuries of music inspired by love and nature.

The Festival welcomed Les Grands Ballets Canadiens bringing us the world premiere of Requiem in a choreography by Andrew Skeels to the music of Brahms’ German Requiem. Festival-goers had the opportunity of attending two concerts by Les Violons du Roy conducted by Nicolas Ellis, with Canadian virtuoso violinist Kerson Leong, and Quebec soprano Karina Gauvin, who is one of the world’s most revered voices.

The Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin took up residence in Lanaudière for the last weekend of the Festival. Together with the “pianist of all pianists” Marc-André Hamelin, they performed Beethoven’s five concertos in two consecutive evenings, an outstanding musical tour de force! To conclude the season, the OM performed, among other works, Dvorák’s Symphony “From the New World,” one of the best-loved works of the symphonic repertoire, and gave the premiere of a piece by Canadian composer Barbara Assiginaak.

Concerts in Churches

Concerts in churches are highly appreciated by a public that also seeks more intimate contact with musicians, and this year they were veritable treats for the ears. The Molinari Quartet and Catherine Perrin performed ten of La Fontaine’s Fables to the sounds of Jean-Philippe Rameau, Samuel Barber and Quebec composer Denis Gougeon. Harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney offered the warmth and pleasure of a recital of French Baroque music. Canadian soprano and pianist Rachel Fenlon self-accompanied her singing in a recital simply out of this world, featuring art songs by Schubert, Debussy, Grieg, and Messiaen.

Prize-winning pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin performed the complete cycle of Chopin’s Preludes, preceded by works by Mozart. He also gave a duo recital with Andrew Wan (the OSM’s Concertmaster) of the complete Violin Sonatas by Robert Schumann.

Thanks to Our Partners

The Festival de Lanaudière gratefully acknowledges its main partners, who directly contribute to maintaining the Festival’s high artistic and client services standards: our Sponsor and Presenter Hydro-Québec, in collaboration with La Presse, the Government of Quebec, Tourisme Québec, the Government of Canada, the City of Joliette, Desjardins, Yamaha Music, Power Corporation of Canada, Ratelle, Canimex, the Société de la Place des Arts, the Fondation J.-A. DeSève, the Azrieli Foundation, the Fondation Sandra et Alain Bouchard as well as other municipalities in the Region, notably Saint-Charles-Borromée and Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, as well as several partners in the sectors of culture, media, hospitality, and dining.

Finally, the Festival de Lanaudière extends heartfelt thanks to its team of volunteers, the Friends of the Festival (Ami(e)s du Festival), for their dedication and fabulous customer service.

See You Soon for the 45th Great Event!

The Festival de Lanaudière is already preparing its 45th season. We invite you to follow us via the website homepage lanaudiere.org, or on Facebook.

About the Festival de Lanaudière

The Festival de Lanaudière is the largest classical music festival in Canada. Founded in 1978, it welcomes over 50,000 members of the public each year for concerts featuring some of the greatest artists on the national and international scene, primarily at the Amphithéâtre Fernand-Lindsay in Joliette and in some of the region’s most beautiful churches. The Festival is a member of the Regroupement des événements majeurs internationaux (REMI).

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


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