Founded in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) is a distinguished leader of musical life in Quebec and Canada. Internationally recognized as one of the finest orchestras in the world owing to its core activity of performing the vast orchestral repertoire with internationally renowned conductors and soloists, the OSM is also an essential cultural ambassador. Under the direction of American conductor Kent Nagano since 2006, the OSM perpetuates several rich traditions rooted in its long history of social involvement and embodied in far-reaching projects, world class tours, and a superb discography.
The excellence and vision of the OSM have been shaped over the years by its music directors: Wilfrid Pelletier, a Montrealer by birth and first artistic director of the Orchestra, Désiré Defauw, Igor Markevitch, Zubin Mehta, with whom the Orchestra toured in Europe for the first time, Franz-Paul Decker, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, who collaborated with the OSM for close to 25 years, and, since September 2006, Kent Nagano.
In September 2011, the OSM under Kent Nagano inaugurated its new home, the Maison symphonique de Montréal. The construction of this concert hall was made possible thanks to the Government of Québec. The hall’s acoustics and theatre design bear the signature of the firm Artec Consultants Inc. Its architecture was entrusted to a consortium consisting of Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. and Ædifica Architects.
The OSM has a long history of performances on tour: some forty tours in addition to numerous concerts given throughout Canada and abroad. Its roadmap includes three tours to South America, ten to Asia, twelve to Europe, and several to the United States. During its first tour to Europe in 1962 under the direction of Zubin Mehta, the Orchestra performed in Vienna, Paris, Moscow, Kiev, and Leningrad, the first Canadian orchestra to do so. In September 2018, the OSM travelled to Quebec’s Great North for the second time in its own history. Under the direction of Kent Nagano, the Orchestra recently performed in the cities of Kraków and Salzburg, becoming the first Canadian orchestra to appear at the prestigious Salzburg Festival. Other recent tours have brought the Orchestra to the United States, China, Japan, Europe, and South America. In March 2019, the OSM will appear in nine European capitals, from Düsseldorf to Berlin via Hamburg, Essen, Vienna, Paris, Brussels, Munich, and Regensburg. Next Fall, it embarks on its fourth tour of South America.
The OSM’s discography totals more than a hundred recordings on the Decca, Analekta, CBC Records, ECM, EMI, Philips, and Sony labels, earning more than 50 national and international awards. The OSM and Kent Nagano released the very first album of Leonard Bernstein’s opera A Quiet Place in the chamber version, all nine Beethoven Symphonies as well as an album devoted to the works of South Corean composer Unsuk Chin.
In 2015 the orchestra renewed its collaboration with Decca. Since then the label released L’Aiglon (2015), Danse Macabre (2016) and A quiet place (2018) with Kent Nagano and the OSM.
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