Since its founding in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has distinguished itself as a leader in the orchestral life of Canada and Québec. A cultural ambassador of the highest order, the Orchestra has earned an enviable reputation internationally through the quality of its recordings and tours. The OSM carries on that rich tradition under the leadership of its music director, Kent Nagano, while featuring innovative programming aimed at underlining the relevance of orchestral repertoire in our lives and strengthening the Orchestra’s connection with the community.
In March 2019, Kent Nagano and the OSM will go on a Europe Tour, among others to the Berlin and Paris Philharmonie, the Concert House in Vienna and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Soloists of the tour will be pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Rafał Blechacz and the alto Marie-Nicole Lemieux.
The OSM and Kent Nagano presented the opening concert of the Salzburg Festival in July 2018 – the performance of Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion was also the debut of the orchestra at the Festival.
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 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.
Since 1962, the OSM has undertaken more than 60 tours in Canada and abroad. The Orchestra has carried out nine tours in Asia, ten in Europe and three in South America. Under the direction of Kent Nagano, the Orchestra has presented a concert at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris (2006) and done its first cross-Canada tour (2007) as well as a tour in both Japan and South Korea (2008) and a first European tour in over ten years (2009). In September 2008, Maestro Nagano and seven OSM musicians toured in Nunavik, in Northern Québec, performing Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale, narrated in Inuktitut. They also performed twice in Carnegie Hall (2008 and 2011), where the Orchestra played almost every year between 1982 and 2004 to full houses. In August 2011, they took part in the Edinburgh International Festival, for the first time in the Orchestra’s history. After a critically acclaimed tour in South America last spring, Kent Nagano and the OSM will embark on an extensive European tour in March 2014.
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has made over 100 recordings for EMI, Philips, CBC Records, Analekta, ECM and Sony as well as on its own label, which have earned it a total of 49 national and international awards. 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.
The orchestra is renowned for its innovative artistic projects, which have punctuated its history. During the 2008-2009 season, which marked the 75th anniversary of the Orchestra, the OSM presented Olivier Messiaen’s opera Saint François d’Assise, which received the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Grand Prize (2008). Also, the OSM’s 75th season was the subject of a documentary by director Bettina Ehrhardt, Montréal Symphony, named Best Canadian Film at the 2010 edition of the International Festival of Films on Art (Montréal).
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