August 15, 2011 – Montréal is agog! Since the first spade of earth was turned on the new concert hall for one of its major cultural institutions, the city has been waiting impatiently for the great day to arrive. Now, that much-anticipated day is almost here: on September 7, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) under the direction of its conductor Kent Nagano, will officially inaugurate its new home – the aptly named la Maison symphonique – with a program that includes works by Québec composers Claude Vivier, Gilles Tremblay and Julien Bilodeau, and a well-chosen finale, Beethoven’s exhilarating Ode to Joy from his Ninth Symphony.
Located in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles, on the eastern edge of Place des Arts, the rectangular hall (nicknamed “the shoebox”), with projecting balconies and a seating capacity of almost 2,000, has been designed exclusively as a music performance venue. Indeed, it provides music-lovers with a note-perfect watching and listening experience, yet also meets the needs of the most demanding musicians. The distinguishing feature of this elegant and intimate auditorium is its shell-like structure, which insulates it from all external sounds and vibrations. Because the structure is lined with wood, a material well-known for its exceptional acoustic properties, concert-goers are able to appreciate the full clarity and richness of each and every tone.
Although the OSM plans to use la Maison symphonique as its primary home, holding concerts and rehearsals there for some 240 days a year, the venue will also host other major orchestras, choirs, smaller ensembles as well as solo classical, jazz and popular performers. With its cutting-edge acoustic technology and a stage that can easily accommodate up to 120 musicians and 200 choristers, this new “shrine to music” is bound to become one of this city’s most popular tourist attractions for devoted and casual music-lovers alike.