Posted on May 3rd, 2010 by .

The month of May in Montreal is all about classical music. Before the sounds of the Jazz Fest fill the city’s streets, parks and concert halls, it seems only fitting that we begin with the music that came first…

Without classical music, the jazz, world, rock, rap and dance music found in the city’s other music festivals would not exist. Classical music isn’t old, it’s timeless. Montrealers appreciate this distinction and, in that spirit, here are a couple great events to help start your summer off on the right note…

We begin with the city’s beloved Montreal Symphony Orchestra and its superstar conductor, Kent Nagano. Though they have a full schedule of incredible events ahead, of special interest is their upcoming Beethoven week taking place from May 4-13. During that time they’ll be tackling all nine of his symphonies, his rarely heard triple concerto and the ballet score for The Creatures of Prometheus presented alongside an original text by author Yann Martel. Act now- tickets are going quickly.

The other real treat is the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, which focuses on the type of classical music written for a small group of instruments. You could call it the “kitchen party” of classical music. Whereas the symphony comes together under the vision of the conductor, chamber music is often likened more to an intimate conversation between instruments. Now in its 15th year, this fest is truly one of the cities’ great under-the-radar musical secrets. First off, all the concerts are set in the beautiful St James Church, which gives the music an incredible backdrop, both visually and sonically, from which to take flight. There’s also a little something for everyone: the “Classical” series, which brings some of the biggest names in chamber music to Montreal, the “Afiara” series ( see video above), which showcases some of Canada’s top young talents, and the “Jazz and Jeans” series, whose title tells you everything you need to know.

So, before your summer rocks out and gets jazzed up, consider going classical in Montreal during the month of May. Your ears will love you for it.

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