Grammy Award-winning Maestro Kent Nagano has many special concerts planned as Music Director of the OSM (Orchestre symphonique de Montréal), to celebrate Montréal as a world capital of arts and culture during the city’s 375th anniversary in 2017.
The OSM’s current season is packed with many hotly-anticipated concerts. Here are a choice few:
The three-day Italian Festival presents the OSM under the direction of Carlo Rizzi in The Italian Violin: From Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to Paganini on March 14; Verdi & The Great Operatic Choruses with star soprano Marianne Fiset singing some of the finest Italian opera arias (including Ave Maria from Otello) on March 15; and The Pines of Rome & Famous Italian Film Soundtracks, which will showcase the music from such classic films as The Godfather, La Dolce Vita and Once Upon a Time in the West, on March 16.
A pairing generating a lot of buzz is famed British conductor Sir Andrew Davis who will direct pianist Louis Lortie and the OSM in a program that includes Chopin, Piano Concerto no. 1 in E minor, op. 11, and Tchaikovsky, Symphony no. 6 in B minor, op. 74, on April 6 and 8.
The hugely popular all-star OSM Pop Series has under the direction of associate conductor Simon Leclerc adapted the music of everybody from Mika to Blue Rodeo. On April 18, 19 and 20, it is the turn of Jacques Brel, one of the giants of French-language song. Some of the singers taking part in Brel Symphonic include Diane Tell and Quebec’s “Prince of Tenors” Marc Hervieux.
Then on May 17 and 18, Maestro Kent Nagano himself will conduct the OSM in Bernstein: From West Side Story to A Quiet Place. Leonard Bernstein was one of Nagano’s personal mentors. Bernstein wrote West Side Story in 1957 and the gay-themed opera A Quiet Place in 1984. “I was expected to assist at many of the rehearsals of Maestro Bernstein and one of productions he was conducting during the years I was with him was the second version of A Quiet Place,” Nagano says. “As Bernstein told me himself, some of his most innovative music lay within that score.” The OSM will be accompanied by a superb cast of classical singers, including baritone Gordon Bintner.
Nagano will also conduct the orchestra and Rafał Blechacz on piano in Shostakovich’s Final Symphony on May 24 and 25 before closing the OSM’s 2016-2017 season by joining forces with world-renowned multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory to create a new work entitled Symphony for Montréal on May 31 and June 1 and 2, to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Montréal.
All these concerts will be held at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal.
Then this summer, the OSM will continue Montreal’s 375th anniversary party when it joins forces with the Orchestre Métropolitain and the McGill Symphony Orchestra to present the free outdoor concert Montréal Symphonique on August 19. Presented at the foot of Mount Royal, the massive concert will feature more than 300 musicians, special guest pop artists and choral singers, all under the direction of Simon Leclerc, complete with special projections evoking the city and its inhabitants.
The OSM will end its summer with its hugely popular annual festival OSM Classical Spree (better known by locals by its French name, La Virée Classique), which this year runs from August 10 to 13. Five ticketed concerts have already been announced, including Journey to the Mediterannean on August 12, which will feature Nagano conducting the OSM and American Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin playing the famous Zorba’s Dance by composer Mikis Theodorakis. In addition, the OSM kicks off the festival each year with a big free outdoor concert for tens of thousands of classical-music lovers on the esplanade outside Olympic Stadium. For concert updates and tickets, visit vireeclassique.osm.ca.