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Montreal Symphony's 2014-15 Season to Feature ROMEO AND JULIET, L'AIGLON and More


Delighted to see the mandate of Kent Nagano continue until 2020, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal was filled with renewed enthusiasm today when it presented, at Maison symphonique de Montréal, a 2014-2015 season that is dazzling and richly diversified - a season that promises deep emotions! The 2014-2015 season offers a number of sensational programs built around major works of the repertoire, some of them large in scale and some of them discoveries. Classicism and modernity rub shoulders throughout the season. In the foyer Allegro at Maison symphonique, Kent Nagano, music director of the OSM, unveiled the details of the 2014-2015 programming, accompanied by Stéphane Lévesque, principal bassoon with the Orchestra, and Mylène Paquette, the navigator who did a solo crossing of the Atlantic last fall. The event was hosted by Jean-François Lépine, international analyst and music lover, in the presence of OSM chief executive officer Madeleine Careau. The announcement marks the launch of the subscription renewal campaign, which ends on April 25, and the new-subscription and single-ticket-sale campaign, which begins on April 28.

Musical director, Kent Nagano declared: "As the OSM enters our 81st season, there is great cause to celebrate. Now firmly at home in the Maison symphonique de Montréal, its acoustics tuned and celebrated throughout the world as a leading concert hall, with successful installation and the coronation of our new organ, we look forward to a season which brings fresh perspectives to the OSM repertoire.

From our opening concert featuring Berlioz' Romeo and Juliet to a rare performance of Arthur Honneger's L'Aiglon and our season finale of Wagner's Die Walküre, the 2014-2015 season offers ample opportunity for large-scale musical celebration, not to mention the newly installed majestic Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique whose tones will be heard throughout our entire season, performances by the OSM Chamber choir, and significant milestone anniversaries of a number of great historical figures, including Nielsen, Sibelius, Strauss and even Shakespeare.

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal is pleased to share the stage next season with many of the world's leading soloists, resident artists and conductors. In addition, as is our tradition, many of the OSM's exceptional artists will appear as soloists, chamber players and recitalists. Together our guests and the OSM are dedicated to bringing Montréal, Québec, Canada and the international community beyond the emotion, spirit, magic, power, and depth of the beauty of the world of symphonic music."

And Madeleine Careau, OSM chief executive officer, declared: "We are happy to be celebrating the renewal of Kent Nagano's mandate until 2020, and the 2014-2015 season will underscore in a wonderful way all our achievements. Unforgettable concert-events and series promise deep emotion to our loyal listeners and new music lovers while opening new doors to the future, notably by way of our larger-than-life instrument, the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique. We will be honoring our educational mission with the 75th anniversary of the OSM Standard Life Competition, a second Bal des enfants, and a good number of other projects. Our season will in particular be showcasing the outstanding talent of our musicians and of course be welcoming internationally renowned artists who will happily join us in thrilling to the sound of our exceptional home, Maison symphonique de Montréal."

Kent Nagano will be conducting, to open the season, Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet (September 10 and 11). He will also be found heading the OSM in Debussy's La mer and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé (September 17), Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (September 20) and Richard Strauss's Sinfonia domestica and Death and Transfiguration (September 21 and 23). Symphonic Crossing, the 3rd edition of Fréquence OSM inspired by the sea-going epic of navigator Mylène Paquette (September 27) promises to be spectacular. Fréquence OSM is presented in association with Espace musique. The season will continue with Schoenberg's Transfigured Night and Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony (November 19 and 20). Maestro Nagano is preparing a very special collaboration with OSM concertmaster Andrew Wan, in a complete reading of the Saint-Saëns violin concertos (November 26, 27 and 29). As the holiday season approaches (December 16 and 18), Kent Nagano will offer a program with tenor Vittorio Grigolo and Luc Beauséjour on the organ. In 2015, he will conduct the OSM in Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra (January 13, 14 and 15) and in Mendelssohn's "Reformation" Symphony (February 17, 18 and 19).

With an eye to making discoveries, Maestro Nagano then offers audiences two programs on the theme of the Orient in association with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and connected to the exhibit Benjamin Constant: The Pomp and Splendor of European Orientalism, which will be two of the don't-miss events of the season. Audiences will discover Adventures in the East (March 4 and 8), and with the much anticipated OSM Éclaté event Travels with Philip Glass (March 7), featuring the pianist and celebrated American composer. Also noteworthy is the opportunity to hear Varèse's Amériques (March 11 and 12) to mark the 50th anniversary of the composer's death, a large-scale work for orchestra rarely played (1922 version); this will be a premiere at the OSM. For the pièce de résistance, Kent Nagano will conduct the North American premiere of L'Aiglon, a collaboration between Jacques Ibert and Arthur Honegger, a musical drama based on the play by Edmond Rostand evoking the fate of Napoleon's son (March 17, 19 and 21). Finally, the OSM and Maestro Nagano continue their performances of concert versions of Wagner's operas with the presentation of the first act of The Valkyrie (May 27, 28 and 30), which will bring the dazzling season to a close.

Several musicians from the OSM will also be acting as soloists with the Orchestra. In addition to the collaboration of Kent Nagano and Andrew Wan that will see the entire set of Saint-Saëns violin concertos performed (November 26, 27 and 29), audiences can also hear, on February 19, Schumann's Konzertstück, a seldom heard work for four horns (with John Zirbel, Denys Derome, Catherine Turner and Jean Gaudreault) and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 (with violinist Richard Roberts, flutist Timothy Hutchins and harpsichordist Olga Gross). Harpist Jennifer Swartz will be showcased in the Amor! program (November 9). Principal cello Brian Manker, meanwhile, will perform the Khachaturian Concerto-Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra (March 26). And Andrei Malashenko, timpani, will be part of the next OSM Éclaté.

The chamber-music gifts of OSM musicians continue to be featured in a concert series presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Bourgie Hall. During the 2014-2015 season the musicians can be heard in a total of eight concerts, part of two series: the first in connection with works of art presented at the MMFA, and the second exploring the links between music and literature.

Music director of the OSM from 1961 to 1967, Zubin Mehta will revisit the Orchestra in Mahler's Third Symphony, the work comprising the program for the benefit concert on May 19. Among other guest conductors should be mentioned the visits of: Juraj Val?uha, who will conduct Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances (November 4, 6 and 9); for the first time, Masaaki Suzuki, in a Bach and Mendelssohn program (December 3, 4 and 7); also for the first time, Juanjo Mena, in Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony; Lawrence Foster, in the rarely given Enescu Third Suite; Sir Roger Norrington, in Schumann's First Symphony, "Spring"; John Storgårds, in a Scandinavian program (April 22, 23 and 26) to mark the 150th birthday of Sibelius and Nielsen; and Christoph Gedschold, in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11, "The Year 1905" (May 6 and 7). In an unusual program, notable finally is the presence of Timothy Brock conducting the Charlie Chaplin soundtrack he restored to accompany the masterpiece Modern Times (May 21).

These two undeniably great names on the international scene will collaborate exceptionally during the season with the OSM as artists in residence. They will join the Orchestra as part of orchestral concerts (Maxim Vengerov will play the double role of conductor and soloist in a Schumann/Tchaikovsky program), and will each present a recital in addition to offering masterclasses to young performers.

Following the recent inauguration of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique, the jewel of Maison symphonique, this 81st season will create a special place for the spectacular instrument, whether by way of a recital series or by integrating the organ - Opus 3,900 of Casavant Frères - into certain large-scale concerts and innovative programs. Hence, Olivier Latry (October 16), organist emeritus of the OSM, Jean-Willy Kunz, organist in residence, and two other Canadian organists (Isabelle Demers and William O'Meara) will be giving recitals in the course of the season.

The great tradition of the organ in Québec will be honored with our organist in residence, when he performs Jacques Hétu's Organ Concerto, Op. 68 (November 9). In addition, a magnificent concert brings together organ and voice, with Isabelle Demers and Marianne Fiset (February 21). A work by composer Tod Machover, inspired by Montaigne, for organ, brass quintet, electroacoustics and narrator will be premiered on May 16. In another vein, to breathe new life into a highly impressive art virtually forgotten today, organist William O'Meara will improvise a soundtrack to the 1925 version of the film The Phantom of the Opera directed by Rupert Julian (October 31). Moreover, the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique will be featured at preconcert events.

Under the direction of Andrew Megill, the OSM Chamber Choir will be heard in a Germanic program consisting of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn with organ (October 26), and the OSM Chorus in an Italian program that includes Verdi, again with organ (April 19). Moreover, the Chamber Choir will be giving the program The Stirring Sounds of Bach and Mendelssohn to conclude the Montreal Bach Festival. (The OSM is official symphonic partner of the Bach Festival.) And the Chamber Choir will begin a cycle of the cantatas of Bach on September 13 and 14 at Bourgie Hall.

Two season programs will be presented in December. The Messiah, a return visit guaranteed to delight audiences, will feature the OSM Chorus and a quartet of Canadian soloists, with the Orchestra led by Andrew Megill (December 9 and 10). The OSM is also happy to be welcoming for the first time the tenor Vittorio Grigolo, "Il Pavarottino," in a program under the direction of Kent Nagano consisting of both classical works and holiday favorites (December 16 and 18).

Again presented in association with Société Pro Musica, the OSM recital series continues to impress. It will consist of a duo made up of violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang (November 15), violinist Maxim Vengerov (February 23), pianist Lang Lang (March 13) and an exceptional trio made up of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Lynn Harrell and pianist Yefim Bronfman in scores by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky (April 9). In association with Show One, violinist Gidon Kremer will be back, this time in tandem with young pianist Daniil Trifonov (February 25).

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal will be hosting Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra (October 5), La Pietà and Angèle Dubeau (October 23), China's National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra (November 13) and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (May 9). The OSM, meanwhile, will perform at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on May 13.

The Orchestra will host numerous guest soloists, including pianists Benjamin Grosvenor (first appearance at the OSM), Boris Berezovsky, Emanuel Ax, Lang Lang, Nikolai Lugansky, Piotr Anderszewski, André Laplante and Alain Lefèvre, violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Christian Tetzlaff, Maxim Vengerov, Arabella Steinbacher and Augustin Dumay, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and sopranos Miah Persson and Heidi Melton, tenor Torsten Kerl and bass-baritone basse Philippe Sly.

As part of the series conducted by conductor and orchestrator Simon Leclerc, the OSM will have the pleasure of celebrating the 10th anniversary of Québec group Les Trois Accords on September 30 and October 1. Also, the OSM will welcome international star Mika, who will be performing for the first time with orchestra on February 10 and 11. Jean-Pierre Ferland will also appear with the Orchestra, alongside Florence K as guest artist, on April 28 and 29.

A great anniversary will be celebrated this season on the occasion of the 75th edition of the OSM Standard Life Competition, devoted this year to voice, brass and woodwinds, and boasting an exceptional jury chaired by Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, and on which Kent Nagano will sit (November 18 to 22). The finals will once again be held at Maison symphonique de Montréal and will be open to the general public, who last year turned out in considerable numbers. The winner will perform with the OSM under the direction of Sir Roger Norrington on Tuesday, April 14.

Three productions for young audiences will be staged this season. First of all, a reprise of the show that was a finalist at the Opus awards gala, The Magic of Mozart (November 16), with Mélanie Delorme, Éloi Cousineau and Daniel Clarke Bouchard, and secondly a new coproduction of the OSM and Platypus Theatre, a program based on Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (February 22). These two productions will be under the direction of OSM assistant conductor Dina Gilbert. The third production is called Classical Clown (May 3), a concert led by conductor Marc David, with mime Dan Kamin.

Beginning today, OSM subscribers are invited to renew their regular-series subscriptions. The renewal period runs to April 25, during which time they also benefit from priority in the purchase of additional tickets to all concerts. Beginning April 28, the general public will be able to purchase new subscriptions as well as single tickets.

The OSM again this season offers concerts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays (evenings and mornings), Saturdays and Sundays (afternoons), most of which are part of eight major series of six concerts each.

The OSM invites those 34 and under to be part of next season. A subscription, or the TD Classic special ticket rate, which have both proved to be very popular since the inauguration of the OSM's new home, Maison symphonique de Montréal, makes it possible for students and young professionals to enjoy seats in the choir and balcony for six concerts of their choosing or to attend the OSM Saturday Evenings series in the parterre. Moreover, special rates are offered to youngsters 17 and under who accompany an adult to OSM concerts.

The OSM box office can be reached at 514 842-9951. The public is invited to experience the online ticketing service, easier and friendlier now, on the OSM website,, at any time.

Photo Credit: Montreal Symphony Orchestra

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