OSM and Olivier Latry Inaugurate New Grand Organ Pierre-Beique

OSM and Olivier Latry Inaugurate New Grand Organ Pierre-Beique

It's tonight, June 2, that the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal inaugurated the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique during the inaugural concert, at the Maison symphonique de Montréal, led by Kent Nagano and with the participation of Olivier Latry, organist emeritus, and Jean-Willy Kunz, organist in residence of the OSM.

The public discovered for the first time this great organ for orchestra with its 6 489 pipes, 109 registers, 83 stops and 116 ranks, The organ inscribed in Casavant Frères as Opus 3,900.

The event was attended by Jacques Chagnon, President of the National Assembly, Hélène David, Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services, Yves Bolduc, Minister of Education, His Excellency Bruce Heyman, Ambassador of the United States to Canada, Marie Dupont, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Manon Gauthier, member of the Executive Committee and representative of the Mayor of Montreal, Sylvie Barcelo, Deputy Minister of Culture and Communications, as well as the co-presidents of the evening, Louis Vachon, President and CEO, National Bank, and Tom Little, President, Bell Business Markets. Also present were, Lucien Bouchard, chairman of the board of the OSM, Madeleine Careau, Chief Executive Officer and Pierre Béique's niece, Lise Powell.

"At the conclusion of our Orchestra's 80th season, it is with a very special emotion that the whole OSM welcome this evening the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique," stated Lucien Bouchard, chairman of the board of the OSM. "Three years after its inauguration, we could not have hoped for a greater addition to the Maison symphonique de Montréal. On behalf of us all I wish to convey our most heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais, who, in her generosity and her commitment to music, has made possible for the OSM to take possession of one of the finest mechanical-action organs in the world. This unique instrument, designed in Québec by the firm Casavant Frères in collaboration with Olivier Latry, organist emeritus, will perpetuate the memory of Pierre Béique, founder and first general director of the OSM (1939-1970). This majestic instrument is symbolic of a local expertise and of a rich tradition; it testifies of both our history and our place in the future music. It will act as a catalyst of creation and as a force that brings the entire musical community of Montreal and Quebec together."

"On this night of the inauguration of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique, I am able to admire with you the result of so many years' effort," said Jacqueline Desmarais. "I felt it was important to keep alive the name and legacy of Pierre Béique, founder and general manager of the Orchestra, a mentor, and especially, a very dear friend. Young and old alike will now be reminded concert after concert, of the inimitable contribution of this visionary who played a crucial role in the development of our orchestra and its reputation on the national and international scenes, thus enabling it to emerge as a true ambassador for our culture. For the past 80 seasons, the heart of the OSM's mission has always been the pursuit of excellence while keeping closely connected with its community. With the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique, this pledge is renewed for generations to come."

"Over the past three years Montrealers have come to know and love the exceptionally rich and nuanced acoustic properties of the Maison symphonique," declared Maestro Kent Nagano, Music Director of the OSM. "Today we are deeply gratified to share with you the final and crowning achievement of this remarkable project, the inauguration of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique, specially designed and configured by Casavant Frères in collaboration with Olivier Latry, organist emeritus, for the OSM's unique sound. The fruit of years of research, development and meticulous craftsmanship, we feel confident that this instrument is one of the very finest of its kind anywhere in the world. As a part of the orchestra, the organ offers vast possibilities for new sounds - it serves as an invitation to composers, performers and audiences to explore a rich new palette of musical colours and textures. But the organ, as a tradition and fixture in many historic halls both sacred and secular, also reminds us of the power and regenerative potential of coming together to experience great music. The resonance of an organ is universal, transcendent, and deeply rooted in our collective cultural memory. As such it has the potential to be both the symbol and the voice of community."

The Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique:

The organ at Maison symphonique de Montréal, inaugurated on May 28, 2014, was manufactured on behalf of the OSM by the house of Casavant with the collaboration of architects Diamond Schmitt + Ædifica for its visual design, and is the Orchestra's property. This is a large organ intended for orchestral use, and is recorded in the books of the Saint-Hyacinthe builder as Opus 3,900. It consists of 109 registers, 83 stops, 116 ranks and 6,489 pipes.

It bears the name Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique, in tribute to the OSM founder and first general manager (from 1939 to 1970). An astute administrator and a committed music lover, Pierre Béique took over from Dame Antonia Nantel, wife of Athanase David, who had acted, since 1934, as secretary of the Board of Directors of the Société des concerts symphoniques de Montréal, the forerunner of the OSM.

Purchase of this organ was made possible courtesy of Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais, who assumed the total cost and who in so doing, and with this designation, wished to keep alive the memory of the inimitable contribution made by Mr. Pierre Béique to the OSM's mission of excellence.

For more information, visit www.osm.ca.

Pictured: Olivier Latry, organist emeritus, who inaugurated the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique. Photo by Yannick Khong - Cosmos Image.