Since its founding in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has distinguished itself as a leader in the orchestral life of Canada and Québec. A cultural ambassador of the highest order, the Orchestra has earned an enviable reputation internationally through the quality of its recordings and tours. The OSM carries on that rich tradition under the leadership of its music director, Kent Nagano, while featuring innovative programming aimed at underlining the relevance of orchestral repertoire in our lives and strengthening the Orchestra’s connection with the community.
The excellence and vision of the OSM have been shaped over the years by its music directors: Wilfrid Pelletier, a Montrealer by birth and first artistic director of the Orchestra, Désiré Defauw, Igor Markevitch, Zubin Mehta, with whom the Orchestra toured in Europe for the first time, Franz-Paul Decker, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, who collaborated with the Orchestra for close to 25 years, and, since September 2006, Kent Nagano.
Over the years, the OSM has undertaken some forty excursions and tours. The Orchestra has carried out nine tours in Asia, eleven tours in Europe and three in South America. Under the direction of Kent Nagano, the Orchestra has presented a concert at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris (2006) and done its first cross-Canada tour (2007) as well as a tour in both Japan and South Korea (2008) and a first European tour in over ten years (2009). In September 2008, Maestro Nagano and seven OSM musicians toured in Nunavik, in Northern Québec, performing Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale, narrated in Inuktitut. They also performed twice in Carnegie Hall (2008 and 2011), where the Orchestra played almost every year between 1982 and 2004 to full houses. In August 2011, they took part for the first time in the Orchestra's history in the Edinburgh International Festival. After a critically acclaimed tour in South America last spring, Kent Nagano and the OSM will embark, in March 2014, on an extensive European tour.
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has made over 100 recordings for Decca, EMI, Philips, CBC Records, Analekta, ECM and Sony as well as on its own label, which have earned it a total of 50 national and international awards.
The OSM is renowned for its innovative artistic projects, which have punctuated its history. During the 2008-2009 season, which marked the 75th anniversary of the Orchestra, the OSM presented Olivier Messiaen's opera Saint François d'Assise, which received the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Grand Prize (2008). Also, the OSM’s 75th season was the subject of a documentary by director Bettina Ehrhardt, Montréal Symphonie, named Best Canadian Film at the 2010 edition of the International Festival of Films on Art (Montreal).
On September 7, 2011, the OSM under Kent Nagano inaugurated its new home, the Maison symphonique de Montréal. The construction of this concert hall was made possible thanks to the Government of Québec. The hall's acoustics and theatre design bear the signature of the firm Artec Consultants Inc. Its architecture was entrusted to a consortium consisting of Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. and Ædifica Architects.
The OSM wishes to thank Hydro-Québec, its Presenting Sponsor.
Festival Montréal en lumière
Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
A portrait by Larry Weinstein