Travel Blog

16 Mar

A classical start to spring with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

One of the true crown jewels in Montréal’s rich cultural scene, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) is a gateway to an internationally acclaimed range of classical music. From within its slick, contemporary headquarters at the Maison symphonique de Montréal, it’s planning a spring full of treats for connoisseurs and newbies alike. Here are 10 concerts not to be missed between March and May.


Adventures in the East kicks off the month on March 4 (8 p.m.) and 8 (2:30 p.m.) with a program presented in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its exhibition Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: From Spain to Morocco, Benjamin-Constant in His Time. Directed by Kent Nagano, the concert features pieces by Saint-Saëns, Dukas and Strauss (“Dance of the Seven Veils”, from Salome), as well as the world premiere of works inspired by Sephardic and Arab-Andalousian songs by contemporary Montréal composer Kiya Tabassian.

The eastern inflections continue with the concert on March 7 (9 p.m.), Travels with Philip Glass, which unites the work of Tabassian and Dukas with that of groundbreaking composer Glass.

From March 11 to 13, flamboyant contemporary pianist Lang Lang is on the menu with two concerts, one titled Kent Nagano Greets Lang Lang (on March 11 and 12, 8 p.m.), the other titled Lang Lang in Recital (March 13, 8 p.m.). The repertoire for the first two nights will include Alleluia from Haydn’s Symphony No. 30 in C major, Varèse’s Amériques, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 in D major and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor. The recital, on the other hand, sees Lang Lang attack some of his usual favourites by his beloved Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Bach.

The Grand Return of a Star Cellist kicks of April with a bang, on April 1 and 2 (8 p.m.). The cellist in question is Alisa Weilerstein, winner of the prestigious Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation in 2011. She will interpret some Michael Forsyth, Bloch, Enesco and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas, of Fantasia fame.

Renowned German violinist Arabella Steinbacher will ring in spring once and for all on April 15 and 16 (8 p.m.), or at least Schumann’s Spring – the sunny repertoire includes the overture to Iphigenia in Aulis by Gluck, Violin Concerto, Op. 77, by Brahms, and of course, Spring from the Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major by Schumann.

April 28, 29 and 30 (8 p.m.) will underline a landmark for Québec icon Jean‑Pierre Ferland, a chansonnier who will celebrate his 80th birthday onstage at Ferland: 80th Birthday with the OSM. The party, orchestrated and conducted by Simon Leclerc, will feature a guest appearance by Florence K and lots of songs that will propel you down memory lane.

The whole family is invited to Classical Clown on May 3 (1:30 p.m.), when a clown (Dan Kamin) and a conductor (Marc David) compete for control of the orchestra. Laugh and listen as you watch the ridiculous battle play out to the sounds of Beethoven, Grieg, Britten and Stravinsky.

For the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, Kent Nagano directs pianist Piotr Anderszewski as he plays his romantically infused Symphony No. 2 during Kent Nagano Conducts Sibelus on May 12 and 14 (8 pm). The evening features some Mozart and Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, full of familiar themes that have been used in films, cartoons and ads.


Featuring the still-new organ at the Maison symphonique, the Time and Space evening on May 16 (8 p.m.) presents a program inspired by the riches of the Renaissance, including a multidisciplinary premiere by composer Tod Machover based on the essays of Montaigne.

It’s time for some Wagner on May 27, 29 and 30 (8 p.m.), as the OSM presents the first act of Die Walküre. Don’t miss the pre-concert organ recital by Jonathan Oldengarm, followed by some powerful singing by soprano Heidi Melton, widely regarded as one of the most promising Wagnerian sopranos since Flagstad and Nilsson, as well as tenor Torsten Kerl and bass Petri Lindroos.


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