Press Room

Montreal Symphony & Zubin Mehta Reunite for Historic Anniversary Concert, Streaming from Feb 15 as Upbeat to Live Spring Lineup

Conductor Emeritus Zubin Mehta (photo: courtesy of the Montreal Symphony)

Last Saturday, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) welcomed back Conductor Emeritus Zubin Mehta on the 60th anniversary of his leading the orchestra on its first international tour, for a program of Brahms and Wagner. Available for streaming for three weeks from February 15, this historic concert helps kick off the ensemble’s full spring of live and streamed performances. Highlighted by a pair of programs under the baton of Music Director Designate Rafael Payare (April 20 & 21; May 31–June 2); a collaboration with distinguished Artist-in-Residence Michael Tilson Thomas (March 9–13); guest appearances by artists including Ryan Speedo Green and Daniil Trifonov; the world premieres of new commissions from two Canadian composers (April 5; May 18 & 19); and a total of six new webcasts, the OSM’s spring lineup is of the world-class caliber that audiences have rightly come to expect from the only Canadian nominee for Gramophone’s prestigious 2021 Orchestra of the Year award.

Zubin Mehta was appointed as the fifth Music Director of the Montreal Symphony at just 24 and went on to make an outstanding contribution to the orchestra. Last Saturday, 60 years after leading the ensemble on its first international tour, the venerable conductor returned as OSM Conductor Emeritus to lead the overture to Rienzi and the Prelude and “Liebestod” (orchestral version) from Tristan und Isolde in homage to his friend, colleague and fellow Wagnerian, former OSM Managing Director Pierre Béique, before concluding with an account of Brahms’s hauntingly enigmatic Fourth Symphony. Performed without audience in accordance with Quebec’s current health and safety regulations, Mehta’s historic 60th anniversary concert will be available for streaming on demand from February 15 through March 8.

Ever “electrifying in front of an orchestra” (Los Angeles Times), Music Director Designate Rafael Payare makes two appearances on the OSM podium this spring. First he leads a program of French tone poems and Russian piano concertos, in which Dukas’s La Péri and Debussy’s La mer bookend concertos by Prokofiev and Schnittke, both with Grammy winner Daniil Trifonov – “without question the most astounding pianist of our age” (The Times of London) – as soloist (April 20 & 21; streaming on demand: May 10–31). Next, to draw their first season together to a close, the Venezuelan maestro helms the Montreal Symphony in a pairing of two German choral masterworks: Brahms’s Schicksalslied (“Song of Destiny”) and Beethoven’s incomparable Ninth Symphony. For this they will be joined by the OSM Chorus and a stellar quartet of vocalists: Karina Gauvin, “the Canadian soprano with almost a cult-like following” (American Record Guide); Canadian-born mezzo-soprano Sophie Harmsen, known for her “luxurious vocal riches” (Herald Scotland); Quebec-born tenor Frédéric Antoun, who “commands a full and lush sound capable of refined lyricism” (Montreal Theatre Hub); and Grammy-winning American bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green, a bona fide “rising star in the opera world” (New York Times) (May 31; June 1 & 2).

OSM regularly undertakes ongoing creative collaborations, and this year’s Artist-in-Residence is eleven-time Grammy-winner Michael Tilson Thomas, Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, Music Director Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony, and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. Thomas joins the orchestra for a program combining Schubert’s Ninth Symphony with Grieg’s “Våren” and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, featuring young Russian piano phenomenon Alexander Malofeev (March 9, 10 & 13; streaming on demand: April 19–May 10).

The world premieres of two new OSM commissions complete the orchestra’s spring highlights. Canadian film composer Gabriel Thibaudeau conducts the first performance of his own original music for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, accompanied by a screening of the classic 1923 motion picture (April 5), while guest conductor Jordan de Souza, one of the “new generation leading Berlin’s classical scene” (New York Times), leads the orchestra’s first accounts of Weltengeist, a new commission from Quebec composer Simon Bertrand (May 18 & 19).

New webcast series

To complement this live lineup, Montreal Symphony offers a rich digital program of six new webcasts to be released over the coming months. Each available for streaming on demand over a three-week period, these include three programs in addition to those detailed above, led by Thomas Søndergård, Xian Zhang and Payare respectively. To contextualize the featured repertoire, each digital release will be enhanced with exclusive supplementary content, including interviews with conductors, soloists, musicologists and other specialists. A complete list is provided below, and full streaming and ticketing details are available here.

Tickets, information, and health and safety

Full details of the Montreal Symphony’s current season are provided below; tickets and further information are available here or by calling the following numbers: (514) 842-9951 and (888) 842-9951. Audience numbers will be capped in compliance with the latest health and safety regulations.

About the Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1934 by Wilfrid Pelletier, Antonia Nantel and Athanase David, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) is a distinguished leader of Canadian musical life and an essential cultural ambassador. Under the leadership of Venezuelan Music Director Designate Rafael Payare, the orchestra continues its commitment to far-reaching projects and international tours, as well as to its superb discography and long history of community engagement. Firmly anchored in today’s world, OSM’s innovative approach to artistic programming brings modern-day relevance to the symphonic repertoire, both live and on disc, while strengthening the orchestra’s place at the heart of its Quebec metropolis home. Over the years, the Montreal Symphony has toured throughout Canada and beyond, traveling to Quebec’s far north as well as to the United States, South America, Europe and Asia. Totaling more than a hundred recordings on the Decca, Analekta, CBC Records, ECM, EMI, Philips and Sony labels, OSM’s discography has been recognized with more than 50 national and international awards.

High-resolution photos are available here.

Montreal Symphony Orchestra: upcoming live engagements

Feb 16 & 17
Webcast available for streaming on demand from March 29 through April 19; see below
Xian Zhang, guest conductor
DVOŘÁK: Romance in F minor (with Andrew Wan, violin)
ANA SOKOLOVIĆ (OSM Composer-in-Residence): Ringelspiel
SMETANA: Excerpts from Má Vlast [My Country]

March 2 & 3
Mélanie Léonard, guest conductor
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR: Hiawatha Overture
HANNAH KENDALL: The Spark Catchers
DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”

March 9, 10 & 13
Webcast available for streaming on demand from April 19 through May 10; see below
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (OSM Artist-in-Residence)
GRIEG: Two Elegiac Melodies, No. 2: “Våren”
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Alexander Malofeev, piano)
SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 9

March 29 & 30
Dina Gilbert, guest conductor
(With hip-hop artists Koriass, Alaclair Ensemble, FouKi, QuietMike and Dead Obies)
“OSM to the Hip-Hop Beat”

April 5
Gabriel Thibaudeau, guest conductor
(with Jean-Willy Kunz, OSM organist-in-residence; Andréanne Brisson Paquin, soprano)
GABRIEL THIBAUDEAU: original music for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (world premiere)

April 13 & 14
Paul McCreesh, guest conductor
(with Marie-Sophie Pollak, soprano; TBA, alto; Julian Prégardien, tenor; Werner Güra, tenor; Tareq Nazmi, bass; OSM Chorus; Andrew Megill, chorusmaster; Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal; Andrew Gray, choral director; TBA, stage director)
BACH: St. Matthew Passion

April 20 & 21
Webcast available for streaming on demand from May 10 through May 31; see below
Rafael Payare, OSM Music Director Designate
DUKAS: La Péri
SCHNITTKE: Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (with Daniil Trifonov, piano)
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Daniil Trifonov, piano)

May 2–5
Dina Gilbert, guest conductor
(with IAM)
IAM: L’école du micro d’argent (selections)

May 18 & 19
Jordan de Souza, guest conductor
MOZART: Symphony No. 31, “Paris”
RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G (with Francesco Piemontesi, piano)
SIMON BERTRAND: Weltengeist (world premiere of OSM commission)
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 9

May 25 & 26
Juraj Valčuha, guest conductor
SIBELIUS: The Oceanides
BRAHMS: Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor (with Liza Ferschtman, violin; TBA, cello)
NIELSEN: Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable”

May 31; June 1 & 2
Rafael Payare, OSM Music Director Designate
(With Karina Gauvin, soprano; Michèle Losier, mezzo-soprano; Frédéric Antoun, tenor; Ryan Speedo Green, bass; OSM Chorus; Andrew Megill, chorusmaster)
BRAHMS: Schicksalslied
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9

Montreal Symphony Orchestra: upcoming webcast releases

Streaming Feb 15–March 8
Zubin Mehta, OSM Conductor Emeritus
(live without audience: Feb 2022)
WAGNER: Rienzi Overture
WAGNER: Tristan und Isolde, Prelude and “Liebestod” (orchestral version)
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 4

Streaming March 8–29
Thomas Søndergård, guest conductor
(live: Oct 2021)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Yefim Bronfman, piano)
DOROTHY CHANG: Precipice (world premiere of OSM commission)
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 5

Streaming March 29–April 19
Xian Zhang, guest conductor
(live: Feb 2022; see above)
DVOŘÁK: Romance in F minor (with Andrew Wan, violin)
ANA SOKOLOVIĆ (OSM Composer-in-Residence): Ringelspiel
SMETANA: Excerpts from Má Vlast [My Country]

Streaming April 19–May 10
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (OSM Artist-in-Residence)
(live: March 2022; see above)
GRIEG: Two Elegiac Melodies, No. 2: “Våren”
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Alexander Malofeev, piano)
SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 9

Streaming May 10–31
Rafael Payare, OSM Music Director Designate
(live: April 2022; see above)
DUKAS: La Péri
SCHNITTKE: Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (with Daniil Trifonov, piano)
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Daniil Trifonov, piano)

Streaming May 31–June 21
Rafael Payare, OSM Music Director Designate
(postponed; live date TBC)
BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 7

Contributions from the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s public partners are essential to its operations. OSM wishes to acknowledge its main public partner, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, as well as Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Quebec, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal. OSM is proud of its support from loyal sponsors, and gratefully acknowledges its Presenting Sponsor, Hydro-Québec; its Season Presenter, BMO; and its Major Series Sponsor, Power Corporation of Canada. It also wishes to express its gratitude to the OSM Foundation, Volvo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, McKinsey, Sélection Retraite, Yimby, Fondation J.A. DeSève, Le Groupe Maurice, Canada Life, National Bank, BBA, Cogeco, Fondation Groupe Forget, Charton-Hobbs, DoubleTree by Hilton Montreal, ESKA, IRIS, Ritz-Carlton Montreal, Solotech and Clarins. OSM is likewise grateful to its other donors and partners, as well as to its subscribers and audiences, who in many different ways provide essential support to its activities. The Artists-in-Residence program is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Rossy Foundation and the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique has been generously gifted to OSM by Madame Jacqueline Desmarais.

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© 21C Media Group, February 2022


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