SPECIAL COLLABORATION: Louis-Philippe Quesnel
The magnificent Maison symphonique de Montréal, near the site of Place des Festivals, in the Quartier des spectacles, was inaugurated in 2011. Annexed to Place des Arts, this elegant 2,100-seat concert hall is renowned for its warm atmosphere and exceptional acoustics.
Simply entering this hall, which is fully clad in Canadian beech, is an awe-inspiring experience. But it is when you hear the first notes ring out that its full splendour is revealed. The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal performs more than 100 concerts a year here.
If you believe that classical music in such a sumptuous space isn’t accessible to everyone, think again. According to Marianne Perron, the OSM’s Director of Music Programming, the Maison symphonique is truly Quebec’s community hall. She explains that the OSM regularly organizes “open house” events, especially during classical music competitions. The one held following the hall’s inauguration still holds the record for the highest attendance.
The OSM offers countless opportunities for as many people as possible to discover the richness of a musical experience at the Maison symphonique. Great examples are its pop and world music concerts, which see the orchestra step out of its classical tradition. Fans of Les Cowboys fringants, Ariane Moffatt and Half Moon Run recently had the chance to see these artists perform with the OSM.
The OSM also offers various promotions, such as attractive discounts for students and young adults, which make tickets to their concerts more affordable than might be imagined. And on certain evenings, you can even purchase seats in the section normally occupied by the chorus, directly behind the orchestra in front of the conductor, and take in a concert from another vantage point! I’ve done this and, while the acoustics are not as good as in front of the orchestra, it’s an experience I highly recommend.
Committed to forging ever stronger ties to the Montreal community, the OSM connects with the population through events like the Classical Spree Festival, which takes place in various venues around the Maison symphonique, and OSM in the Parks, featuring free concerts in several Montreal area parks. In addition, for the past few years, it has run a new free music program in the École Saint-Rémi Annexe, located in a disadvantaged Montreal neighbourhood. Thanks to this wonderful initiative by Music Director Kent Nagano, in partnership with the OSM and the Université de Montréal, preschoolers are discovering music with top musicians.
I strongly recommend that you put a Maison symphonique concert on your MUST list of Montreal cultural outings. The OSM’s rich and diverse programming has something for every taste and promises many memorable experiences!