Magnificent concert tonight at the Tonhalle! Maestro Nagano was delighted of this first step of the tour, which was a real success. It was very emotional to hear Wagner in a hall where he conducted. The exceptional accoustics of the hall permitted the audience to appreciate the OSM at the top of its form. After a few days under the sun in Zurich, we are headed to Bern tomorrow morning, where Maestro will do a few interviews before heading to the Kultur-Casino Bern for rehearsals. We are definitely going to miss Zurich, a city where the opera, the Museum of Fine-Arts and universities rival are among the best in the world.
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal first headed to Zurich for the first time 30 years ago, in 1984, for the OSM’s 50th season. The OSM visited Zurich in 1987, 1991 and finally in 2014.
During the 1987 tour, under the direction of Charles Dutoit, the OSM travels from London to Zurich.
Unexpected development: Due to a problem while changing planes, the OSM only received the scores for the strings section. The timpani were also lost during travel and will arrive only 20 minutes before the concert. The musical program was therefore changed rapidly; the OSM had scores thanks to the generosity of the Zurich Tonhalle. Of the entire original program, the only unchanged piece was Dvořák’s cello concerto performed by soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Tonight, the OSM launches their European tour with their first concert at the Tonhalle in Zurich. Tonight’s soloist is Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin, who will perform to Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 2.
He shares a few of his memories and gives us a small introduction to Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 2 and his approach to the piece.
125 people on tour makes, it is certain, a lot of luggage. However, when it comes to a symphonic orchestra, luggage is not the only thing we have to carry…
Here is an overview of the reunion of some of the musicians with their beloved instruments.
Our collaborators: Kent Nagano, our musicians, our soloists, specialists like our tour director and our archivist – will help you discover why the OSM enjoys an international reputation… while lifting the veil on some secrets! Follow some of our collaborators on social media! On Facebook: Nathan Brock, conductor in residence Paul Merkelo, solo trumpet On Twitter: Sébastien Almon, director, tour and artistic operations @sebastienalmon Maxime Lataille, personal assistant to the Read More ...
It can’t be easy to travel with 125 people through 4 countries and 9 cities, all in just 18 days! Our tour director, Sebastien Almon, gives us an idea of what this massive task could imply.
So the European tour in a few numbers; we will have 11 concerts between March 11 to March 25 in 4 countries, 9 cities and we will be 125 people on the road with a huge cargo of 6 tones and 100 cases. For all these people, we had to reserve 2000 hotel rooms and 900 plane tickets.
The organization of the tour starts 2 years before the date of departure. The first contact with our booking agent in London is made. He will contact the various local promoters and will organize the concerts. So 2 years before, we already start the discussions around the cities; which cities the OSM would like to perform in, which cities are interested to host the OSM, what program we would like to present and with which soloists.
This planning takes around 6 months to be finalized. During these 6 months, there are communications between the booking agent and the OSM to discuss the program, the itinerary. Little by little, the discussions with the concert halls are done, some confirm, some can’t. Normally, a year and a half before the departure all of this is finalized. We can now start to work on the precise itinerary: the transport, how we will organize it, what are the logistics operations. Transporting a cargo through Europe is not an easy task. We also work on the budget; I make sure everything stays in the budget allotted to me by the OSM direction. This work takes around 18 months and 12 months before departure.
A year before departure, we start signing contracts with the concert halls, the big suppliers, I book the plane tickets , hotel rooms and little by little we get into the heart of the logistics operation which include the transport of the musicians and the cargo. We are now 10 days before we head off, we are finalizing the hotel lists and transport lists. When we will leave on March 8, normally everything would’ve been planned, even the unpredictable.
During the tour, the tour director is the one with the watch. A tour is a huge organization and everything is timed to the minute. There are a lot of schedules to respect, transport, concerts, and rehearsals. We have to make sure that we respect the clauses of the collective agreement that binds us to the musicians. So my job is to make sure that everything that was planned happens at the right time. My second job is to make sure that the musicians are happy, to make sure that they are healthy and that they stay healthy.
It is a bit like an athlete’s journey, 11 concerts in 4 countries in 3 weeks with a lot of traveling, hotel changes, airport etc.
My responsibility is that each musician in the evening when they step on stage, to be in their best shape, for them to perform at the top of their game and give incredible performances, like the ones they give in Montreal.
Stéphane Levesque, OSM’s solo bassoon, is giving you the chance to win one of the 10 pairs of tickets to see the concert OSM EXPRESS: Kent Nagano & Stravinsky’s Petrushka on March 6th at 7 p.m.
Click on this post, listen to his question and write the right answer in the comments section below.
The first 10 people with the right answer will win the tickets. The contest ends on March 5th at 10 a.m. Good luck!
Audiences in Europe are not the only ones excited to see the OSM perform. Maestro Kent Nagano and the musicians are as eager to present their carefully crafted musical program to the European public.
People often ask what makes the OSM so special, so different from other North American orchestras, maestro Nagano gives us his answer:
The OSM in Europe and in Soviet Union
It was in 1962 that the OSM made its first overseas tour. The tour started in Soviet Union and continued in Europe. The Orchestra performed in Moscow, Leningrad (now St-Petersburg), Kiev, Vienna and Paris. Zubin Mehta assumed the role of musical director and was assisted by conductor Jacques Beaudry for the contemporary repertoire.
Each program presented as part of this tour included a Canadian piece. Works from Quebec composers including Roger Matton and Jean Vallerand were heard as well as a piece from Canadian composer Harry Sommers. These works were performed under conductor Jacques Beaudry.
The soloists included Montreal-born pianist Ronald Turini as well as soprano Teresa Stratas from Toronto.
Joannie Lajeunesse can be considered as OSM’s guardian of the past.
As our archivist, she will dig deep into the OSM’s 80 years of history and reveal treasures of the OSM on tour throughout the years. Here is what she has to say about the important role of the archivist and what will be her role while the musicians and Kent Nagano travel the old continent.
My role at the OSM is to conserve and preserve the archives in the best possible conditions, whether it’s the temperature or the controlled humidity levels.An archive is any historic, legal or administrative document. I will concentrate on the historic documents for the moment. Among the documents we preserve, there are obviously the concert programs; there are all of the OSM recordings.
Since 1935, we preserve all the newspaper articles about the OSM in scrapbooks. We also have in our possession numerous photographs that date since the beginning of the Orchestra.
It’s important to mention that archives are meant to be published. Archives that are kept in boxes are not archives. My goal is to publish our archives and if researchers, musicologists or clients have any questions, I am here to answer!
During the OSM tour, I will try to find archives to post on our social media platforms. For example we will have the programs; we will put them online so you will be able to see them.
The programs for the OSM tour in Russia in 1962, we also have newspaper articles, you have the hall in Geneva, the hall the OSM will visit during the upcoming tour and the hall in Berne. Finally, I want to show you a last photograph of the concert in Leningrad in 1962, which was led by Zubin Mehta.
So, I will continue throughout the tour to put pictures and archives online for you to see.