Follow Kent Nagano and the OSM in Europe! The OSM lead, throughout its history, some forty excursions and tours. Follow this new adventure day by day in company of OSM`s musical director, soloists, our musicians and members of the administrative staff. Backstage interviews, testimonies, highlights of the cities and venues visited and much more… not to be missed!

Over the course of fifteen days we have played eleven concerts in nine different cities with programmes featuring twelve major symphonic works, including Berlioz’ magnificent Symphonie Fantastique, Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Mahler’s concert-length Seventh Symphony. The artistry of our three invited soloists, Marc-André Hamelin, Ekaterina Lekhina and Kit Armstrong complemented and amplified the exemplary work of the OSM musicians.

Our trip offered a return to our roots as a touring ensemble. Indeed, in Vienna we were reminded that the OSM’s first concerts abroad took place there under the direction of Zubin Mehta in 1962. But it wasn’t all about looking back: there were some monumental firsts as well. Not only did the OSM perform Mahler for the first time in Vienna, but our concert was broadcast live from the Vienna Konzerthaus on Also, it was with great joy that for the concluding concert of the tour, I presented the OSM in Munich for the first time, a city where I served for many years.

Over the course of our travels we had to adjust our sound and style to many different acoustics, from the 19th century “temples of music” in Switzerland to the large modern halls in Spain. Concerts in Germany brought us back to Cologne and Munich, while we visited Essen and Oviedo in Spain for the first time. Each venue demanded a new approach to phrasing, pacing and dynamics, and in this the musicians of the OSM once again proved themselves to be highly sensitive and adaptable.

All our programming reflected the French and Russian elements for which the OSM first became well-known in Europe, but with the addition of a broader range of repertoire reflecting our growth over the last ten years. Also, in Switzerland we had the honour of creating a work by Swiss composer David Philip Hefti, while in Germany we were proud to present the work of the visionary Quebecois composer Claude Vivier.

Looking back at a successful tour that was saluted by critics both from home and abroad, I am proud of our musicians – their hard work and dedication to music and the art of performing are truly gratifying and humbling, not only for me but for the audiences as well. We have enjoyed good spirits, high energy and most of all, unrelentingly high standards of performance. We are glad to have had the chance to share what we do with the wider European public, and confident that our musicians have served as exemplary ambassadors for Montreal. As we have learned in past tours, the OSM’s special sound has a universal resonance – what better way to celebrate this fact than with concerts abroad!

From the bottom of our hearts, we wish to thank our hosts, presenters and partners without whom our touring activities would not be possible. We also thank the faithful Montreal public who are at the heart of why we do what we do, and what makes the OSM such a unique and special organisation. As we anticipate our imminent return to Montreal and the familiar surroundings of the Maison symphonique we look forward to greeting our home audience refreshed, re-invigorated and inspired from our travels. Until then!

Kent Nagano News

The Orchestra started and ended the tour with Canadian and Quebec artist, Marc-André Hamelin, giving in total four concerts. Beautiful performances, praised every time by the different audiences! After the performance in Munich, the musicians gathered around him to congratulate him, thank him and ask him when will be their next collaboration. Some said that he played like a god, how much he is loved and how special that moment was. Two special guests came backstage to congratulate him: pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter!!

Ending this European tour in Munich was very special because, until last summer, Kent Nagano conducted the city’s opera, the infamous Bayerishstaadtoper. In the taxi, the driver started the conversation as soon as he heard the name: Kent Nagano! The concert started with the unique sound of Tim Hutchins’ flute and then the Orchestra gave a beautiful and moving performance of Berlioz’ Symphony Fantastique. Before the public’s enthusiasm, Kent Nagano faced the audience and thanked them in French “Merci beaucoup”, and continued the final concert with two encores including Ravel’s famous Boléro. The audience went wild; Kent Nagano had to come back on stage more than 6 times to thank the public with the musicians. It was a very emotional evening…




Kent Nagano et l'OSM en répétition / Kent Nagano and the OSM in rehearsal

As we packed our bags and instruments to head northward after four days and three concerts in Spain, I was reminded of how deeply a musical performance can be affected by the culture and history of a place. The distance from Vienna to Madrid may not seem far from a Canadian perspective, but in Europe the southward journey brings changes in climate, language, culture and rhythm of life.

Colourful, lively Madrid and the modern Auditorio Nacional de Musica presented a contrast to the 19th century concert halls of Switzerland and Austria, and the perfect opportunity to perform our program featuring humorous and lively snagS&Snarls from Unsuk Chin thanks to the engaging interpretation of soprano Ekaterina Lekhina, and Stravinsky’s Petrushka. The style of the hall with seats all around the orchestra meant we were literally imbedded within the audience – a wonderfully intimate experience, despite the size of the concert hall. This interesting mix of intimacy and grandeur was a particularly appropriate setting for our second performance of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony.

Madrid impressed us all with its public art, classical architecture, wealth of museums and cultural landmarks. We were also gratified by the enthusiastic reception of our audiences at the Auditorio Nacional de Musica.

Oviedo, the picturesque city tucked within the hills of Asturias, is smaller than Madrid, but no less compelling in its own way. Rich with the history of the region, the architecture of the city is a fascinating combination of modern and ancient (some buildings dating back to the medieval period). The magnificent Cathedral of San Salvador and the Pre-Romanesque shrine of San Miguel de Lillo are only two of the many examples of the material history of Oviedo.

The busy classical music season at the Principe Felipe Hall means that the Oviedo public is no stranger to great music and great performers. Our concert of Mahler’s Seventh was enthusiastically and warmly welcomed thanks in no small part to the sensitive ensemble playing of my colleagues and the respect and attention of the audience.




Our first week in Europe has gone by quickly. Consecutive concerts in Zurich, Bern and Geneva featured impressive and heartfelt performances by the entire ensemble. Though we played the same program in three different settings, the experience and interpretation of each concert was shaped by the ambience of the hall, the attention of the audience, and the musical heritage of the city.

At Zurich’s stunning Tonhalle, inaugurated in 1895 by Johannes Brahms, we discovered an embracing acoustic that was matched by the warmth of our public reception. The superb artistry of Marc-André Hamelin in Liszt’s second piano concerto and an impassioned performance of Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique brought our appreciative audience to their feet and humbled us in the first appearance of our European tour. To interpret the work of David Philip Hefti, a Swiss composer whose new work Adagio was commissioned for this tour, was an honor. As it contrasted and contextualized the other works of the program, including Wagner’s Parsifal prelude, it made the evening even more enjoyable for the Swiss public.

My colleagues and I then enjoyed performing at the imposing Bern Kulturcasino hall, with its livelier acoustic. For our concert at Geneva’s opulently gilded Victoria Hall, the experience was new again and our interpretations took on yet another shade. Despite the differences in acoustic, audience, levels of energy, and so many more variables, one quality consistently on display is that extraordinary talent, special character and strong personalities of the members of our Orchestra that makes our performances unique. The precision and exactitude for which American orchestras are usually well known combines with a European approach to phrasing and blending, making our sound both familiar and exotic to audiences here. We were grateful to see that both local and international critics saluted our performances and felt confident to begin the second part of our European journey.


With warm hearts and renewed energy we made our way eastwards to arrived in the ‘city of music’ to perform the first of two sold-out concerts at the Vienna Konzerthaus. A lively and eclectic program including Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, Unsuk Chin’s snagS and Snarls, and Stravinski’s Petrushka was received enthusiastically by the Viennese public and critics. Bringing the OSM’s core European tradition, together with some new and less well-known music that is now part of our repertoire, made us feel at home on this side of the Atlantic, as we were honoured to bring our voice and interpretation to audiences here.

For our second concert at the Vienna Konzerthaus, we paid homage to the erstwhile giant of Viennese musical life, Gustav Mahler, with a performance of his monumental Seventh Symphony, concert that was broadcasted live on The symphony was first performed in Prague in 1908, and the music is part of this city tradition which for so many years was the musical centre of Europe, and where Mahler lived for much of his professional life. Performing Mahler in Vienna was a first for me and my colleagues of the OSM. What better way to begin than with the Seventh, that enigmatic and slow-developing work of musical genius woven together with its otherworldly Nachtmusik sections? A memorable occasion to be sure, and hopefully the beginning of a rich tradition as the symphonies of Mahler become increasingly important pillars of the OSM repertoire.


One of the many pleasures of the tour is to see the other halls. I remember from previous tours (except for the one in South America last year, which I did not attend), we were always amazed by the beauty and the quality of the acoustics which revealed the rich sound of our Orchestra. This time, it’s different; the discussion revolves around the different sound aesthetics of each hall and always comparing it to our hall in Montreal! Who knew? Our Maison symphonique became a reference point, comparing it to the most beautiful halls in Europe. Our principal English horn, Pierre-Vincent Plante, made an interesting point. Our hall is like a Stradivarius instrument with which the OSM performs with and learned how to master.

We can qualify this tour of a true success by showing the strong identity “OSM-Kent Nagano”. An identity revealed in Berlioz, Stravinsky, Chin and even Mahler in Vienna! Just hearing the applause after each concert, seeing the enthusiastic crowd and reading what the critics say, convinced us that we can be proud of what we achieved in Europe. For us, to be able to attend these concerts is truly moving. I hope that the live streaming of the concerts permitted to share these incredible moments with our public at home and abroad. We have just one concert left, in Munich, where Kent Nagano conducted the Opera house, until last year. It will be a celebration for all! Then we will return to our beloved home!



Watch the OSM concert live from Cologne free of charge on starting at 3 p.m. (Montreal time)

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programme KN 2009 s

15 years ago, Kent Nagano made his debut as guest conductor with the OSM. More precisely, he stepped on the podium on March 23 and 25 to present one piece, Gustav Mahler’s 9th Symphony.

Kent Nagano conducted the OSM in every Mahler symphony, except for Symphony No. 10 which only the first movement (adagio) was completed by the composer before his death



The OSM performed on the same Madrid stage in 2009. Right before the concert, double bass Jacques Beaudoin almost fell off the stage because the chair wasn’t well placed and one of its legs was in the air. He could’ve been seriously hurt! The incident did not go unnoticed and the musicians wanted to make sure that Jacques was safe and that his chair solid on stage!



L'OSM à Madrid le 18 avril 2009 / The OSM in Madrid on April 18, 2009

The OSM is visiting Madrid for the 4th time in its history. Whether it was in 1987, 1992, 2009 or 2014, the OSM always presented 2 concerts in this city. This time however, the “siesta” will not be necessary since the 2 concerts will be presented at 7:30 p.m. rather than 10:20 p.m.! in fact, on November 5, 1987, a first orchestra presented a concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Teatro Real de Madrid, the hall was emptied after the first concert and a new crowd came in for the OSM concert which started at 10:30 p.m. The audience was charmed by the OSM and its conductor. After a standing ovation, Charles Dutoit and his musicians started performing the encore, Ravel’s La Valse at… 12:30 a.m.!! The late hour did not stop stop some of the musicians to leave the theater in the quest to find the best flamenco shows in town!