10 Springtimes of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique

10 Springtimes of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique

Majestic and complex, the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique is a multifaceted instrument that never ceases to amaze. Over the past 10 seasons, the Organ has accompanied leading national and international artists, while audiences have been able to discover it in at times unusual ways…!

Inauguration of the Organ

Inaugurated on May 28, 2014, the Organ was built by the Casavant Frères company on behalf of the OSM, with the collaboration of the Diamond Schmitt + Ædifica architecture firm for its visual design. It bears the name Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique in homage to the OSM’s first General Director (from 1939 to 1970).

The purchase of this organ was made possible thanks to Jacqueline Desmarais, who assumed the total cost, wishing to keep alive the memory of Pierre Béique as well as his invaluable contribution to the OSM’s mission of excellence.

Ambassadorial organists

Since 2014, the OSM has proudly welcomed some fifty outstanding organists from 11 different countries, primarily from Canada, the United States and France, though also from Germany, South Korea, Italy, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Among them are Olivier Latry, OSM organist emeritus since 2012; OSM organist-in-residence Jean-Willy Kunz; organists and composers Jean Guillou, David Briggs, Hans-Ola Ericsson and Thierry Escaich; and Quebec organists Pierre Grandmaison, Isabelle Demers and Mireille Lagacé. These artists, who are ambassadors for the organ throughout the world, have contributed to (re) acquainting the Montreal public with this instrument and its vast repertoire.

One-of-a-kind concerts

The organ possesses an immense range of sounds, making it the perfect instrument to accompany silent films. With the OSM, audiences have been able to immerse themselves in the world of silent-film masterpieces. These have included several Charlie Chaplin films, The Phantom of the Opera, Metropolis and A Trip to the Moon, all accompanied by music improvised on the organ.

In 2017, OSM organist-in-residence Jean-Willy Kunz and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Dr. David Saint-Jacques accomplished the feat of contacting European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet aboard the International Space Station! A phenomenal achievement that provided the audience with a unique concert experience.

An out-of-the-ordinary instrument

With its often-monumental dimensions and characteristic sounds, the organ possesses a fascinating personality. Every organ is striking and unique, becoming the visual signature of the venue in which it is located. At the Maison symphonique, the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique occupies a prominent place, its sounds magnified by the hall’s exceptional acoustics.

The Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique in numbers

  • The Organ is equipped with 109 registers, 83 stops, 116 ranks and 6,489 pipes
  • 5 albums have been recorded with the Organ
  • 10 new works for organ and orchestra or solo organ have been either commissioned by the OSM or premiered on the Organ
  • 285 tours of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique have been given since 2014 by OSM organist-in-residence Jean-Willy Kunz. These one-hour tours enable the public to discover this instrument’s interior and hear the organ from up close.
  • The Organ has been heard in more than 200 concerts since its inauguration

The Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique Concerts

The Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique was generously offered to the OSM by Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais