Barbara Hannigan: Be the Music

On December 7, 10 and 11, the OSM will welcome Canadian soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan for the first time. Hannigan is an international star, a singer, actor, improviser, conductor, and mentor, all roles she fulfills with incomparable mastery.

From Words to Act

Barbara Hannigan is a multifaceted artist who enjoys taking risks. Whether in her choice of repertoire, in her roles, in her orchestral direction or in her staging, she never hesitates to innovate, to invest herself both physically and intellectually to “be the music.”

As a soprano, she tackles the classical repertoire while remaining resolutely committed to the promotion of contemporary music. She has premiered over 85 works, and her contributions to the music of our time are phenomenal.
Curious and enterprising by nature, Barbara Hannigan took up conducting in 2011, without imagining that this newfound activity would become a major part of her career. Conducting procures for her a sense of responsibility that keeps her on this path without relinquishing her activities as a soprano.
From words to act, she is one of the few performers to sing while conducting an orchestra. Whether she is performing as a singer, conductor, or both, her main goal is to integrate, to absorb the music and then express it through her whole body.

Mentoring: Encouraging Hope

Aware of all that an experienced and renowned artist can bring to musicians at the outset of their careers, Barbara Hannigan supports young professional artists who do not always have the chance to meet a mentor or who lack the confidence to approach one.

In 2017, she designed the Equilibrium Young Artists mentoring project to provide advice on healthy living, how to focus and to concentrate, while encouraging participants to develop their creativity.

In response to the impact of the pandemic on artists’ careers, Barbara Hannigan created another mentoring programme in 2020, Momentum: our Future Now. This grouping of professional musicians—instrumentalists, singers, conductors—is designed to support young people at the beginning of their careers by giving them the opportunity to perform on stage with established colleagues. I hope that an initiative like Momentum has given hope, and I say a lot of hope, because it is part of me. —Barbara Hannigan

Barbara Hannigan will perform at the Maison symphonique on December 7, 10 and 11, in the programme Barbara Hannigan and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. It will be an extraordinary concert, for there is only one way to perform the Symphonie fantastique: fantastically!