- Conductor Emeritus -
“In today’s world, it is impossible to be isolated from the community, from the city. One must participate in the social structure. If music does not correspond to present-day society, it may quickly lose its relevance.”
— Kent Nagano
Conductor Emeritus of the OSM
In February 2021, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conferred on Kent Nagano the honorary title of Conductor Emeritus, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the Orchestra, to Montreal, and to the province of Quebec. He becomes the third Music Director of the OSM to receive this recognition after Wilfrid Pelletier and Zubin Mehta. Following sixteen years at the helm of the OSM, Kent Nagano’s legacy is invaluable. Apart from captivating Montreal audiences in performances, the Maestro made the Maison symphonique de Montréal, a world-class architectural and acoustical gem, a reality. He also ensured the Orchestra’s acquisition of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique as well as of three octobasses, led several award-winning recordings, established the Classical Spree a festival that brings the OSM closer to a broader, more diverse public, conducted memorable concerts on the Olympic Park’s Esplanade, and launched La musique aux enfants, a music education program dispensed within Montreal’s public school system. He fulilled the OSM’s tradition of major tours, masterfully showcasing Montreal’s premiere Orchestra on several continents and solidifying its international reputation. Finally, confident that music is a medium for dialogue, peacemaking, and friendship, he twice brought the OSM to communities in the Nord-du-Québec region to perform, among other works, the new opera Chaakapesh, an OSM commission and a collaboration with Inuit and First Nations creators.
Kent Nagano is renowned for his clarity, elegance, and intelligence in performance. He enjoys a steadfast international reputation, engaging with a vast repertoire spanning the Baroque era to contemporary music, championing little-known works while bringing new ideas to the performance of the established repertoire. Maestro Nagano was Music Director of the OSM from 2006 to 2020, before being appointed Conductor Emeritus in 2021. He served as Music Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin – of which he is Honorary Conductor – from 2000 to 2006 and the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich from 2006 to 2013. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), since 2013. In 2015, he was appointed General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Principal Conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Born in California, Kent Nagano spent his early professional years at the Boston Opera and subsequently as Assistant Conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 2008, and of the Opera national de Lyon from 1988 to 1998. Maestro Nagano served as Associate Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1990 to 1998, Music Director of Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra from 1991 to 2000, Principal Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera from 2001 to 2004, and then Music Director of the latter institution up until 2006. Much in demand as a guest conductor, he has led the best orchestras in the world, including the New York and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, as well as those of leading opera houses such as the Opéra national de Paris, Berlin State Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Semperoper Dresden. He won two Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni’s Doktor Faust with the Opéra national de Lyon and Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin (2009) with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester. Other awards include a Juno for his recording of Beethoven: The Ideal of the French Revolution (2008), and the Echo Prize for L’Aiglon (2015), both with the OSM. He was also given the Homage (Tribute) Opus Award in 2021.
Maestro Nagano was named Commander of the Ordre de Montréal, Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec, in addition to receiving the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal.
RECENT RECORDINGS WITH THE OSM
Ginastera – Bernstein – Moussa: Works for Violin and Orchestra (Analekta, 2020);
Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion (BIS, 2020)
The John Adams album (Decca, 2018);
A Quiet Place (Decca, 2018);
Danse macabre (Decca, 2016);
L’Aiglon (Decca, 2015);
Complete Violin Concertos of Saint-Saëns (Analekta, 2015).