Message from Rafael Payare – Music Director of the OSM

Message from Rafael Payare - Music Director of the OSM

2022-2023 season

I am delighted that the OSM, Montreal and Quebec are now part of my life, and I am thrilled to present my first season as Music Director. It is truly an exciting season marked by deep motivation to bring all communities together through the power of music. I am touched by the kindness and warmth I have received since I arrived and have great confidence in our shared future with the Orchestra.

After everything that we have collectively experienced over the past two years, Mahler’s Symphony no. 2, “Resurrection” is a glaringly obvious choice for our opening concert. This great work serves as a majestic opening to the season and the starting point of a new multi-year cycle devoted to this composer’s symphonies and major vocal works. Mahler’s music is unifying and ecstatic, a pinnacle of the classical repertoire; the idea of sharing this universe with the Montreal public fills me with enthusiasm.

Great choral works are another feature throughout the season, inviting us to reconnect with that spirit of togetherness we have so dearly missed. From Haydn’s The Creation to J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio through Mahler’s Second and Third Symphonies, they will reawaken music’s vocation to transcend differences and open our hearts to the poetry of the moment. This spirit of sharing will intensify during the holidays with an unprecedented concert in which the audience will be invited to sing with the OSM.

Our shared history is written in the present. For this reason, I am committed to supporting today’s composers who continually question our world and our habits, reflecting our daily lives back to us. Throughout the season, we will hear works by Unsuk Chin, Dorothy Chang, Alexina Louie, and Kaija Saariaho. New compositions by Thomas Larcher, Ana Sokolović, Katia Makdissi-Warren, and Tim Brady will also be premiered at the Maison symphonique.

Rafael Payare

I heartily applaud what I have discovered about the multiple initiatives developed by the OSM for young audiences and emerging artists. The education of our young people is vital; therefore, we will not only pursue these initiatives, but expand and multiply interactions between youth and the Orchestra. Among other things, we will present over fifteen concerts for schoolchildren and families throughout the season, and for the first time in the OSM Competition’s history, finalists will be given the opportunity to be accompanied by the Orchestra, for an emotion-filled day. We will also give music students the opportunity to join the Orchestra’s ranks to offer them an immersive approach.

In order to continue presenting a great diversity of high-calibre artists, we will welcome for the first time conductors Leonardo García Alarcón, Laurence Equilbey and Tianyi Lu; pianists Sergei Babayan, Alexandre Kantorow, Su Yeon Kim, and Víkingur Ólafsson; organist Iveta Apkalna; and singers Barbara Hannigan, Sonya Yoncheva, and Dominique Fils-Aimé. We look forward to reuniting with our Conductor Emeritus Kent Nagano in two performances: a program of Mozart and Schubert in the fall, and a Nordic-themed concert in the winter. Conductors Osmo Vänskä, Jérémie Rhorer, Dalia Stasevska, and Bernard Labadie will be back on the OSM podium, and soloists Maxim Vengerov, Daniil Trifonov, and Angela Hewitt will also make returns.

Music, so essential to the heart and the mind, builds priceless bridges between cultures and nations. I hope that the public will join us at every step of the way in this especially meaningful season. We have built it to allow everyone to rekindle their enjoyment of concerts fully invested with a human presence, welcoming and gratifying for the senses.

Rafael Payare
Music Director