Nine essential facts about the OSM’s 2019 European tour

From March 11 to 25, the OSM will conduct a major European tour under the direction of Kent Nagano. Here’s a sneak peek into their plans for Europe’s most prestigious concert halls and everything you need to know about this fantastic musical journey!

The OSM during it’s first European tour in 1962, at Vienna’s Musikverein

1- 12th time’s a charm for the OSM


This will be the OSM’s 12th tour in Europe. The first took place in 1962 under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and was a source of great pride for Montréalers at the time! Guest soloists included pianist Ronald Turini and Canadian soprano Teresa Stratas. The tradition continues today, with this being the sixth European tour for the OSM with Kent Nagano.

2- Four countries, nine cities

The OSM will visit Germany, Austria, France, and Belgium. The cities and venues on the itinerary include Dusseldorf (Tonhalle), Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Essen (Philharmonie), Vienna (Konzerthaus), Paris (Philharmonie), Brussels (Palais des beaux-arts), Munich (Gasteig), Regensburg (Audimax), and Berlin (the Philharmonic).


3- One orchestra, 116 musicians

For this grand voyage, no less than 116 musicians, including some who play more than one instrument, will take part! That’s more than came on the last European trip this past July, where 89 musicians were present for the Krakow and Salzburg concerts.


4- Three internationally-renowned soloists

Three renowned musicians will be the OSM’s guest soloists during this tour. Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz, winner of the 2005 Chopin Competition, will appear at the Dusseldorf, Vienna, and Regensburg concerts. Renowned French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who, like the OSM, has recorded numerous albums with Decca, will be the soloist at concerts in Hamburg, Essen, Munich, and Berlin. And Marie-Nicole Lemieux, the marvellous contralto of Québec, will shine on the stages of Paris and Brussels, two cities where audiences adore her.

Contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux

5- Eight composers, starring Stravinsky

The music of Igor Stravinsky will dominate the nine concerts with two of his biggest pieces. His famous Rites of Spring, historically an important part of the OSM’s repertoire, will be performed no less than seven times, and Petrushka will be played twice. French music, emblematic of the OSM, will also be in the spotlight with Debussy’s Jeux, Ravel’s Alborada del Gracioso, Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto no. 5, and excerpts from Berlioz’ La damnation de Faust. Other composers on the program include Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488) and Wagner (Wesendonck Lieder).

116 musicians on stage for the Rite of Spring – February, 24th 2019

6- Major firsts …

An international tour is often an opportunity for big introductions for the musicians and the orchestra. For the OSM, this tour will mark their first performance in Regensburg, at the Philharmonie de Paris, and at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. The latter two halls, both built in the past five years, are impressive examples of bold and ultramodern architecture.


7- … And long-awaited returns

Among the cities on the schedule, some have not hosted the OSM for a long time. For music lovers and orchestra veterans alike, this certainly promises some emotional reunions, considering that the OSM hasn’t played in Berlin, Brussels, or Dusseldorf for a quarter of a century! The last time they visited these cities was in 1994.


8- Hamburg and Kent Nagano

For Kent Nagano, the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, where the OSM will perform on March 13, is already familiar territory. Since 2015, Nagano has been the musical director of the State Opera and the principal conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra. It will certainly be a memorable moment for the maestro, to conduct the OSM, with whom he will be spending a final season in 2019-2020, in this spectacular hall which was inaugurated in 2017.

Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie

9- Two concerts to be broadcast

Though most of us can only dream of following the OSM on their tour, at least we will be able to see two concerts: those in Berlin and Paris, which will be broadcast on and on Mezzo TV, respectively.

Broadcast schedule:
– Paris, Tuesday March 19 at 3:30 pm (EST): the first piece via Facebook Live on the OSM’s Facebook page, and the entire concerts on Mezzo TV.
– Berlin, Monday March 25 at 3 pm (EST): on the OSM’s Facebook page via Facebook Live, and on


Follow the European tour on the OSM’s social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) with #OSMTOURNEE !