83rd season of the Orchestre classique de Montréal: Geneviève Leclair and Alain Trudel as guest conductors!

Photo credit: Dina K Photography

Following an emotionally charged spring, the Orchestre Classique de Montréal (OCM) is proud to announce its 83rd season and introduce its two new principal guest conductors: Geneviève Leclair and Alain Trudel! With BMO as its Season Presenter, the OCM will be back in residence at Salle Pierre-Mercure for the majority of its performances.

This Lyrical and Eclectic season will shine a spotlight on the vocal arts, with the kind of diverse programming that the OCM has become known for. Ranging from Bach to Britten, with major new works by David Bontemps and Maxime Goulet, the season will also feature Anishinaabe composer Barbara Assiginaak and Cree composer Tomson Highway.

OCM audiences will thrill to the magnificent voices of Suzanne TaffotMagali SimardGaldès, Marc Hervieux, Aline Kutan, Hélène Brunet, Dominique Labelle and Julie Boulianne, among others.

This 83rd season is one of big premieres, with four brand new works being presented including Unruly Sun, a staged song cycle for solo tenor inspired by Derek Jarman’s memoir Modern Nature, performed on World AIDS Day. The debut performances will continue with the chamber opera La Flambeau by Haitian-born Québec composer David Bontemps, a concerto for Anishinaabe flute (pipigwan) by Barbara Assiginaak, and the world premiere of Maxime Goulet’s first symphonic work, the Ice Storm Symphony, marking the 25th anniversary of the 1998 disaster that brought the province to a standstill.

The late Maestro Boris Brott and I planned a season that truly reflects the orchestra’s DNA: eclectic repertoire and our shared love of the vocal arts,” says Taras Kulish, executive director of the OCM. “Following the tragic loss of our beloved Boris, the OCM is proud to continue his legacy of excellence with two guest conductors who had strong ties to him: Geneviève Leclair and Alain Trudel. They will allow us to maintain the high standards that our orchestra and our audiences are accustomed to.” 

BORIS: His Life in Music

October 18, 2022 – Salle Pierre Mercure

The OCM will pay tribute to its late artistic director, the beloved Boris Brott, with an evening of music celebrating significant milestones in the maestro’s life. Hosted by Sylvia L’Écuyer, the concert will include performances of Bruch’s evocative Kol NidreManuel Ponce’s guitar concerto Concierto del Sur, and well-known selections from Bernstein’s masterpiece, West Side Story. The OCM will also present an excerpt from Astral Visions by Alexander Brott, as well as three songs arranged for string orchestra from Tomson Highway‘s musical The (Post) Mistress, which Maestro Brott recorded for Radio Canada in 2021.

Tariq Harb, guitar

Stéphane Tétreault, cello

Antonio Figueroa, tenor

Elizabeth Polese, soprano

Geneviève Leclair, conductor

BACH: Violin & Voice

November 15, 2022 – Salle PierreMercure

This concert will feature some of Bach’s most virtuosic works for violin and voice. Audience members will be treated to exhilarating performances by one of Canada’s most renowned young violinists, Kerson Leong, whose playing has been described by Le Monde as “a mixture of spontaneity and mastery, elegance, fantasy, and intensity,” and internationally acclaimed soprano Dominique Labelle, who will charm listeners with the delightful “Wedding Cantata,” Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, an ode to marriage and love.

Kerson Leong, violon

Dominique Labelle, soprano

Geneviève Leclair, conductor

Unruly Sun (world premiere)

December 1, 2022 – Cirque Éloize

World AIDS Day

Presented in its world premiere, Unruly Sun is a song cycle for solo tenor and sextet, inspired by the life of queer activist and director Derek Jarman and his celebrated memoir, Modern Nature. Over the course of 18 songs, the work pays tribute to Jarman’s life as an artist and a person living with AIDS, exploring the creation of his famous garden at Prospect Cottage, a fisherman’s hut located on the windswept coast of South East England. Jointly commissioned by Brott Opera (Hamilton) and the 21C Festival (Toronto), Unruly Sun is a new piece by Canadian composer Matthew Ricketts and renowned American librettist Mark Campbell, whose operas have received both the Pulitzer Prize for Music and a GRAMMY Award.

Karim Sulayman, tenor
OCM string quintet and piano
Michel-Maxime Legault, director

Music: Matthew Ricketts/Text: Mark Campbell

Handel’s Messiah

December 13, 2022 – Crypt of Saint Joseph’s Oratory

A time-honoured holiday tradition, this must-see concert will take place in the crypt of Saint Joseph’s Oratory. Up-and-coming conductor Simon Rivard will lead a magnificent quartet of distinguished soloists, along with the Montréal choirs Filles de l’île and Chantres musiciens.

Hélène Brunet, soprano

Julie Boulianne, mezzo-soprano

Zach Rioux, tenor

Phillip Addis, baritone

Simon Rivard, conductor

Filles de l’île and Chantres musiciens, choirs

a Flambeau (world premiere)

February 7, 2023 – Salle Pierre Mercure

Presented as part of Montréal’s Black History Month
In collaboration with Brott Opera

For the world premiere of this opera for four voices and chamber orchestra, Haitian-born Québec composer David Bontemps has conjured a universe of mystical melodies, whose AfroHaitian motifs blend perfectly with the libretto by Haitian playwright Faubert Bolivar. Inspired by traditional West African mythology and Haitian Vodou culture, the opera tells a compelling story of corruption, misogyny and abuse of power.

Suzanne Taffot, soprano

Catherine Daniel, mezzo-soprano

Paul Williamson, tenor

Mariah Inger, director

Alain Trudel, conductor


March 5, 2023 – Salle PierreMercure

As part of the Montreal / New Musics Festival

The crystalline voice of soprano Magali SimardGaldès will bring Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry to vivid life in Britten’s celebrated Les Illuminations. Canadian composer Brian Cherney‘s own Illuminations is inspired by elements of Jewish mysticism. This evocative work for string instruments explores meditation’s transformative effects on the mind. The program will also feature Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. Considered one of the English composer’s greatest works, it was written as a tribute to his composition teacher. Each movement reflects an aspect of Bridge’s personality and includes clever imitations of several other great composers.

Magali Simard-Galdès, soprano

Alain Trudel, conductor


April 11, 2023 – Salle Pierre Mercure

This evening will mark the world premiere of Anishinaabe composer Barbara Assiginaak’s Gwekaanmat (Wind Changes Direction) for orchestra and pipigwan (Anishinaabe flute), as well as the Québec premiere of Robert Rival’s violin concerto All’ombra de’ cipressi (Under The Shadow of the Cypresses), featuring OCM concertmaster Marc Djokic. Soprano Sharon Azrieli will also delight audience members with her expressive renditions of beloved songs by the legendary Michel Legrand.

Marc Djokic, violin

Sharon Azrieli, soprano

Barbara Assiginaak, pipigwan

Festa Italiana with Marc Hervieux

May 9, 2023 – Salle PierreMercure

Known as much for his charismatic stage presence as for his beautiful voice, tenor Marc Hervieux will join the OCM on a musical journey to Italy, in an evening of Neapolitan and Sicilian songs. Marc Hervieux will captivate concertgoers with his personal renditions of classics such as Volare and Funiculì, Funiculà, as well as other musical gems from this magnificent Mediterranean country, the home of romance and eternal beauty.

Marc Hervieux, tenor

Geneviève Leclair, conductor

Fire and Ice:

Carmina Burana and the Ice Storm Symphony

June 20, 2023 – Maison symphonique

Aline Kutan, Soprano

Spencer Britten, Tenor

Hugo Laporte, baritone

Choeur de Laval and the Petits chanteurs du MontRoyal

Alain Trudel, conductor

Join them for this benefit concert at the Maison symphonique featuring two major works: one celebrated masterpiece and another destined to take its place among the classics. The OCM is proud to present the world premiere of Maxime Goulet’s first symphonic work, the Ice Storm Symphony, marking the 25th anniversary of the 1998 North American ice storm. This piece is sure to bring back memories for those who lived through the event, while evoking the feeling of hope that emerged in the wake of the disaster. The concert will end with a performance of Carl Orff’s monumental Carmina Burana, the famous cantata inspired by satirical medieval poems about love, lust and the fickle hand of fortune.


Season tickets are currently on sale at orchestre.ca

Single tickets will be available from August 26, 2022.

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