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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 19, No. 1

Contemporary Music

by Éric Champagne / September 1, 2013

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My first observation is that a number of influential composers of the twentieth century are celebrated in 2013, such as Witold Lutoslawski, Maurice Ohana and Benjamin Britten (100th anniversary of his birth) as well as Francis Poulenc (50th of his death). Yet, none of the main musical institutions seem to have seized this opportunity to discover these composers, either minimizing or totally eradicating their presence in upcoming concerts. This being said, a Quebec composer will be in the limelight: the Homage Series headed by the SMCQ will celebrate Denis Gougeon through a number of concerts. smcq.qc.ca

As for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, watch out for two creations: Toronto composer Christos Hatzis’ This isle is full of noises on October 15 and 17, and a concerto for violin and orchestra commissioned to Serge Arcuri on November 20 and 23. Take note of a rare interpretation of Frank Zappa’s Bogus Pomp, one night only on October 26. Kent Nagano, who recorded the work in 1983, will conduct it for the first time in Montreal. On the same concert program is German composer Jörg Teiresias Wildmann’s Teiresias, a work for six double basses! osm.ca

On October 30, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec invites Jacques Lacombe to conduct François Morel’s Esquisse and Korngold’s Violin Concerto. A few days earlier, on October 23, the OSQ will perform the revised version of Yannick Plamondon’s Février under the direction of Fabien Gabel. osq.org

Quebec music is making its niche in so-called regional orchestras. On September 28, listen for the premiere of a work by Marc O’Reilly performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke. As for the Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivières, Jacques Lacombe conducts François Morel’s Esquisse on November 2 and Gilles Bellemare takes to Jacques Hétu’s Flute Concerto on December 21. Alain Trudel and the Orchestre symphonique de Laval, for their part, interpret Denis Gougeon’s Primus Tempus on November 5. ossherbrooke.com; ostr.ca; osl.ca

On October 25, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne pays tribute to two of the most important Italian composers of the 20th century, Luigi Nono and Bruno Maderna, at Bourgie Hall. For the occasion, the ensemble conducted by Lorraine Vaillancourt will put her virtuoso musicians in the spotlight in both solo and chamber works, with and without a band! lenem.ca

The ECM + opens its season on September 24 with a concert by the Ensemble Paramirabo. This talented young quintet will perform works by Michel Gonneville, Patrick Saint-Denis, Scott Rubin and two creations by Riho Esko Maimets and Julien-Robert. ecm.qc.ca

On October 23, 24 and 25 at the Oboro Gallery, the Quatuor Bozzini performs Musique de chambre (noire), a performance by composer Taylor Brook and videographer Nathalie Bujold. quatuorbozzini.ca

The upcoming generation of musicians is making quite the appearance on November 6. Code d’accès proposes a spectacular event called Pixels et decibels. Composers Julien-Robert Legault-Salvail, Simon Chioini, Matthew Schoen, Frédéric Arbour and James O’Callaghan present creations which combine music and video, live performance and sound experiments that are both fascinating and hypnotizing! codesdacces.org

The Montreal Accès culture network, which brings together Maisons de la culture and the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, is abundant with concerts and recitals of all kinds at low cost, if not free! Contemporary music is well represented with, among others, Julien-Robert Legault-Salvail’s Vidéo phase, performances of works by Serge Arcuri, Michael Osterle and Nicolas Gilbert, Simon Martin’s Hommage à Leduc and Borduas et Riopelle by the ARTefact quartet, as well as the Musica Masala concert by Error Type 27, where Indian contemporary art and music meet. accesculture.com

At the time of going to press, many concert houses and chamber ensembles dedicated to contemporary music had not yet announced their 2013-2014 season. Don’t hesitate to discover their respective mandates and their programming by checking out Le Vivier’s website (www.levivier.ca). Le Vivier brings together more than twenty organizations dedicated to contemporary music in all its forms. It is an invitation to discovery!

[Editor’s note: As part of Éric Champagne’s residence with the Orchestre Métropolitain, young audiences are invited to discover Le jeune blondinet et son tigre philosophe, a small symphonic suite inspired by the famous comic strip Calvin & Hobbes. This family concert is presented at Théâtre Outremont on November 27. orchestremetropolitain.com]

Translation: Catherine Hine

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