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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 9, No. 1

Successful Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil signs 1M$ contract

by Billy McDonald / September 3, 2003

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The former OSMONT is full-steam ahead with charismatic leader and newfound financial security

The former Orchestre de Montérégie (OSMONT) officially became the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil on August 3. The name change earned it a 100,000$ per year contract with the city of Longueuil, while allowing it to maintain its current mission of promoting classical music throughout the Montérégie region.

"The newly enlarged city," explained the symphony's director general Pierrette Guay, "was looking for a major cultural symbol. The city felt that given its size it needed an orchestra and it made us an offer that was too good to pass up."

The contract replaces a 40,000$ contract OSMONT had with SODAC (the Société de développement des arts et de la culture de Longueuil). The yearly contribution by the city will represent 10% of the orchestra's annual operating budget.

Though the funds were much appreciated and will be used by the symphony to consolidate its current projects as well as develop new ones, Guay mentions that one of the reasons Longueuil offered OSMONT the hefty contract was that the city recognized it as a successful and financially stable organization. According to Guay, the symphony has not had a deficit for five years and has a sell-out ratio of almost 90%. Furthermore, of the 911-seat-capacity in their hall, 710 were subscription tickets during 2002-2003. So far the symphony has already sold 650 for the 2003-2004 season.

Guay credits a portion of the symphony's success to an aggressive subscription campaign and a strong complicity between the orchestra's administration and artistic direction, yet mentions that conductor and artistic director Marc David deserves praise. "He is," she says, "a dynamic leader who has an exclusive relationship with his musicians. He is not autocratic and for this reason he gets more from his musicians." She adds, "He has warmth and charm and people appreciate him."

The orchestra is hosting a benefit gala on September 27 at the Sheraton in Montreal. It has managed to increase its contributions for the event by about 30% each the last two years and is hoping to do the same this year. Billy McDonald

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