Since its beginnings, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has kept education at the centre of its mission, and has continued to develop new initiatives for engaging young people in classical music. One can think back to the Youth Concerts that were started in 1935 by Wilfrid Pelletier, or to more recent examples such as La Musique aux enfants and the Children’s’ Ball, a gala event that supports educational activities at the OSM and keeps these activities accessible for all.
Continuing the momentum from these initiatives, in November 2019 the OSM will be running a Youth Month dedicated to the many programs offered by the OSM to young musicians, schools and families. The public will be able to discover rising classical music stars during a series of recitals, or to attend the first concert in the Children’s Corner concert series, conducted by the OSM’s new assistant conductor Thomas Le Duc-Moreau. School-aged children will be able to make the most of new freely available educational resources, including (for the first time) the publication of a video of a youth concert filmed at professional standard. Learn more here.
The OSM Competition
Since 1940 the OSM has presented the OSM Competition, Canada’s most prestigious performance competition for young musicians, offering prizes worth more than $100,000 in value to its winners, as well as significant visibility on the international stage. The OSM invites the public to discover 17 violinists and cellists aged between 15 and 25 during the semi-finals and final rounds, which will take place from November 27th to 30th in Montreal. All competition events are webcast to allow for nationwide coverage of the competition. The OSM presents a rich and varied program to competitors and public alike; concerts with previous competition winners, training activities with industry experts, and musical activities at the Maison Symphonique and throughout the city are all part of the competition’s busy schedule. Competitors will benefit from an international jury consisting of, among others, the OSM’s musical director Kent Nagano, and the director of the BBC Proms in London, David Pickard.
Competition winners receive enormous support from the OSM. In addition to cash prizes and scholarships, many have developed a special relationship with the orchestra; the OSM has offered many competition winners the opportunity to perform as soloists, recitalists or chamber musicians with OSM musicians. Kent Nagano also conducts an orchestra of past competition winners during the summer Classical Spree festival. In addition, the OSM fosters partnerships between competition winners and its own artistic partners and international guest artists: an important step for early-career artists.
The orchestra is very proud of the OSM Competition due to the number of ways in which it has enriched the Canadian music scene. Among the winners, many have excelled on the Canadian and international stage, including James Ehnes (violin), Angela Hewitt (piano), Louis Lortie (piano), Karina Gauvin (soprano), Jan Lisiecki (piano), Jonathan Crow (concertmaster, Toronto Symphony), Andrew Wan (OSM Concertmaster), and more recently Timothy Chooi, Blake Pouliot, Carter Johnson and Kerson Leong.