Since its founding in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has distinguished itself as a leader in the orchestral life of Canada and Québec. A cultural ambassador of the highest order, the Orchestra has earned an enviable reputation internationally through the quality of its recordings and tours. The OSM carries on that rich tradition under the leadership of its Music Director, Kent Nagano, while featuring innovative programming aimed at underlining the relevance of orchestral repertoire in our lives and strengthening the Orchestra’s connection with the community.
The excellence and vision of the OSM have been shaped over the years by its music directors: Wilfrid Pelletier, a Montrealer by birth and first Artistic Director of the Orchestra, Désiré Defauw, Igor Markevitch, Zubin Mehta, with whom the Orchestra toured in Europe for the first time, Franz-Paul Decker, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, who collaborated with the Orchestra for close to 25 years, and, since 2006, Kent Nagano.
Over the years, the Orchestra has undertaken some 40 excursions and tours. The OSM has carried out ten tours in Asia, eleven tours in Europe and three in South America. In 2008, Kent Nagano and the OSM performed twice in Carnegie Hall (2008 and 2011), where the Orchestra played almost every year between 1982 and 2004 to sold out halls. In August 2011, they took part in the Edinburgh International Festival. After a critically acclaimed tour in South America in spring 2013, Kent Nagano and the OSM went on an extensive European tour in March 2014, which was a resounding success. The last OSM tour took place in Japan and in China in October 2014.
The OSM has made over 100 recordings for Decca, EMI, Philips, CBC Records, Analekta, ECM and Sony as well as on its own label, which have earned it a total of 50 national and international awards.
On September 7, 2011, the OSM under Kent Nagano inaugurated its new home, the Maison symphonique de Montréal. The construction of this concert hall was made possible thanks to the Government of Québec. The hall’s acoustics and theatre design bear the signature of the firm Artec Consultants Inc. Its architecture was entrusted to a consortium consisting of Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. and Ædifica Architects.
Inaugurated on May 28, 2014, at Maison symphonique, the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique was generously offered to the OSM by Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais. It was manufactured by the house of Casavant on behalf of the OSM (and is the Orchestra’s property), with the collaboration of architects Diamond Schmitt + Ædifica for its visual design.
Kent Nagano is renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence. He is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into established repertoire. Since September 2006, he is Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, a contract extended until 2020. He also became Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in September 2013. Since September 2015, he is the General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and the Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra. At the Hamburg State Opera, he will start his first season with the premiere of Berlioz’ Les Troyens, the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawas Stilles Meer, and also Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie choreographed by John Neumeier.
A milestone at the helm of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal was the inauguration of the orchestra’s new concert hall la Maison symphonique de Montréal in September 2011. With the orchestra he performed the complete cycles of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, concert versions of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Das Rheingold, Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise, L’Aiglon by Honneger and Ibert as well as a concert series featuring the works of Dutilleux (2010-2011) and Boulez (2011-2012). Nagano has taken the orchestra on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada and also to Japan, China, South Korea, Europe and South America. In March 2014 embarked on an extensive European tour with concerts in Zurich, Bern, Geneva, Vienna, Madrid, Oviedo, Cologne, Essen and Munich. Their recordings together include the Juno award winning album Ideals of the French Revolution Mahler’s Orchestral Songs with Christian Gerhaher, and Beethoven’s Piano Concertos nos. 4 and 5. Kent Nagano and the OSM also completed the recording of all the Beethoven symphonies released under Sony Classical/Analekta.
At the Bayerische Staatsoper, where he was General Music Director from 2006 to 2013, Kent Nagano commissioned new operas such as Babylon by Jörg Widmann, Das Gehege by Wolfgang Rihm and Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin. New productions have included Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, Idomeneo, Eugene Onegin, Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Schweigsame Frau, Dialogues des Carmélites, Saint François d’Assise, Wozzeck, George Benjamin’s Written on Skin and Der Ring des Nibelungen. With the Bayerisches Staatsorchester Kent Nagano has toured throughout Europe and in Japan and together they have recorded Bruckner Symphonies nos. 4, 7 and 8. In January 2014, Kent Nagano returned to the Bayerische Staatsoper to conduct a revival of Widmann’s Babylon.
As a much sought after guest conductor, he has worked with most of the world’s finest orchestras including the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus. He has an ongoing relationship with Sony Classical and has also recorded for Erato, Teldec, Pentatone and Deutsche Grammophon as well as Harmonia Mundi, winning Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni’s Doktor Faust with Opéra National de Lyon, Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra and Saariaho’s L’amour de loin with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin.
A very important period in Kent Nagano’s career was his time as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, from 2000-2006. He performed Schönberg’s Moses und Aron with the orchestra (in collaboration with Los Angeles Opera), and took them to the Salzburg Festival to perform both Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules and Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, as well as to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Parsifal and Lohengrin in productions by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Recordings with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for Harmonia Mundi include repertoire as diverse as Bernstein’s Mass, Bruckner’s Symphonies nos. 3 and 6, Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, Wolf Lieder, Mahler’s Symphony no. 8 and Schönberg’s Die Jakobsleiter and Friede auf Erden, as well as Brahms’s Symphony no. 4 and Schoenberg’s Variationen für Orchester op. 31. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the orchestra, Kent Nagano was given the title Honorary Conductor by members of the orchestra, only the second recipient of this honour in their 60-year history.
Kent Nagano became the first Music Director of Los Angeles Opera in 2003 having already held the position of Principal Conductor for two years. His work in other opera houses has included Shostakovich’s The Nose (Staatsoper Berlin), Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel (Châtelet, Paris), Hindemith’s Cardillac (Opéra national de Paris), Dialogues des Carmélites (Metropolitan Opera) and at the Salzburg Festival Les contes d’Hoffmann, Zemlinsky’s Der Koenig Kandaules, Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten and the world premiere of Saariaho’s L’amour de loin. Other world premieres include Bernstein’s A White House Cantata and operas by Peter Eötvös (Three Sisters), and John Adams (The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño).
Born in California, Kent Nagano maintains close connections with his home state and was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2008. His early professional years were spent in Boston, working in the opera house and as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He played a key role in the world premiere of Messiaen’s opera Saint François d’Assise at the request of the composer, who became a mentor and bequeathed his piano to the conductor. Kent Nagano’s success in America led to European appointments: Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1988-1998) and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000).
Kent Nagano last performed for La Jolla Music Society in SummerFest 2012.
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov (dan-EEL TREE-fon-ov) has made a spectacular ascent to classical music stardom since winning First Prize at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein competitions in 2011 at the age of 20. Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth, his performances are a perpetual source of awe. “He has everything and more, … tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” stated Martha Argerich, while the New York Times has observed, “Mr. Trifonov has scintillating technique and a virtuosic flair. He is also a thoughtful artist. … He can play with soft-spoken delicacy, not what you associate with competition conquerors.”
The 2013-14 season promises to be a banner one for the young pianist. Deutsche Grammophon signed him as an exclusive recording artist, and his first album for the label, Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, was captured live at his recent sold-out Carnegie recital debut and is due for U.S. release this winter, to coincide with his return to the New York venue. The New York Times noted that Trifonov’s “soulful artistry and virtuoso chops were in full evidence” at his 2012 Carnegie debut. Further recital engagements take the pianist from Chicago to London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, and a host of other international musical hotspots. He looks forward to a similarly extensive lineup of orchestral collaborations, playing concertos by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Chopin, and Mozart in dates with 19 of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Washington’s National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, and Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Upcoming chamber music highlights include a duo recital tour with his teacher and fellow pianist, Sergei Babayan, that kicks off with a gala concert at the Dallas Chamber Music Society.
The 2012-13 season saw Trifonov make debuts with all the “Big Five” orchestras – the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra – and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and London’s Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, besides returning to the London Symphony and the Mariinsky Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev, the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev, and the Warsaw Philharmonic with Antoni Wit. He made solo recital debuts at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall, and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the summer brought further triumphs at the Verbier and Edinburgh Festivals and in the pianist’s BBC Proms debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Recent recitals have also taken Trifonov to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Boston’s Celebrity Series, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Master Piano Series), Berlin’s Philharmonie (the Kammermusiksaal), Munich’s Herkulessaal, Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau, Zurich’s Tonhalle, the Lucerne Piano Festival, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and the Seoul Arts Center.
As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Trifonov’s future plans with the label include recording Rachmaninoff’s complete piano concertos. His existing discography features a Chopin album for Decca and a recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra on the ensemble’s own label.
It was during the 2010-11 season that Trifonov won medals at three of the music world’s most prestigious competitions, taking Third Prize in Warsaw’s Chopin Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Rubinstein Competition, and both First Prize and Grand Prix in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition. Jury members and observers at these events included Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Van Cliburn, Emanuel Ax, Nelson Freire, Yefim Bronfman, and Gergiev, who personally awarded Trifonov the Moscow Grand Prix, an additional honor bestowed on the best overall competitor in any category.
Born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1991, and having begun his musical training at the age of five, Trifonov went on to attend Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music as a student of Tatiana Zelikman, before pursuing his piano studies with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has also studied composition, and continues to write music for piano, chamber, and orchestra.
Daniil Trifonov last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Freeman Family Piano Series on April 10, 2015.
For more information visit daniiltrifonov.com