Between March 2nd and 11th, 2003, Montreal will host the inaugural edition of the biennial Montreal/New Music Festival (MNM), a musical event that will feature over fifteen ensembles from Canada and abroad. Over a period of ten consecutive days, the public will be offered 17 original programs spread over a total of 19 concerts - out of which more than 10 will be broadcast by the national radio of CBC/Radio-Canada – that will showcase the works of over 50 composers and include several world premieres. Lectures, open rehearsals, master classes, and a pan-canadian symposium organized by the Conseil québecois de la musique are all part of the Festival’s offering, available to the general public as well as to professional artists and musicians. In short, the event promises to serve up the contemporary music scene with a high voltage electric jolt!


A Stimulating Meeting Ground

Produced by the SMCQ and organized in partnership with the McGill University Faculty of Music, The Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO), La Chaîne culturelle de Radio-Canada and CBC Radio Two (official broadcaster), the MNM Festival will not only give voice to many original composers, but will serve as well as a catalytic meeting ground for performers, producers, broadcasters from both here and abroad. With the new MNM structure, artistic directors Walter Boudreau and Denys Bouliane plan to nudge Montréal onto the international circuit as a major center for new music production. In their words, “The entire future of our musical culture is more than ever a result of originality and dynamism that we will dare to show over the next few years.”

In order to give an international tribune to the ensemble of the musical milieu, governmental institutions dedicated to culture have generously supported the project; an audacious support in these “consolidation” times, a support that MNM’s direction wants to acknowledge, especially the one provides by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, as well as by Canadian Heritage.

As for the Embassy and the General Consulate of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, with the Muzikgroep Nederland, they are supporting the presentation of two of their major composers: Cornelis de Bondt and Klas Torstensson, who will be come to Montreal during the festival. Thus, the festival MNM proudly features the Netherlands as a guest of honor!

The MNM Inaugural Concert

MNM opens on March 2nd at 7:30 pm with a concert by the Ensemble de la SMCQ conducted by Walter Boudreau that will be broadcast live by La Chaîne culturelle de Radio-Canada on Nicholson’s show. The program includes Pohjiatuuli (North Wind) from Michel Longtin, a work combining orchestral strength with evocative touches as well as George Antheil’s highly celebrated Ballet mécanique performed in a version for no less than 10 pianos and 8 percussions, not to forget the infamous sirens and airplane engines!

Prestigious Guests

Guests include Elektra (Purform), the l’Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM), l’Ensemble de la SMCQ, the Hilliard Ensemble of London, Vienna’s Klangforum, La Nef, the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME), the McGill Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Quasar saxophone quartet, the Bozzini and Molinari string quartets, Réseaux, SuperMusique, the Trio Fibonacci, VivaVoce, as well as soloists Robert Cram, Lise Daoust, Jacques Drouin, Lori Freedman, Louis-Philippe Marsolais, Joseph Petric, Alain Trudel and Lorraine Vaillancourt, to name a few.

Renowned Composer

Of the more than fifty composers whose works will be performed during the Montreal/New Music Festival. let us mention George Antheil, Jean-Philippe Bec, Bélà Bartók, Cornelis de Bondt, Ned Bouhalassa, Brian Cherney, Dimitri Chostakovitch, Omar Daniel, Yves Daoust, Francis Dhomont, Guillaume Dufay, José Evangelista, Morton Feldman, Sean Ferguson, Harry Freedman, Lori Freedman, Giovanni Gabrieli, Alain Gauthier, Michel Gonneville, Sofia Goubaïdoulina, Silvy Grenier, Georg Friedrich Haas, Piers Hellawell, Joane Hétu, Michael Jarrell, Monique Jean, Rudolf Kelterborn, Bernhard Lang, Robert M. Lepage, Jean Lesage, Elisabeth Liddle, György Ligeti, Michel Longtin, Bruce Mather, Joanne Metcalf, Luigi Nono, Arvo Pärt, Yannick Plamondon, Serge Provost, Alexandre Rastakov, Wolfgang Rihm, André Ristic, Niels Rosing/Schow, R. Murray Schafer, Ana Sokolovic, Paul Steenhuisen, Alain Thibault, Marc Tremblay, Klas Torstensson, Edgar Varèse and André Villeneuve.

With its diversified array of concerts and activities, and thanks to its resolutely eclectic character, the MNM Festival offers a broad sampling of contemporary music production. Through symphonic, vocal, instrumental, multi-media and hybrid works, the programming will appeal to a very large audience which will without a doubt find more than enough to tantalize their ears. MNM Festival concerts will be held in several downtown Montreal halls, including Pollack Hall, Redpath Hall, Salle Pierre Mercure, Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Usine C and Beverly-Webster at the Musée d’Art Contemporain.