40 years old, already!

Montréal, Monday, August 28, 2006 — This year one of North America’s premiere contemporary music societies, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec celebrates its 40th anniversary with a salute to free spirits of every stripe—rebel artists determined to invent their own language while thumbing their noses at convention and the latest trends in music.

Artistic director Walter Boudreau is proud to unveil a season of programming rich in creative variety but rooted in flagship works by composers who have contributed to this contemporary music society’s reputation for excellence. Eminent performers who are deeply committed to the musical adventure of our time are slated to deliver these works to listeners.

Embarking October 12th, Destination Soleil is a concert that will steer a brilliant course through both virtuosity and humour. Port of call for a major celebration: Piano FORTE! will mark the SMCQ’s anniversary on December 14th with ten seasoned pianists poised for a “marathon” of 17 works by 15 Québécois composers. The occasion will also be the site for the launch of three CDs, including Walter’s Mixed Bag—Boudreau’s most “Gothic” collection to date— added incentive to revel in the SMCQ’s arrival at middle age, or, the prime of life! On January 30th the society will host percussionists Julien Grégoire and Robert Leroux. These two “go getting” directors of the University of Montreal’s percussion studio will stage an “all-Steve-Reich” event at the Spectrum.

The Montreal season will close March 7th with Méchants Garçons! (or Bad Boys!), a gala concert given by the Ensemble de la SMCQ as part of the third biennial Montreal/New Music International Festival. Yes indeed, MNM returns with its characteristically dizzying array of new music. We’re in for an intense season!

The Montreal Series in Detail

Destination soleil: A Comic Overture

Thursday, October 12th at 8:00 pm (Salle Pierre-Mercure)

Scintillating accordionist Joseph Petric opens the ball (and sets the tone) with a performance of Road Runner, composed by an American who stands apart from his entire generation: John Zorn. This highly eclectic Goliath of post-modernism is notably inspired by cartoon music, traces of which can be heard in For Your Eyes Only, work for large ensemble that will be performed by the Ensemble de la SMCQ under the direction of Walter Boudreau. Free-wheeling guitarist and improviser René Lussier will join the Ensemble for a performance of his tongue-in-cheek Destination Soleil—commissioned by the SMCQ. Following the intermission, the young conductor Jean-Michaël Lavoie will lead the Ensemble and pianist Durval Cesetti through Denys Bouliane’s Jeux de Société, a disquieting work where musical jesting and satire speak of the psychological tensions (and even the cheating) inevitably associated with all types of games. Things are bound to heat up!

Piano FORTE! Happy Birthday SMCQ!

Thursday, December 14th at 7:00 pm (Salle Claude-Champagne)

Forty years ago, on December 15th 1966 the late Serge Garant stepped out on the stage of Salle Claude-Champagne to conduct the SMCQ’s inaugural concert. Appropriately, the society will return to this hall for its 40th anniversary concert in collaboration with the Université de Montréal’s Faculté de Musique. The SMCQ has put together a programme highlighting the piano as a tribute to the ardent piano enthusiast that the composer Serge Garant was.

Nine virtuoso pianists—Louise-André Baril, Louise Bessette, Jacques Drouin, Bruce Mather, Louis-Philippe Pelletier, Brigitte Poulin, Richard Raymond, Jacinthe Riverin and David Kronkite (synthesizer) — will perform 17 works by 15 Québécois composers with strong ties to the history of the SMCQ: Serge Arcuri, Denys Bouliane, Yves Daoust, Louis Dufort, José Evangelista, Sean Ferguson, Serge Garant, Michel Gonneville, André Hamel, Luc Marcel, Bruce Mather, Serge Provost, John Rea, Gilles Tremblay, and Claude Vivier.

This anniversary event will also be an occasion to launch three CDs, including Walter’s Mixed Bag—Boudreau’s most “Gothic” collection to date— and André Hamel’s La Trilogie du Presto (both on the ATMA Classique label), as well as Denis Gougeon’s À L’Aventure! (on Centredisques). The evening will also present a golden opportunity to celebrate the SMCQ’s position as doyen of North American societies of its kind, with the official announcement of a foundation dedicated to the creation of new music.

Refreshments will be available during the intermissions and a real bash will follow at midnight.

Don’t forget your balloons!

Steve Reich: Minimalist Giant

Wednesday, January 30th 2007 at 8:00 pm (Spectrum)

The SMCQ hosts Julien Grégoire and Robert Leroux, two seasoned veterans of the SMCQ, at the Spectrum for a repeat performance of a show completely devoted to the percussion genius of Steve Reich, with young enthusiasts from the Université de Montréal’s percussion studio, the Atelier de Percussion. Poly-rhythms, de-phazing, rhythmic canons, and gradual transformation processes mark this music, which is rooted in a blend of Western, Asian, and African traditions. A journey to the depths of rhythm through four works: Music for Voices, Organ, and Mallet Instruments; Electric Counterpoint; Sextet and the “uber famous” Drumming, all by this American master of minimalism—and grand explorer of the never ending—who celebrates his 70th birthday this year. Put on your dancing shoes!

Méchants Garçons… Bad Boys by the SMCQ for the MNM International Festival

Wednesday, March 7th at 7:00 pm (Pollack Hall)

The night before he mounts the podium of the Montreal Symphony to close out the MNM International Festival (where he will perform one of this own works), Walter Boudreau will take up the baton for “his own” Ensemble de la SMCQ, for a mammoth concert with guests Ingrid Schmithüsen (soprano) and the McGill Digital Composition Studio. “Real time” electronics, chamber ensembles with “toy” instruments, and an incomparable voice—these are the forces to be assembled for a programme that will include the premiere of a work by Canadian Chris Paul Harmann, as well as music by the Franco-Italian Mauro Lanza and Germans Manfred Stahnke and Moritz Eggert. These four composers are renowned for their absolute independence in all things artistic. An evening of works as completely unalike as they are igniting!

Vive la Liberté Libre!

The Montreal/New Music International Festival (MNM) — Third Edition
Walter Boudreau and Denys Bouliane, Artistic Directors
February 27th to March 8th—various venues. Complete programming in January

13 days, 26 concerts, 52 composers, 21 ensembles, 10 conductors, 15 soloists, 20 talks/lectures/masterclasses, 1 symposium and more than 400 musicians!

“TOTAL” freedom moves where it will: by land, sea or air. Whether it takes a beaten path or breaks a new one, its force, creativity and originality remain inexorably uncompromised.

MNM is a festival featuring ALL the music of our time for EVERYBODY. From the symphonic to the acousmatic, by way of the most explosive “electronic” music and multi-media works of “the past,” and through the halls of chamber, vocal, and non-conventional instrument music, artistic directors Walter Boudreau and Denys Bouliane have put together a third edition that will widen your scope, and more importantly, open your ears!

Also in the works: The MNM Benefit Event, scheduled for March 8th is the Festival’s closing concert, given by the OSM under the direction of Walter Boudreau. The concert is part of the year’s subscription to SMCQ’s Montreal Series.

Produced by the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) in partnership with McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM), Radio-Canada’s Espace musique, CBC Radio Two and Radio-France’s Présences festival, the MNM International Festival defines itself as an event for ALL the music of our time.

40 Years Old, Already!

In addition to its concerts, festival, new foundation, and SMCQ Jeunesse activities—currently in the thick of preparations for the premiere of a show with the Qui va là group—the SMCQ is pleased to announce that a history of its activities will soon hit the presses. This is courtesy of journalist Réjean Beaucage, who is hard at work on a gripping history of the SMCQ.

Further detail to follow throughout the season. For information about subscriptions and the box office, contact the SMCQ at 514-843-9305 or visit our website: www.smcq.qc.ca

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Source: SMCQ, Sylvie Brousseau, directrice des communications, 514-843-9305, poste 305
Attaché de presse: Alain Labonté Communications 514-523-9922, {mailto(Alain.labonte@videotron.ca)}

La SMCQ remercie de leur soutien: Le Conseil des Arts du Canada, Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Patrimoine canadien, Le Conseil des arts de Montréal, La Ville de Montréal, La Fondation SOCAN, Le Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, Le Ministère des Relations internationales du Québec, Espace musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada, Bayer Inc., Le Devoir.