|Alternative Spellings||OSM, Montreal Symphony Orchestra|
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos - Conductor from 1975 to 1976
Charles Dutoit - Conductor from 1977 to 2002
Kent Nagano - Conductor from 2006
|City||Montreal, QC, Canada|
The ensemble traces its roots back to 1934; Wilfrid Pelletier formed an ensemble called Les Concerts Symphoniques which gave its first concert January 14, 1935, under conductor Rosario Bourdon. The Orchestra acquired its current name in 1954.
Though it began touring and recording modestly in the 1960s and early 1970s under the batons of a young Zubin Mehta and Franz-Paul Decker, the OSM became a household name under the directorship of Charles Dutoit, who became music director in 1977. Dutoit struck a friendship with a producer at London/Decca records named Ray Minshull, and a twenty-year collaboration was born. Throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, Dutoit and the OSM released many well-received recordings and embarked on tours of North America, Europe, Asia, and South America.
In recent years, the OSM has fallen on tough times. The London/Decca recordings ceased in the late 1990s as the entire recording industry was turned upside-down, and the international tours dried up soon afterward. Then, in 2002, the OSM suffered the abrupt resignation of Charles Dutoit as music director. The resignation was ultimately the result of an inflammatory public letter written by, Emile Subirana, the head of the Québec musicians' guild on behalf of the OSM's musicians. This letter publicly aired years of bottled-up hostility, accusing Dutoit of being a tyrant.
In March 2003, the orchestra announced that Kent Nagano would be its new music director starting in 2006. Later in 2005, the OSM's musicians struck for the second time in less than a decade. Unlike the 1998 strike, which lasted a mere three weeks and was resolved largely due to the personal relationship between Dutoit and Lucien Bouchard, then the premier of Quebec, this much more acrimonious work stoppage lasted five months, ending shortly before Nagano's first scheduled concerts. Nagano made a good start, the OSM has finally moved into the new concert hall it had been hoping for since the early 1980s, and has begun recording again.
The OSM and Charles Dutoit have received accolades for their numerous recordings, including the Grand Prix du Président de la République (France) and the Prix mondial du Disque de Montreux. The OSM won Grammy awards in 1996 for its recording of Hector Berlioz' Les Troyens and in 2000 for Sergei Prokofiev and Béla Bartók piano concerti with Martha Argerich on EMI. It has additionally won a number of Juno Awards and Felix Awards. Wikipedia