Nagano was named music director in March of 2004, two years after Charles Dutoit resigned abruptly when musicians accused him of autocratic behavior. Nagano's appointment, announced after more than a year of speculation that he was the orchestra's top choice, was considered a coup and was greeted with joy by musicians and many in the OSM's audience.
Later in the season, Valery Gergiev returns to Montreal to conduct the OSM in Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony ("Pathetique") and works by Stravinsky. Conductor-composer Peter E‹tv‹s will lead a program of music by Debussy, Bruch and Lutoslawski, plus one of his own works, zeroPoints, written as a tribute to Pierre Boulez.
A program called "Nature and Music" will include Beethoven's Sixth Symphony ("Pastoral"), two of Vivaldi's Four Seasons concertos played and conducted by the French violinist Renaud Capu‹on, and a new work by Canadian composer Michel Longtin called Et j'ai repris la route, an OSM commission to be conducted by Nagano.
Jacques Lacombe, OSM's principal guest conductor for the past four seasons, will lead six concerts, featuring such works as Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Richard Strauss's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme with narration by R_my Girard.
Among guest conductors at the OSM this season will be Neville Marriner, Roger Norrington, Marek Janowski and Lawrence Foster. Soloists will include soprano Ren_e Fleming; pianists Till Fellner, Nikolai Lugansky, Stephen Hough and Lang Lang; violinists Joshua Bell and James Ehnes; and tenor Ben Heppner.
Other highlights include the first OSM International Composition Prize, which will be held this fall with finalists' works to be performed next January, and a world premiere by Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic. The orchestra will also perform works by Canadians Otto Joachim, Allan Gordon Bell and Andrew Yin Svoboda.
Information on and tickets for Montreal Symphony Orchestra performances are available at www.osm.ca.