Negano leaves Berlin for Montreal

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The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) is pleased to announce that Kent Nagano will become its next Music Director in 2006. Mr. Nagano was the unanimous first choice of the selection committee mandated to find a new Music Director.

“The OSM feels privileged to have recruited a candidate of Mr. Nagano’s stature,” said Jacques Laurent, chairman of the OSM’s board of directors. “We are convinced Mr. Nagano will contribute to raising the Orchestra’s profile abroad and to further improving its excellent reputation in the music world.”

“It is with great pleasure and keen anticipation that I accept the invitation from the board of directors of the Montreal Symphony to be the new Music Director of this highly respected Orchestra as of 2006 – and, at the same time, become part of the wonderful Montreal community which, for me, combines the best features of North American and European culture,” said Kent Nagano. “I’m glad that my future schedule has allowed me to accept this post and thus become, as of today, the Music Director designate.”

For the next two seasons, Mr. Nagano will serve as music advisor and will take part in developing the programming. He will also conduct at least four concerts in each season.

“We are delighted that Mr. Nagano will serve as music advisor as of 2004-2005,” said Madeleine Careau, general manager of the OSM. “Music lovers in Montreal, Quebec and across Canada can rest assured that the OSM will continue to uphold the high standards of quality that have been its trademark since it was founded 70 years ago.”

A native of California, Mr. Nagano has built an enviable reputation on the classical music scene over the years for his remarkable talents as an interpreter not only of the symphonic but also the operatic repertoire. Over the course of his career, he has served as guest conductor for many of the world’s leading orchestras, including Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra. Future invitations include London and Chicago Symphony Orchestras as well as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr. Nagano was Music Director of the Opéra National de Lyon, from 1988 to 1998, and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (Manchester) from 1991 to 2000. He is currently Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Music Director of the Los Angeles Opera. He will be Chief Conductor of the Bavarian State Opera as of 2006.

The selection committee was assigned the task of coming up with a short list of candidates. It made its recommendations to the hiring committee in early 2003. Chaired by Bernard Shapiro, former principal of McGill University, the selection committee consists of 12 members from the OSM and from outside the Orchestra. The hiring committee was chaired by Mr. Laurent and consisted of members of the OSM’s board.

“Today’s announcement is a great ending to the recruitment process,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Kent Nagano fits the selection committee’s profile perfectly. He has been our first and unanimous choice. Dynamic and open-minded, he will bring new energy and passion that will no doubt take the OSM to new heights of excellence and continue to make it the pride of Montreal.”

Mr. Nagano will become the OSM’s eighth Music Director. His predecessors are Wilfrid Pelletier (1935-1941), Désiré Defauw (1941-1953), Igor Markevitch (1957-1961), Zubin Mehta (1961-1967), Franz-Paul Decker (1967-1975), Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (1975-1976) and Charles Dutoit (1977-2002).

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal is recognized as one of the world’s outstanding orchestras. The excellence of the OSM has been amply proven in the course of 37 national and international tours, bringing it to four continents. Regularly invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, in New York, the OSM has made 88 recordings on Decca, EMI, Philips and CBC Records, for which it has received 46 awards, including 24 international awards.

The OSM web-site may be found at

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