Since its founding in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has distinguished itself as a leader in the orchestral life of Canada and Québec. A cultural ambassador of the highest order, the Orchestra has earned an enviable reputation internationally through the quality of its recordings and tours. The OSM carries on that rich tradition under the leadership of its Music Director, Kent Nagano, while featuring innovative programming aimed at underlining the relevance of orchestral repertoire in our lives and strengthening the Orchestra’s connection with the community.
The excellence and vision of the OSM have been shaped over the years by its music directors: Wilfrid Pelletier, a Montrealer by birth and first Artistic Director of the Orchestra, Désiré Defauw, Igor Markevitch, Zubin Mehta, with whom the Orchestra toured in Europe for the first time, Franz-Paul Decker, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, who collaborated with the Orchestra for close to 25 years, and, since 2006, Kent Nagano.
Over the years, the Orchestra has undertaken some 40 excursions and tours. The OSM has carried out ten tours in Asia, eleven tours in Europe and three in South America. In 2008, Kent Nagano and the OSM performed twice in Carnegie Hall (2008 and 2011), where the Orchestra played almost every year between 1982 and 2004 to sold out halls. In August 2011, they took part in the Edinburgh International Festival. After a critically acclaimed tour in South America in spring 2013, Kent Nagano and the OSM went on an extensive European tour in March 2014, which was a resounding success. The last OSM tour took place in Japan and in China in October 2014.
The OSM has made over 100 recordings for Decca, EMI, Philips, CBC Records, Analekta, ECM and Sony as well as on its own label, which have earned it a total of 50 national and international awards.
On September 7, 2011, the OSM under Kent Nagano inaugurated its new home, the Maison symphonique de Montréal. The construction of this concert hall was made possible thanks to the Government of Québec. The hall's acoustics and theatre design bear the signature of the firm Artec Consultants Inc. Its architecture was entrusted to a consortium consisting of Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. and Ædifica Architects.
Inaugurated on May 28, 2014, at Maison symphonique, the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique was generously offered to the OSM by Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais. It was manufactured by the house of Casavant on behalf of the OSM (and is the Orchestra’s property), with the collaboration of architects Diamond Schmitt + Ædifica for its visual design.