Marc-André Hamelin’s concert of Brahms at the Festival in the summer of 2019 was a milestone. Two concertos in one weekend—this time around, he will perform five in one weekend: who could ask for more? This consummate Quebec virtuoso, a “pianist’s pianist,” teams up with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain to perform Beethoven’s complete concertos—a pinnacle musical encounter, an exceptional tour de force, essential listening for music lovers this summer in Lanaudière.
One of Quebec’s key cultural ambassadors, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal (OM) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season. At its inception in 1981, the OM set the bar high: to build a unique relationship with the community through high-impact initiatives. Over the last 20 years, the OM has grown alongside its artistic director and principal conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, whose career continues to reach new heights. In September 2019, the OM announced that Nézet-Séguin had signed on for an exceptional lifetime contract.
This special relationship resonates throughout the community, with 50 concerts performed annually at the Maison symphonique and across the city, thanks to the Conseil des arts de Montréal Touring Program. The OM also puts on webcast and open-air concerts. Driven by excellence, the ensemble is known for its bold presence, authenticity and community engagement.
More recently, the OM performed all nine Beethoven symphonies for its Summer of Beethoven webcast series available exclusively on DG Stage. This initiative made the OM one of the first orchestras to come together again after the COVID-19 crisis forced ensembles across the globe to go on hiatus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the OM has rolled out numerous digital initiatives, which has helped it stay connected with audience members during this unprecedented time.
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000, Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes, in September 2018, the third Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera (MET), New York, adding this to his Music Directorship of the Philadelphia Orchestra where he has served since 2012. In 2016-2017, he became a lifetime Honorary Member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. After his ten-year tenure with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, he is named Honorary Conductor. In 2019, on the cusp of his 20th season with the OM, he announces the renewal for life of his contract. This open-ended commitment is based on mutual trust.
He has worked regularly with many leading European ensembles and has enjoyed many close collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Wiener Philharmoniker, Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk and Chamber Orchestra of Europe as well as with London Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he was Principal Guest Conductor from 2008 to 2014. His opera interpretations have been acclaimed in many of the world’s most famous houses, such as the Metropolitan Opera (New York), the Salzburg Festival, La Scala (Milan) and the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London) as well as in such renowned concert halls as the Musikverein (Vienna), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and Carnegie Hall (New York).
Yannick Nézet-Séguin records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon label while continuing his role in the collaborative partnership between ATMA Classique and the Orchestre Métropolitain. His honours include Artist of the Year by the prestigious magazine Musical America, a Royal Philharmonic Society Award (RPS, London), Canada’s National Arts Centre Award (Ottawa), the Prix Denise-Pelletier, awarded by the Quebec government, the Medal of Honor of the National Assembly of Quebec and the Oskar Morawetz Award.
“A performer of near-superhuman technical prowess” (The New York Times), pianist Marc-André Hamelin is known worldwide for his unrivaled blend of consummate musicianship and brilliant technique in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries – in concert and on disc – earning his place as a true icon of the piano.
During the 2020/21 season, Mr. Hamelin appeared with the Detroit and Montreal Symphony orchestras and the Cleveland Orchestra in their digital concert performances, performed in a live recital at the Festival International de Launadiere as well as online recitals for Western University of Canada, Candlelight Concert Society, and People’s Symphony Concerts.
Mr. Hamelin’s abbreviated 19/20 season included the Brahms Piano concerti with the Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Le Festival de Lanaudière, and the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth’s piano concerto at the BBC Proms, led by the composer. Recital appearances included a return to Carnegie Hall for the Great Artists Series; Wigmore Hall; the George Enescu Festival; the Moscow State Philharmonic; at the Elbphilharmonie for the Husum Rarities of Piano Music Festival; the Heidelberg Festival; and in Ascona (Switzerland), Prague, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Monte Carlo, and others. Mr. Hamelin was the inaugural guest curator for Portland Piano International, where he opened that season with two solo recitals.
An exclusive recording artist for Hyperion Records, his discography includes more than 60 albums, with notable recordings of a broad range of repertoire. In 2020, Hyperion released two acclaimed albums by Mr. Hamelin – one a solo disc of Liszt and Thalberg opera transcriptions, and the other piano sonatas of composer/pianist Samuil Feinberg.
Mr. Hamelin has composed music throughout his career, with nearly 30 compositions to his name. The majority of those works – including the Études and Toccata on L’Homme armé, commissioned by the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition – are published by Edition Peters. His most recent work, Suite à l’ancienne (Suite in the old style), was premiered in February 2021 by pianist Rachel Naomi Kudo with funding from her Gilmore Young Artist Award.
Mr. Hamelin makes his home in the Boston area with his wife, Cathy Fuller, a producer and host at Classical WCRB. Born in Montreal, he is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the German Record Critics’ Association and has received seven Juno Awards and eleven GRAMMY nominations, the 2018 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance awarded by Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and in December 2020 was awarded the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Keyboard Artistry from the Ontario Arts Foundation. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada.