The symbolism is powerful: almost a year and a half after the pandemic began and the sudden interruption of choral activities throughout Quebec, on this first Sunday of the Festival the OSM Chorus takes centre stage on its own. With this gesture comes the pure joy of singing, the soul’s expression and the visceral affirmation of our humanity. An afternoon filled with choral singing, spanning centuries of music, to a backdrop of love and nature.
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Chorus was established in the 1980s at the request of Charles Dutoit. Composed of 50 professional singers and 80 to 100 volunteer singers, the Chorus has joined forces with the OSM for hundreds of performances of masterworks from the repertoire. In addition to singing under the direction of Kent Nagano and Charles Dutoit, the OSM Chorus has collaborated with such guest conductors as Nicholas McGegan, Zubin Mehta, Krzysztof Penderecki, Robert Shaw, Iwan Edwards (its director for some 20 years) and Andrew Megill, chorus master since 2011. Andrew Megill is recognized as one of the finest chorus directors of his generation, and his repertoire, exceptionally vast, reaches from early to contemporary music.
Andrew Megill is recognized as one of the leading choral conductors of his generation, known for his unusually wide-ranging repertoire, extending from early music to newly-composed works. He has prepared choruses for the American Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic, the National Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, and he has worked with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Alan Gilbert, Kurt Masur and Kent Nagano. He is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Illinois and serves as Associate Conductor and Director of Choral Activities of the Carmel Bach Festival, as well as Artistic Director of the ensemble Fuma Sacra. He taught at Westminster Choir College and has been a Guest Conductor for the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Broadcast by PRI and the BBC, his work can be heard on numerous recordings, including those of Magnussen’s Psalm (Albany Records), Haydn’s Masses (Naxos), and works by Caleb Burhans (Cantaloupe).
The position of Chorusmaster is generously sponsored by Ms. F. Ann Birks, in memory of Barrie Drummond Birks.