Georges Bizet’s famously enticing Carmen is well-known, but we are much less familiar with his symphonic music, which is just as bewitching, brimming with exoticism and intoxicating colours. Between this composer’s First Symphony and Fauré’s delicate Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, cellist Bryan Cheng takes us back to Paris in the 1900s with Saint-Saëns’ spectacular Second Concerto.
Founded in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) is a distinguished leader of musical life in Quebec and Canada. Recognized as one of the finest orchestras in the world, whose core activity is to perform the vast orchestral repertoire with conductors and soloists of the highest calibre, the OSM is an essential cultural ambassador. Under the new direction of Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare, the OSM perpetuates several rich traditions rooted in its long history of social involvement and embodied in far-reaching projects, world class tours, and a superb discography. Firmly anchored in today’s world, the OSM’s innovative artistic programming in both concerts and recordings brings modern-day relevance to the symphonic repertoire while strengthening the Orchestra’s place at the heart of its home base in Quebec’s metropolis. Over the years, the OSM has crisscrossed Canada and toured abroad, travelling to Quebec’s Far North as well as to the United States, Latin America, and several countries in Europe and Asia. The OSM’s discography totals more than a hundred recordings on the Decca, Analekta, CBC Records, ECM, EMI, Philips, and Sony labels, earning more than 50 national and international awards.
Music and Artistic Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Mulhouse in France, Jacques Lacombe has also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Bonn Opera, Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières and of the Orchestre de Lorraine in Metz, France. From 2010 to 2016 he was Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and from 2002 to 2006, principal guest conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. Renowned as a “gifted and ambitious” conductor (The New York Times), his artistic integrity and rapport with musicians and orchestras have propelled him to international stature.
In recent seasons, Lacombe has conducted the Dallas and Boston symphonies, leading the Boston Symphony twice for opening nights at Tanglewood, as well as the Orchestre National de France.
The first cellist to win the OSM Competition Grand Prize (2019), first-ever Canadian laureate of the prestigious Paulo International Cello Competition, at age 22 Bryan Cheng has secured a distinctive place in the classical music world. He made his Carnegie Hall recital debut at age 14, and his Elbphilharmonie debut in 2018 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Solo highlights of recent and upcoming seasons include appearances with prominent orchestras worldwide. He completed a coast-to-coast Canadian tour with the National Youth Orchestra as the 2017 and a summer 2020 residency with the Orchestra of the Americas, collaborating with such esteemed conductors as Matthias Pintscher, Susanna Mälkki, Peter Oundjian, Joshua Weilerstein, and Jonathan Darlington.
As a member of the Cheng2 Duo, Bryan performs across the globe. 2019–2020 took him to North America and on a tour of Europe, Russia, and Canada with the Duo’s Ludwig & Beyond project. He released three albums on the audite label: Russian Legends (2019), Violonchelo del fuego (2018), and Violoncelle français (2016). Bryan attends the Universität der Künste Berlin under Jens Peter Maintz. He plays the c. 1696 Bonjour Stradivari cello and c. 1830 Shaw Adam bow, generously loaned by the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank.