I. Tanzlied/Dance Song
II. Nonsense Song
III. (Passacaglia, Intrada, Saltarello, Bourrée, Passepied, Gigue, Allemande, Finale)
I. The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship
II. The Story of the Kalendar Prince
III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess
IV. Festival at Baghdad. The Sea. The Ship Breaks Against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman
Inspired by Rimsky-Korsakov’s overseas adventures and his ability to make an orchestra sing just as he envisioned, Scheherazade is just as enchanting as the courtesan tales from One Thousand and One Nights. Under the baton of Elim Chan, a young female conductor with international star power, the tales’ distinct colours intermingle to the pleasure of musicians and audiences alike.
It may be the middle of the night, but This Midnight Hour by British composer Anna Clyne doesn’t care what the neighbours think. This immersive piece brings the audience along on a wild, melancholic, nocturnal journey. Percussionist DOMNIQ (Dominique Vleeshouwers) performs the stunning Speaking Drums by Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös, where the soloist literally speaks to the snare drum, bell and other instruments with contagious glee.
6:30 PM | CONCERT HALL
An hour before the concert, you’re invited to discover the works on the program in the company of Benjamin Goron, head of programming at OM. For the occasion, he will be talking with percussionist DOMNIQ (Dominique Vleeshouwers).
19 H | FOYER ANTONIA-NANTEL (formerly the Foyer Allegro, located on the basket level of the Maison symphonique)
Thirty minutes before the concert, enjoy a performance by young musicians from the Dorval-Jean-XXIII flute ensemble.
Music has the incredible ability to create an atmosphere and transport the listener to another place and time. This is what tonight’s program is all about.
The concert opens with English composer Anna Clyne’s This Midnight Hour (2015). The single-movement work transports the listener into a film noir with its unsettling tones. The high notes of the piccolo and scraping sounds of the trombones and tubas accompany the sound of a small, suspended cymbal rubbed with a violin bow to create a sound similar to tinnitus—it’s spine-tingling! To make things even stranger, the cello section is intentionally dissonant. Yikes!
The piece takes a wild trajectory, with timpani and enigmatic sounds that come on suddenly before disappearing again into the silence. Then a Parisian waltz emerges, introducing a melancholic and peaceful melody from the principal trumpet, like the calm after the storm.
Born in London in 1908, Anna Clyne has always known that she would dedicate her life to composing. She wrote works for piano and flute at the age of 7. Music has always been a vehicle for her to express strong emotions, which is particularly apparent in This Midnight Hour. In the score, she writes: “Whilst it is not intended to depict a specific narrative, my intention is that it will evoke a visual journey for the listener.”
Discussion with drums
Péter Eötvös’s Speaking Drums (2012–2013) creates an entirely different symphonic landscape that’s a lot more … percussive! Divided into four poems, the work highlights the percussion section, which is normally relegated to the background. An impressive number of percussionists are at the front of the stage according to the composer’s detailed plan, as he wanted to ensure that the soloist could move about freely.
The soloist is at once an instrumentalist and poet, speaking while they play. In composing his piece, Eötvös imagined a child playfully repeating words until they completely lost their meaning: “It begins with the percussionist speaking nonsensically, the emphasis on the rhythm, which he then passes on to his instrument. Like the pure, childish joy of repeating the same word in a different tune, the soloist teaches his instrument to speak until the drums start to talk themselves.”
Eötvös is a Hungarian composer and conductor who has been promoting his country’s avant-garde music around the world since the 1960s. He has collaborated with many contemporary composers, notably Stockhausen, Kodály and Boulez, for whom he has conducted certain pieces. He is influenced by Béla Bartók, who was able to reproduce certain sounds of the Hungarian language through his music.
1844 – 1908
Have you ever been glued to the couch because you’re wrapped up in a page-turner and you can’t wait to find out what happens next? That’s how Scheherazade tricks the Sultan Shahriyar. The bold protagonist tells him the stories of One Thousand and One Nights to distract him from killing her. He had made the vow to marry a new woman every day and execute her in the morning, but he was so captivated by Scheherazade’s stories that he lets her live one more night. He can’t resist the suspense! She also tells the interrelated stories of Aladdin and the genie, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, Sinbad the sailor and countless other characters that enchant the Sultan until, after one thousand and one nights, he finally rejects his old ways.
In the famous symphonic suite Scheherazade, Nikolaï Rimsky-Korsakov is inspired by some of these fascinating tales. While the title of the work and its movements refer to the characters in One Thousand and One Nights, the music doesn’t follow a specific narrative, leaving the listener to their imagination.
The four-movement piece is a symphonic suite, a musical genre known for recurrent and changing musical themes, namely those of Scheherazade and the Sultan. The first is enchanting and romantic, while the second is martial and authoritarian. You can hear them both at the beginning of the first movement before they are reiterated throughout the rest of the piece, reminding the listener that the tales are being told by Scheherazade to the Sultan.
Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) was a Russian Romantic composer. His membership in the nationalist and anti-Western group of composers known as The Five had a profound impact on his musical career. His work features recurring themes of Russian folklore and a divergence from European composition standards. Scheherazade is one of his country’s most emblematic works.
One of the most sought-after artists of her generation, Elim Chan performs an unusually wide-ranging repertory of symphonic works extending from the Classical period to the present day. The Sunday Times describes Elim Chan as “a rare example of a young conductor at once brilliant and not in the least showing off.” In January 2022, the Boston Classical Review spoke of a “marvel of control and understanding” following Elim Chan’s debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra: “…Chan was the night’s revelation. As a conductor, she’s the embodiment of the principle that less is more. Like Fritz Reiner or Bernard Haitink, she’s not overly demonstrative on the podium. But her beat is clear, gestures economical, and cues precise. Also, she has an exceptionally sensitive ear.“
Elim Chan was guest conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra from 2018 to 2023 and has been principal conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra since 2019. In her last season as chief conductor, she will present the orchestra in the Benelux in the 2023-24 season with amongst others Gustav Mahler’s 4th Symphony and soloists including Sol Gabetta and Midori.
Highlights of the 2023-24 season include debuts with the Salzburg Festival, the Orchestre de Paris as well as the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Staatskapelle Dresden, as well as the New York Philharmonic. Further debuts in North America are scheduled with the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal as well as the Minnesota Orchestra and Seattle Symphony. In Europe, first collaborations will take place with the Danish National Orchestra and the radio orchestras of the German broadcasters SWR, RSB and WDR. Re-invitations this season will take Elim Chan to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as well as the Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. In spring 2023, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León announced a three-year collaboration with Elim Chan as Associate Conductor, focusing on Stravinsky’s ballets.
A native of Hong Kong, Elim Chan studied at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, and at the University of Michigan. In 2014 she was the first female winner of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition, enabling her to spend the 2015-16 season as assistant conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra, where she worked closely with Valery Gergiev. For the following season Elim Chan joined the Dudamel Fellowship program of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also owes much to the support and encouragement of Bernard Haitink, whose masterclasses she attended in Lucerne in 2015. In recent seasons, Elim Chan celebrated debuts amongst others with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Dominique Vleeshouwers, known professionally as DOMNIQ, is a virtuoso Dutch percussionist who combines solo performances with innovative projects and collaborations with dancers, artists, and writers, moving easily between classical, world and new music. Ceaselessly creative and curious, he has researched drumming traditions around the world and brought elements into his own performance and compositions.
As a soloist, DOMNIQ has performed concertos with ensembles including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Asko||Schönberg ensemble, Netherlands Chamber and Philharmonic Orchestras and Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic Orchestra. This season he performs a new work by Daniel Wohl that combines composition, field recordings and improvisation, alongside lighting design and a video installation, using AI software. He also performs Peter Eötvös’s Speaking Drums in Canada and Spain and Daníel Bjarnason’s concerto for percussion and orchestra in the Netherlands. He also tours his own solo programme, Water Ripples, inspired by his visit to the tranquil Japanese Gardens in Kyoto, featuring his own music as well as works by Daniel Wohl, Vincent Houdijk, Samuel Carl Adams and Hanna Benn, showcasing the lyrical side of percussion. In 2014, DOMNIQ co-founded production company Combined Creatives to support his vision of interdisciplinary arts. Highlights include Marching & Breakin’, Blurred Lines with dancer Redo and A New Dawn, a second collaboration with Redo, which had its premiere in 2022. This season, he
brings his new project, World of Rhythm, to The Concertgebouw, inspired by field trips to Senegal and Morocco and studies with tabla player Niti Ranjan Biswasand. He enjoys chamber music and collaborations have included with the Pavel Haas Quartet, Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. He is a regular visitor to festivals such the Schiermonnikoog, Floriade and Tromp Festival. DOMNIQ was the first percussionist to win the prestigious Dutch Music Prize, in 2020. He also won first prize, press prize and the audience award at the 2014 TROMP international percussion competition. He is an Adams artist, his percussion
instruments supported by the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and ‘Sichting Eigen Muziekinstrument’. He is committed to supporting young percussionists, creating pedagogical videos and marimba method books ‘Time for 4.’
Yukari Cousineau, Principal
Oleg Larshin, Associate Principal
Johanne Morin, Assistant Principal
Amélie Benoit Bastien
Nancy Ricard, Principal
Dominic Guilbault, Associate Principal
Lucie Ménard, Assistant Principal
Elvira Misbakhova, Principal
Brian Bacon, Associate Principal
Gérald Daigle, Assistant Principal
Christopher Best, Principal
Julien Siino, Associate Principal
Agnès Langlois, Assistant Principal
Marc Denis, Principal
Réal Montminy, Associate Principal
Gilbert Fleury, Assistant Principal
Marie-Andrée Benny, Principal
Jocelyne Roy, 2nd flute and 2nd piccolo
Caroline Séguin, piccolo solo
Mélanie Harel, Principal
Jean-Sébastien Blais, 2nd and horn
Simon Aldrich, Principal
François Martel, Principal Bass Clarinet
Michel Bettez, Principal
Louis-Philippe Marsolais, Principal
Antoine Mailloux, Principal
Patrice Richer, Principal
Trevor Dix, Principal Bass Trombone
Alain Cazes, Principal
Julien Bélanger, Principal
Alexandre Lavoie, Principal
Robin Best , Principal
PIANO and CELESTA
Jennifer Bourdages, Principal
The Steinway piano used for this concert at the Maison symphonique is graciously lent by the OSM.
Thank you to all our donors who make it possible for our musicians to perform on stage.
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