Jean-François Rivest named artistic director of The Orford Arts Centre

ORFORD, QC, Oct. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Mathieu Bouchard, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Orford Arts Centre (OAC) announced today the appointment of Jean-François Rivest as the OAC's new artistic director. Until recently the conductor-in-residence at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and right arm of Maestro Kent Nagano, Rivest is also the current professor of orchestral conducting at the Université de Montréal and artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre de l'Université de Montréal (OUM). He will assume his new position immediately.

Said Mathieu Bouchard: "The Board is very proud to welcome to the Orford Arts Centre a talent as exceptional as Jean-François Rivest. We are confident that he will bring an innovative vision to the organization's artistic activities, while also staying true to the mission established by OAC founder Gilles Lefebvre. Rivest's many years of experience will be put towards our objective of making the Orford Academy one of the greatest schools for the next generation of musicians." Executive Director of the OAC, Davis Joachim, added: "The arrival of Jean-François Rivest permits us to continue the artistic and educational development of the Orford Arts Centre, while also enhancing our cultural offering to the Eastern Townships, Canada and the rest of the world."

"I am happy today to join the team of OAC," said Maestro Jean-François Rivest. "I am confident that we can develop a unique and integrated learning environment that will allow all (students and members of the public) to enrich themselves, first by way of the arts in general and music in particular, and then through contact with the history, humanities, sciences and beautiful nature that surrounds the Centre."

Jean-François Rivest will, among other things, be mandated to develop a curriculum of high-level studies for orchestral musicians at the Orford Academy. He will also be responsible for the artistic programming of the Orford Festival.

About Maestro Jean-François Rivest

In addition to the regular invitations he receives from across Canada as guest conductor, Rivest has conducted in Europe, the United States, Mexico, South America and Russia. He is the founder, artistic director, and principal conductor of the Orchestre de l'Université de Montréal (OUM).

After being chief conductor of the Thirteen Strings ensemble (Ottawa) for five years and artistic director of the Laval Symphony Orchestra for ten years, Rivest became the conductor-in-residence of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from June 2006 to June 2009. During his tenure he developed a wonderful relationship with Kent Nagano, who entrusted him with numerous concerts and many artistic tasks. He went on to make his mark with the MSO's public due to his communication skills and the originality of his interpretations.

Trained at the Conservatoire du Québec (Montreal) and the Juilliard School (New York), Jean-François Rivest studied primarily with Sonia Jelinkova, Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, and quickly established himself as one of the best violinists of his generation in Quebec. By the age of 21, he had obtained a position as first violinist of the MSO and then continued his career as a soloist and chamber musician, leading him to perform in the major cities across Canada and the United States.

He has taught at various summer academies, at McGill University, at the Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec and, since 1992, at Université de Montréal. In addition to leading the OUM, he also taught conducting at the school. In 1998, the Université de Montréal awarded him a rare prize for excellence in teaching.

About the Orford Arts Centre

Located on a 222-acre site in the heart of Mont-Orford National Park, the Orford Arts Centre is a music academy of international calibre that offers high-level training to gifted young musicians from the around the world. Hailing from over 25 countries, these young students, poised to begin a professional career in classical music, benefit from specialized training that is offered in the form of workshops and master classes. This training is offered annually for a period of nine weeks from June to August.

Our internationally renowned professors team up with the Orford Academy to achieve our mission, which emphasizes the following values: excellence, rigor, commitment, openness, respect and humility.

Together with the activities of the Orford Academy, the OAC presents the Orford Festival, a prestigious music event that attracts an audience of music lovers to an environment of great natural and architectural beauty. More than 60 concerts are offered each summer by renowned artists, orchestras and musical ensembles, as well as the teachers and students who make up the Academy.

In addition to this major cultural and touristic event, the OAC supports, due to its art galleries and sculpture garden, the visual arts. Deeply rooted in the Eastern Townships, our organization actively participates in the development and influence of the region.

The Orford Arts Centre also operates an 87-room inn that welcomes students and teachers during the summer and, off-season, visitors and corporate and cultural groups looking to take advantage of the attractive ski slopes of Mount Orford that are just minutes away. The Orford Arts Centre's has become an exceptional tool for artistic, cultural, touristic and regional economic development.

Founded in 1951 by Gilles Lefebvre, Rev. JH Lemieux, Anaïs Allard-Rousseau and Laurette Boisvert-Desruisseaux, who were also founders of the Jeunesses musicales du Canada movement in 1949, the Orford Arts Centre will celebrate its 60th year in 2011.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE ORFORD ARTS CENTRE

For further information: For further information: Nicole Bouchard, Head of Communications, Orford Arts Centre, (819) 843-3981 #258, nbouchard@arts-orford.org

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