Official launch of the Foundation of the OSM - The Meeting of the Century - 15,000 people celebrate the OSM and the Canadiens at the Bell Centre!

    MONTREAL, April 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Foundation of the OSM was launched
this evening before a sold-out crowd of 15,000 people gathered at the Bell
Centre for the benefit event "The Meeting of the Century." This foundation was
established to ensure the long-term success of the Orchestra. "Our orchestra
deserves a dynamic foundation, and your presence this evening in such great
numbers is striking testimony to your willingness to contribute to the OSM's
future," declared Foundation chair Mrs. Hélène Desmarais at the show, which
was a joint celebration of the centenary of the Montreal Canadiens and the
75th season of the OSM. "Two million dollars was collected this evening,
enabling the OSM to continue conquering the world with its first big European
tour in ten years, from April 15 to 29."
    Commitments secured to date total $50 million, of which $40 million will
be capitalized in perpetuity, this being well more than half the initial
objective of a $60-million capitalization. "The OSM is one of the great
cultural institutions in Canada and one of the great ambassadors of Québec
around the world. We recognize the extraordinary quality of the musicians who
make it up and the inspiring vision of its music director, Kent Nagano," Mrs.
Desmarais concluded.
    The extraordinary evening found symphonic music and the collective Québec
imagination united in an emotion-filled concept. Projections on a giant screen
accompanied the works on the program. Great names from hockey and the cultural
scene were featured: former Canadiens players, including Guy Lafleur (honorary
co-president), Cirque Eloize and actor Pierre Lebeau as well as Gino Quilico,
Natalie Choquette and Claude Dubois. Michel Rivard wrote the words to the
theme song from Les Glorieux by François Dompierre and Georges-Hébert Germain.
The famous Hockey Night in Canada theme was played by the OSM and Kent Nagano,
as was the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with internationally
renowned soloists Measha Brueggergosman, Susan Platts, Matthew Polenzani and
John Relyea along with 1,500 choral singers from all regions of Québec.
    The one-of-a-kind evening was under the co-presidency of Thierry Vandal,
President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, Guy Lafleur, ambassador for the Montréal
Canadiens, and Mrs. Desmarais. At the same time, the OSM was renewing the
tradition of symphony concerts in the temple of hockey: the Orchestra
performed on numerous occasions at the Forum over the years, starting in
October 1959 with the establishment of a series of concerts at a popular price
(one dollar), presented four times a year. And although that series came to an
end in 1975, the OSM has had the opportunity of reaching a broad audience at
several other concerts-events, one in particular being Mahler's "Symphony of a
Thousand" in May 1984.

    Mission of the Foundation of the OSM

    The mission of the Foundation is to ensure the long-term success of the
OSM by providing it with the means to turn a vision into a reality, a vision
that will guarantee its full development along two principal lines: enrichment
of its regular activities, and international recognition. It will carry out
its mission by way of three distinct funds: the Pierre Béique Fund, devoted to
the OSM's regular activities, the Maestro Fund, dedicated to international
touring and recording, and the Outreach the Community Fund, devoted to the
OSM's educational activities.

    A first European tour in ten years

    From April 15 to 29, the OSM will be undertaking its first European tour
under the direction of Kent Nagano. The Orchestra will present thirteen
concerts and visit six countries: Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg
and, for the first time in its history, Croatia. Follow the Orchestra at

For further information:

For further information: Marie-Josée Desrochers, Senior Director,
Marketing and Communications, OSM, (514) 840-7416,; Lucie
Paquin, Head of Media Relations, OSM, (514) 840-7414,

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Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

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