It’s an honour that has been awarded to only two other maestros in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s (OSM) 87-year history — receiving the title of Conductor Emeritus.
Kent Nagano was at the helm of the OSM from 2006 to 2020 and is the third maestro to join the select group.
“To receive this recognition is a great, great honour,” Conductor Emeritus Ken Nagano told Global News while in isolation.
The maestro recently returned to Canada and is currently in quarantine. He hasn’t seen the OSM musicians in more than one year.
“The last time we saw each other, we were at a certain zenith, an absolute pinnacle. The orchestra was in incredible form,” he said.
Nagano has achieved tremendous success with the orchestra during his 16 years as music director.
He helped re-build the OSM into a world class orchestra taking it on successful world tours that received rave reviews.
Nagano also brought the orchestra to the far north to Indigenous communities and helped attract younger, more diverse audiences.
“If you looked out from the stage into the audience, the audience looked like what you see on the streets of Montreal — a cross-section of all generation, all backgrounds,” he said.
The OSM produced a rousing video tribute to recognize all of his accomplishments that summarizes his illustrious career.
Nagano is a highly-sought guest conductor and has performed with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the New York and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
He has also led some of the premier opera houses such as the Opéra national de Paris, Berlin State Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Semperoper Dresden.
Nagano also brought classical music closer to audiences, in part, by establishing the annual Classical Spree series and outdoor performances.
He has recorded Grammy and Juno award-winning albums and helped launch La musique aux enfants, a music education program within Montreal’s public school system.
Perhaps one of his greatest achievements is overseeing the construction and inauguration of the Maison Symphonique Concert Hall, a music performance centre that has world class acoustics and possess a grand orchestral organ.
“On top of the Maison Symphonique we were able to build a new chorus and this chorus is one of the leading chorus of the world,” he said.
The maestro isn’t done with the OSM just yet. Nagano will soon be rehearsing to perform three webcast concerts that will be recorded in March.
Tickets and details are available on this link.