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  1. Photos: http://www.journalmetro.com/linfo/article/601300--un-stationnement-du-vieux-montreal-devenu-vacant-reprend-vie
  2. The New York Times June 28, 2008 By BEN SISARIO MONTREAL — On Wednesday night, in the last of his three concerts presented as preludes to the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Leonard Cohen, the 73-year-old hometown poet-hero on tour for the first time in 15 years, said that on his last time through town he was “60 years old, just a kid with a crazy dream.” Between waves of applause and hollers in French and English, he added, “I am so grateful to be here and to be from here.” Mr. Cohen’s math notwithstanding, hometown pride and musical reverence are at the center of the festival, which opened its 29th season on Thursday and runs through July 6. Billing itself as the largest jazz festival in the world, it attracts one million visitors a year to more than 500 concerts in a three-block music zone downtown and brings about $100 million in revenue to the city, according to Canadian government estimates. With CD sales in a chronic slump, the music industry has been turning increasingly to live events for income, and in recent years big smorgasbord festivals have sprouted up all over North America, aiming to present all kinds of music for all kinds of people. But with a setting ideal for tourists as well as for local residents, and a solid history of eclectic programming — among the attractions this year are Woody Allen, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Public Enemy and the local debut of Steely Dan — Montreal has held on to a rare prestige. “There is no parallel in North America and perhaps no parallel around the world,” said Scott Southard, a jazz and world-music booking agent who has 15 artists at the festival. “In Europe or Bonnaroo, for instance, they have to erect an entire village in a remote location. Here you have an urban environment without having to reconstruct the venue infrastructure every year.” Begun in 1980 by two concert promoters, Alain Simard and André Ménard, as a way to fill up what was then a dry summer concert calendar, the festival takes over four concert halls of the Place des Arts performing arts complex as well as numerous theaters and clubs around the perimeter. Several blocks of downtown streets are closed for outdoor stages, retail and food booths and children’s activities. Despite the size, Mr. Simard, the president of the festival’s parent company, L’Équipe Spectra, said that “the goal is not to be the biggest jazz festival in the world, it’s to be the best.” But as the festival approaches its 30th season, it is preparing to grow even bigger, with help from a four-year, $120 million government plan to develop the area around Place des Arts. The first phase, to be completed by next summer, includes a 75,000-square-foot park and performance ground, the Place du Quartier des Spectacles. The festival has also been given a 30-year lease and a $10 million grant from the Province of Quebec to renovate a nearby vacant building; when completed it will add one club for use year-round. As a tourist draw second only to Grand Prix du Canada, the Formula One race held in Montreal in early June, the jazz festival has become an important symbol of Montreal’s cosmopolitan lifestyle, said Charles Lapointe, the chief executive of Tourism Montreal, a nonprofit agency financed through a hotel tax. “The jazz festival exemplifies perfectly what we are presenting on the foreign market,” Mr. Lapointe said. “You can celebrate on the streets without any problems with security and express all the pleasure you want.” Civic pride and creative abundance was clear on Thursday, the official opening. (Mr. Cohen’s touring schedule prevented him from being part of the festival proper; he appears at the enormous Glastonbury pop festival in Britain on Sunday.) During the afternoon crowds gradually filled up the Place des Arts campus, slurping on ice cream cones beside the fountain and listening to the sound check for a tribute to Mr. Cohen featuring Chris Botti, Madeleine Peyroux, Buffy Sainte-Marie and others. Darting between indoor evening concerts by the veteran jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, the young British songwriter Katie Melua and the African performers Vieux Farka Touré and Salif Keita, a visitor could quickly take in half a dozen outdoor concerts, parades and magicians. Two-thirds of the concerts are free. The Cohen tribute drew an estimated audience of 100,000, filling the plaza and nearby streets. But the concerts by Mr. Cohen himself were the clear early highlight. Dressed like a spy in a crisp black suit and fedora, Mr. Cohen, who has said that after years in a Zen Buddhist retreat in California, his lifelong depression has finally begun to lift, sang a sleek and emotional set of nearly three hours. In “Bird on the Wire,” “Hallelujah” and “Tower of Song” he sang of being weighted down by cynicism and starving for affection, but between songs he doffed his hat and smiled broadly for sustained ovations. The festival, a nonprofit enterprise run by the for-profit company L’Équipe Spectra, has an operating budget of $25 million. And though about 18 percent of that comes from national, provincial and city sources, the biggest form of government support is the closing of several blocks of busy city streets. The bulk of the budget comes from corporate sponsorships (40 percent) and sales of tickets and memorabilia (39 percent). The prominence of sponsorships gives the festival a sense of hyperbranding. Looking over Place des Arts, it is almost impossible not to see a giant symbol of General Motors, the lead sponsor: besides GM logos on banners and fliers throughout the grounds, the company also has five displays of new cars for contests, and at least one of the many marching bands wended its way around, wearing black GM T-shirts. Festival organizers say that they have made efforts to ensure that the sponsorship is tasteful and not intrusive. Signs are only seen outdoors, where concerts are free, they say. There is no advertising for the paid concerts indoors, and the organizers say they will not rename the event to suit any sponsor. To create an egalitarian atmosphere, the festival also shuns velvet ropes. “You will never see a V.I.P. area on the site,” Mr. Ménard said. “There’s never a place where people walk and are told, ‘No, that’s not for you.’ The unemployed can stand next to the president of the sponsor company.” For the Cohen tribute on Thursday night, however, there was a small area of bleachers near the stage reserved for the news media and others. But a reporter who lacked the necessary badges was still able to enter with a few kind words. And unlike many large festivals, this one had a network of fenced-off pathways that made quick travel through even a crowd of 100,000 tightly packed fans on Thursday evening easy for anyone needing or wanting to get through. “The vibe is very peaceful,” Mr. Ménard said of the festival. “The fabric of this city is all about the quality of life. The fact is, we have long, deadly winters, so come summertime, everybody is in for a party — but a civilized party.”
  3. Talk about orchestral manoeuvres http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080204.SEGUIN04/TPStory/TPEntertainment/Music/ A young Montreal conductor has landed two high-profile gigs in Europe. It may be a while before Canada gets him back to lead an orchestra at home, writes Robert Everett-Green ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN February 4, 2008 How did he get that job? A lot of conductors must have had that thought about Yannick Nézet-Séguin recently, probably more than once. Till last spring, Nézet-Séguin was known mainly in the Montreal area, as the music director of l'Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and a frequent conductor of l'Opéra de Montréal. His guest-conducting appearances elsewhere in Canada and the United States had been well received, and he had built a respectable library of recordings with the ATMA label in Quebec. It seemed only a matter of time before the 32-year-old Montrealer began to move up the ladder of orchestral jobs in Canada. Everything changed in April, when Nézet-Séguin surprised everyone (including himself) by becoming the next principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He will replace Valery Gergiev, one of the most prominent and exciting conductors on the planet. In November, the London Philharmonic announced that they too wanted a steady relationship with the young Canadian, who will become the orchestra's principal guest conductor at about the same time he starts work in the Netherlands next fall. His first gigs with his new colleagues are still months away, but Nézet-Séguin seems certain to become the most prominent orchestral conductor Canada has ever produced. Print Edition - Section Front getSLinks("topStoriesInSection","LAC.20080204.SEGUIN04",5); Historically, we've done better in the world's opera houses, both in singing and conducting. Wilfrid Pelletier was a fixture on the podium at the Metropolitan Opera in the forties, Mario Bernardi conducted Sadlers Wells in the sixties, and Yves Abel and Keri-Lynn Wilson (conductors of Nézet-Séguin's generation) both have busy careers, mainly in Europe. Nézet-Séguin had only done a handful of concerts in Europe before arriving in Rotterdam for his debut program as a guest conductor, some months after Gergiev had announced his departure. He knew they were shopping, and liked the idea of a job in Europe, but thought it would take another four or five years to get one. "I never imagined I was a real candidate," he said during a phone conversation, in advance of four performances in Toronto. "Maybe that's what got me the job, because I didn't act like someone who wanted the job. I just worked the way I always do." Even so, he was aware that he was coming under sharper scrutiny than usual, from players who have a lot of sway individually over who runs the show. "An orchestra in a search is always a strange animal," he said. "I could feel they were testing me more than usual, asking more questions, resisting things I was asking them to do, to see if I had the balls to go ahead." He describes himself as a risk-taker, willing to follow the impulse of the moment in performance even if it means colouring over the lines a little. That approach got a strong stamp of approval from the Dutch musicians, who voted unanimously in favour of his appointment. His candidacy was also helped by his repertoire, if only because it doesn't overlap much with that of his predecessor. Gergiev's programs included plenty of Russian works, while Nézet-Séguin favours French music and late-Romantic Germanic repertoire: the symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner, and the tone poems and orchestral songs of Richard Strauss. The same logic advanced Nézet-Séguin's case at the London Philharmonic, which was looking for a foil for its new principal conductor, Vladimir Jurowski. The orchestra had a "great tradition" in the works of Mahler and Bruckner during the reign of the late Klaus Tennstedt, Nézet-Séguin said, and they wanted someone to carry that on. He said he has been offered "almost total freedom" in programming his four concerts a year. Nézet-Séguin initially studied piano with Anisia Campos at the Conservatoire in Montreal, though he knew he wanted to be a conductor by the time he was 10. He was particularly impressed by his early experience of concerts in a park, given by Charles Dutoit and l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. "Dutoit would introduce pieces and be very accessible, and that had a big impact on me as a little boy," he said. "If it had not been for this, I would maybe never have been a conductor." He began singing in the Catholic Cathedral choir when he was 8 or 9, eventually became a section leader, and took over as music director at age 18. He did extra work in harmony, analysis and history at the Conservatoire, but only took one year of formal conducting study, with Raffi Armenian. "My main conducting teacher was actually my piano teacher, because a conductor is also an interpreter," he said. "She was a very old-school teacher, very strict and demanding. She wouldn't allow any compromise in my piano study just because I wanted to be a conductor. I remember some years, I was really angry with her, because she wanted to develop some aspect of my playing that I considered very superficial. But I'm so grateful now. I couldn't have wished for a better teacher." He spent a couple of summers at a choral-conducting workshop in Princeton, N.J., and a year of informal study with Carlo Maria Giulini, whom he followed around Europe, sitting in on rehearsals and occasionally meeting with the conductor. Nézet-Séguin was much impressed by Giulini's "very simple and human approach to everything, to the music and to the musicians. He was very calm and respectful and collegial, whether he was working with l'Orchestre de Paris or a Spanish youth orchestra. I didn't know what to do with the amount of respect he was showing me." Gradually he realized that he was being taught the value of an open, trusting attitude, toward others and inevitably toward oneself. Ironically, he never had much contact with his first conducting hero, Dutoit. "I tried twice to get permission to attend rehearsals with the OSM. I wrote them two letters, that were never answered." The usual route for young Canadian conductors trying to get noticed is to enter competitions, leave the country, and jockey for an assistant's job with some well-known conductor. Nézet-Séguin was considering those options when l'Orchestre Métropolitain asked him to become its music director in 2000. "When they offered me the job, I was really ready to leave, and become an assistant somewhere else," he said. Some people even counselled him to do that anyway, because they feared that if he stayed in Montreal with the city's "second" orchestra, he would be seen as a merely local conductor. "I'm very thankful that Canada trusted me very early," he said. "Because I did not really expect that." He remains fiercely loyal to his home town and his first orchestra. When the Berlin Philharmonic approached him with an offer to conduct three concerts in December, he turned them down, because he was already booked to perform several school concerts with l'Orchestre Métropolitain. "It's a matter of survival, musically and personally, to be part of my own community," he said. His parents and two sisters, who are all teachers, still live in Montreal, and he expects to return often once he takes up his posts in Europe. And he plans to take Canadian music with him in the other direction. His Dutch audiences are probably ready for more Canadian music: Montreal's Claude Vivier may actually be better known in the Netherlands than in Canada, thanks to a major retrospective of the late composer's music at the Holland Festival several years ago. "Rotterdam is a very modern city, and is known for its modern architecture and contemporary art," Nézet-Séguin said. "But the orchestra is quite conservative. So one of the goals is to develop the range of repertoire and to try to be more daring." It sounds like a good berth for a young conductor with an appetite for risk. The next question on this side of the water is whether we'll ever get him back, to lead a major Canadian orchestra. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a Tchaikovsky program with l'Orchestre Métropolitain at various Montreal-area venues from tonight through Friday (http://www.orchestremetropolitain.com). He performs music of Tchaikovsky and Dvorak with pianist Yundi Li and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 13, 14 and 16 at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall; and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Toronto's Bach Consort at Eglinton St. George's United Church on Feb. 15.
  4. Un nouvel auditorium au collège Regina Assumpta en 2012 Publié le 23 Juin 2011 Dès la rentrée scolaire 2012, le collège Regina Assumpta comprendra un nouvel auditorium. Le coût du projet, dont l’annonce a été faite par le directeur général, Pierre Carle, est évalué à 12 M$. Sujets : École de musique Regina Assumpta La capacité du nouvel auditorium sera de 700 places, dont 517 au parterre. Le lieu comprendra un mode acoustique propice à la bonne transmission du son non amplifié, pour les différents concerts des orchestres d’harmonie, à cordes et symphonique du collège, les concerts de l’École de musique Regina Assumpta et les chorales, ainsi qu’un mode de son amplifié pour tous les autres événements. L’installation sera implantée au cœur même de l’établissement, dans la cour intérieure, du côté ouest. Par l’entrée principale du collège, les spectateurs auront accès au foyer inférieur menant à l’auditorium, où se trouve présentement la salle Jeanne-Sauvé. Un escalier vitré permettra d’accéder au foyer supérieur, lieu actuel de la salle Marguerite-Bourgeoys. Ces deux foyers vont également servir de lieux de rassemblement pour la tenue d’activités de groupes.
  5. http://journalmetro.com/local/hochelaga-maisonneuve/actualites/960945/lesplanade-du-parc-olympique-attire-un-million-de-personnes/ 09/05/2016 Mise à jour : 9 mai 2016 | 11:06 L’Esplanade du Parc Olympique attire un million de personnes Par Catherine Paquette TC Media Collaboration spéciale/Jean-Francois Hamelin L'esplanade Financière Sun Life Depuis 2012, le Parc olympique anime et fait vivre l’Esplanade Financière Sun Life avec des festivals, des concerts et des rendez-vous citoyens. En quatre ans, un million de visiteurs ont pris part aux activités offertes à l’ombre du mât du stade. L’esplanade, dont la superficie est de 300 000 pieds carrés, a été au cœur des efforts de relance du Parc olympique. Ce dernier a d’ailleurs souligné la semaine dernière son millionième visiteur sur l’Esplanade Financière Sun Life. «On voulait que les gens renouent avec le Stade olympique, que ça démocratise l’endroit et que ça le décloisonne. Les gens ne se sentaient pas bienvenus donc on a choisi d’y mettre des événements pour qu’on se l’approprie», explique Cédric Essiminy, conseiller en relations publiques pour le Parc Olympique. Depuis, les événements se sont multipliés à l’Esplanade Financière Sun Life, un lieu autrefois presque inutilisé. Les Montréalais ont notamment assisté à des concerts de l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM), pris part au festival de sports d’action Jackalope, suivi des sessions de yoga vêtus de blanc et patiné en famille. «Au début ce qu’on avait c’était seulement les vendredis, c’était tout petit, quelques camions avec des DJs. Puis, les promoteurs se sont ajoutés. Ce qu’on voulait faire c’est tout ce qui ne se faisait pas ailleurs en événementiel à Montréal», ajoute M. Essiminy. Pour la suite des choses, le Parc olympique espère faire de l’endroit un lieu encore plus tourné vers sa clientèle du quartier Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Des designers et urbanistes travaillent actuellement à bonifier le lieu pour le rendre «plus accueillant et plus vivant». De nouvelles animations et des ateliers sur l’écologie et l’agriculture pourraient s’y dérouler dès l’été.