How can orchestras “attract new audiences, especially young audiences?” writes Paul Wells in Wednesday’s (8/10) Toronto Star. “The best answer I’ve seen will be on display in Montreal this weekend at the fifth annual edition of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s compact and superb [Virée classique] summer festival…. Thirty concerts in 30 hours, Friday night and all day Saturday, all within walking distance of each other…. Many of the concerts will be played by the entire OSM under the baton of its extraordinary music director, Kent Nagano. But there will also be chamber groups, solo performances, mix-and-match encounters between Montreal musicians and visiting stars …. No ticket will cost more than $40…. And with one or two exceptions, no concert will last longer than 45 minutes. It’s the short concerts that are key, in my experience…. The OSM’s other simple, elegant conceptual victory is this: Nagano, his orchestra and their guests … play the best symphonic music they know…. Surely there’s something in the idea of playing the best music with the least amount of hassle … of inviting new audiences, on their terms, to hear you doing what you love, on yours. An idea that deserves to spread.”

Posted August 11, 2016