The 2024-25 Season at Bourgie Hall

A most promising musical season to discover this autumn

By Luc Archambault

On Tuesday, April 30, we had the privilege of attending the launch of the 2024-2025 season at the prestigious Bourgie Hall. Under the skilful direction of General Manager Caroline Louis and Artistic Director Olivier Godin, this event was an opportunity to unveil the broad outlines of a tantalizing program.

The following morning, we were able to meet these two music enthusiasts for a most enriching tête-à-tête. They introduced us to some of the talented artists who will be performing at this renowned venue in the coming year.

Bourgie Hall offers a rich and varied 2024-2025 season, featuring the best Quebec, Canadian and international artists.

Whether in chamber music, recital or in more audacious formats, a host of rising stars and great names from the international scene will thrill music-loving audiences. The exceptional acoustics of this architectural jewel, nestled in the heart of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, will ensure moments of rare intensity.

A magnificent tribute to Schubert

Caroline Louis, directrice générale, et d'Olivier Godin, directeur artistique de la Salle Bourgie • General Manager Caroline Louis and Artistic Director Olivier Godin

General Manager Caroline Louis and Artistic Director Olivier Godin • Image: Tam Photography

One of this season’s flagship projects is both ambitious and exciting: the complete performance of Schubert’s vast Lieder cycle, spread over several years. With over 600 works in its catalogue, this monument to vocal music represents a major challenge.

To meet this high-flying challenge, Caroline Louis and Olivier Godin travelled the world in search of the finest performers and musicians specializing in this demanding repertoire. Their quest has taken them to the four corners of the globe, enabling them to bring together a host of exceptional artists.

Highlights include the Orchestre de l’Agora conducted by Nicolas Ellis, accompanying the talented mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska. Soprano and pianist Rachel Fenlon will also honour us with a highly anticipated performance. As for the sublime soprano Magali Simard-Gadès, she will be accompanied by virtuoso horn player Simon Poirier for an evening of rare intensity.

The Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal will also make a valuable contribution to this ambitious cycle. In short, it will be a veritable vocal and musical fireworks display, worthy of celebrating Schubert’s immense genius in all its splendour.

A promising new era

According to Caroline Louis, Bourgie Hall boasts a number of major assets that make it a highly coveted venue. In addition to its cozy, intimate atmosphere, its worldwide reputation attracts the greatest musicians to perform there. But what’s most striking is the palpable synergy between Ms. Louis and Olivier Godin. From their very first collaborations, real chemistry was established, nourished by their respective backgrounds and their shared vision for the future of this prestigious hall.

‘Bourgie Hall’s 2024-2025 season opens on September 25, 2024.’

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive after Isolde Lagacé‘s departure, when she passed the torch to this new two-headed management team. But my doubts were quickly dispelled when I met these two passionate people. When I discovered the 2024-2025 program, the second season conceived entirely by them, I was won over.

A wind of freshness and renewal is now blowing through Bourgie Hall. The ideas are flowing and the enthusiasm is palpable. Ms. Louis and Mr. Godin’s energy is inspiring and holds great promise for the years to come. There’s no doubt that their collaboration and innovative vision will continue to delight the most demanding music lovers.

A strong commitment to youth

Another strong point of this direction is its resolute commitment to passing on the passion for classical music to younger generations. In a post-pandemic context, it is essential to arouse and cultivate young people’s interest in attending concert halls. That’s why Ms. Louis and Mr. Godin have made this a priority, aiming to double the number of under-35s in their audience.

To achieve this, they have concocted a program as varied as it is enticing, ranging from baroque to contemporary music, including jazz and tributes to outstanding composers. All of which is sure to appeal to a wide audience, while opening up new perspectives for experienced music lovers.

‘This season will present the continuation of the “Pianistes d’exception” series with artist-in-residence Louis Lortie and other great pianists.’

But that’s not all. With a view to making classical music accessible to as many people as possible, they have revised the price scale. The average ticket price, already very affordable at $52, is now offered at a 50% discount to young people aged 34 and under. Better still, depending on availability, last-minute tickets can be purchased for just $10!

By focusing on youth and accessibility, Caroline Louis and Olivier Godin are betting on making Bourgie Hall a place of renewal and transmission. It’s a bold and exciting gamble that’s sure to appeal to classical music lovers young and old alike. There’s no doubt that this new era will attract many new audiences, ensuring the future of this Montreal jewel.

Lancement de la saison 2024-2025 de la prestigieuse Salle Bourgie

However, there is still a challenge to be met to enable as many music lovers as possible to enjoy these exceptional concerts: that of broadcasting. Not all classical music fans are fortunate enough to be able to attend these events in person. That’s why it would be a good idea to develop a retransmission network, enabling us to share these magical moments with a wider audience, including international audiences. A project to be explored for next season, in synergy with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its major exhibition on Inuit art.

A bright future for Bourgie Hall

Ultimately, the future of Bourgie Hall seems assured in the hands of Caroline Louis and Olivier Godin. Their vision, passion and commitment make them the ideal custodians of this Montreal gem. By focusing on youth and accessibility, they have taken up the challenge of making Bourgie Hall a place of renewal and transmission. It’s a daring and exciting challenge that’s sure to appeal to classical music lovers young and old alike.

With its inspired management, ambitious programming and willingness to share, Bourgie Hall looks set to shine brightly in the years to come. There’s no doubt that this new season, rich in discovery and emotion, will once again delight lovers of concertante music. A not-to-be-missed event to mark in your diary right now!

Images: courtesy of Bourgie Hall
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Luc Archambault

Luc Archambault, écrivain et journaliste, globe-trotter dans l’âme, passionné de cinéma, de musique, de littérature et de danse contemporaine, est revenu d’un long séjour en Chine à Montréal pour poursuivre sa quête incessante de sens artistique.

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