SMCQ_Katia Makdissi-Warren_westmountmag

The SMCQ at the Montreal
First Peoples’ Festival

The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec pays tribute to Katia Makdissi-Warren

For the first time in its history, as part of this year’s Homage Series, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) is partnering with Montreal First Peoples’ Festival, to present two events honouring composer Katia Makdissi-Warren.

By providing the SMCQ with the opportunity to exchange and work with the First Peoples’ Festival, Katia highlights the proven contemporaneity of Aboriginal musical traditions.

Walter Boudreau, directeur artistique de la SMCQ –

SMCQ Artistic Director Walter Boudreau

“Katia has been working with the Aboriginal community for many years,” notes SMCQ Artistic Director Walter Boudreau. “And it was crucial for us to reflect this remarkable involvement on the occasion of the Homage Series in her honour.” The conductor and composer also stressed the importance of this first collaboration for the SMCQ: “By providing the SMCQ with the opportunity to exchange and work with the First Peoples’ Festival, Katia highlights the proven contemporaneity of Aboriginal musical traditions … An opening of unquestionable wealth for the contemporary music sector, on the path towards inclusion!”

Participatory event

This first collaboration will feature a major event on August 7 at 8 pm at Place des Festivals. Under the direction of choirmaster Tiphaine Legrand, both passionate amateurs, as well as those who are simply curious, will be invited to perform one of Katia Makdissi-Warren’s choral works, Les grands espaces,(commissioned by the SMCQ in 2019), in the company of two Inuit throat singers. “An echo of [Inuit] lullabies mixed with the sounds of the wind, the rain, the cries of the geese and the hoots of the owls”, the work will allow all to experience innovative choral singing in the context of Aboriginal tradition.

Concert at the crossroads of Inuit and Mongolian throat songs

Katia Makdissi-Warren will be making another appearance at the Place des Festivals on August 8, from 8:30 pm, this time during a major concert (Ondes transcontinentales) presented in collaboration with the Ensemble SMCQ, Ensemble Oktoécho (Montreal) and the Orchid Ensemble (Vancouver). On the program: Inuit (Katajjaq) and Mongolian throat singing (Khoomii) gathered together in mixed compositions by Katia Makdissi-Warren and Lan Tung. An atypical encounter, where the surprising similarities between these two types of ancestral songs reproducing sounds of nature will be highlighted.

SMCQ - Katia Makdissi-Warren –

Katia Makdissi-Warren in a nutshell

Katia Makdissi-Warren studied composition in Quebec and in Hamburg, as well as Arabic and Syrian music in Beirut, with Ennio Morricone, Franco Donatoni, Manfred Stahnke, P. Louis Hage and Michel Longtin.

An innovative composer, she drew attention on the national and international scene by her unique style, where the music of the Middle-East, the West and Native America meet. Furthermore, in 2006 she founded the Ensemble Oktoécho, specialized in cultural mixing, for which she regularly composes in addition to being the artistic director. Her aesthetic of fusion drove her to work regularly – at once as composer, ensemble director and performer – with the Native American, Arab and Jewish communities.

SMCQ - Katia Makdissi-Warren –

While staying deeply committed to diverse cultural communities, Katia Makdissi-Warren is extremely active in the milieu of contemporary music, having received ensemble orders from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Beirut National Oriental Orchestra, I Musici of Montreal, the McGill Chamber Orchestra and the Montreal Contemporary Ensemble. Her works are regularly played by performers and chamber music ensembles beyond Canadian borders, in France, Germany, Lebanon, Morocco, Argentina and Spain.

She has written numerous soundtracks for the stage, dance, film, television and exhibitions in Canada, France, Singapore, Japan and the Arab Emirates – including that of the permanent exhibition of Burl-Khalifa of Dubaï, tallest skyscraper in the world.


The reason for the Homage Series

Every two years the SMCQ celebrates a Quebec composer by inviting the national and international musical and cultural milieu to integrate the works of that artist into its programming for the duration of an artistic season. The objective of the Series: to make known and bring recognition to our composers, and in so doing, the importance of musical creation in our society. As one goes along the editions of this Series, the SMCQ has brought together a growing number of participants, allowing the public to discover our composers during concerts and activities in the schools. The last edition, dedicated to José Evangelista, reached a large public of 70,000 persons, including 45,000 children in the school system. An influence without parallel in this artistic sector.

Soirée participative Les grands espaces
Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 8:00 pm
Place des Festivals
Métro Place-des-Arts
Free admission
Information: 514 843-9305 # 301

Concert Ondes transcontinentales
Ensemble Oktoécho & Orchid Ensemble
Thursday, August 8, 2019, 8:30 pm
Place des Festivals
Métro Place-des-Arts
Free admission
Information: 514 843-9305 # 301

Images: courtesy of SMCQBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

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The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) has been at the core of music creation for over 50 years and is dedicated to promoting the work of composers. Throughout the years, the organization established itself on the cultural scene by the quality and the scope of its concerts and activities which stand out for their unifying aspect.

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