SMCQ Homage Series:
Travel Broadens the Mind!

The musicians of the SMCQ and Oktoécho Ensemble gathered for two major concerts

The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) launches its 54th season, and the 7th edition of the Homage Series, dedicated this year to composer Katia Makdissi-Warren. On Friday, September 27, at 7:30 pm. Razzia will be performed at the Salle Pierre-Mercure as part of the Journées de la culture.

The SMCQ Ensemble and the Oktoécho Ensemble will share the stage, under the direction of Katia Makdissi-Warren, Walter Boudreau and Véronique Lussier. The audience will enjoy three works by the honoured composer focussing on shades of of the Middle East (including “Orientalized” excerpts from Vivaldi’s famous Seasons), a work by the late Claude Vivier evoking Marco Polo’s China, and a creation by Keiko Devaux for ensemble and kanoun, a plucked string instrument from the zither family.

Notes SMCQ Artistic Director Walter Boudreau: “All the works on the program borrow instrumental, stylistic or formal practices from other musical traditions. This allows for the integration of new elements that will help “renew” the composer’s works by providing her with new creative tools,”.

SMCQ - Katia Makdissi-Warren –


The SMCQ will open its 54th season with a free concert at the Salle Pierre-Mercure as part of the Journées de la culture on Friday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. The SMCQ Ensemble and members of Oktoécho will then share the stage, under the direction of Katia Makdissi-Warren, Walter Boudreau and, for the first time at the SMCQ, Véronique Lussier. Three works by the composer will follow one another in the Middle East colours (including “orientalized” extracts from Vivaldi’s famous Seasons), a work by the late Claude Vivier evoking Marco Polo’s China, and a creation by Keiko Devaux for ensemble and kanoun, a plucked string instrument from the zither family.

Le matin des magiciens concert

The SMCQ Ensemble and 8 musicians of the Toronto-based Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan will meet at the Salle Pierre-Mercure on Sunday, November 10 at 2:30 p.m., as part of the Festival du monde arabe. They will also be joined by Oktoécho musicians who will add Middle Eastern colours to the Indonesian shades characteristic of gamelan.

SMCQ - Katia Makdissi-Warren –

Katia Makdissi-Warren and composer Gabriel Evangelista will present brand new works for gamelan and Middle Eastern instruments, while two works for gamelan and Western instruments from the great contemporary Quebec repertoire will also be presented (Walter Boudreau, Le matin des magiciens, and Gilles Tremblay, L’arbre de Borobudur).

A whole season around Katia Makdissi-Warren

The SMCQ is dedicating the 7th edition of its Tribute Series to composer Katia Makdissi-Warren by inviting the cultural and educational communities to make room for her in their 2019-2020 year. By choosing this established composer, Walter Boudreau, artistic director of the SMCQ, made a concrete gesture in favour of the recognition of contemporary music that is open to the world.


A record of new works for Katia Makdissi-Warren

Partners responded in large numbers to the SMCQ’s call: symphony orchestras, soloists, chamber ensembles, theatre and dance companies will perform the music of the honoured composer, who has received no less than 16 commissions for new works for this unique year. Some 20 events have already been announced on the SMCQ website (, and others will be added throughout the season.

A strong presence in schools from coast to coast

As with each edition of the Tribute Series, children across the country will discover Katia Makdissi-Warren’s music through classroom activities inspired by her approach. The distribution of an educational kit by the SMCQ (including a comic strip about his life, a guide to educational activities, scores, and a documentary web series) to teachers should make it possible this year to reach more than 50,000 children through its educational platform.

An innovative composer

Katia Makdissi-Warren first studied composition at the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec and then at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg, Germany. In order to realize her desire to mix Arab and Western music, she studied Arabic music at the Beirut Conservatory and Kaslik University in Lebanon under the direction of P. Louis Hage. In addition to her studies, she participates in training courses under the direction of Franco Donatoni, Ennio Morricone and Manfred Stahnke. In 2007, she obtained a doctorate in composition from the Université de Montréal, under the supervision of Michel Longtin.

An innovative composer, she has made a name for herself on the national and international scene with her unique style, where Middle Eastern, Western and indigenous music meets. In 2006, she founded the Ensemble Oktoécho, which specializes in crossbreeding, for which she regularly composes and acts as artistic director. Her fusion aesthetic leads her to work regularly – as a composer, ensemble director and performer – with indigenous, Arab and Jewish communities.

While being very involved with diverse cultural communities, Katia Makdissi-Warren is very active in contemporary music, having received commissions from ensembles such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the National Oriental Orchestra of Beirut, I Musici de Montréal, the McGill Chamber Orchestra and the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM+). Her works are regularly performed by various performers and chamber music ensembles beyond Canada’s borders in France, Germany, Lebanon, Morocco, Argentina and Spain.

She is the author of numerous soundtracks for theatre, dance, cinema, television, or exhibitions in Canada, France, Singapore, Japan or the Arab Emirates – including the permanent exhibition of Burl-Khalifa in Dubai, the highest tower in the world.

About the Homage Series

Every two years, the SMCQ celebrates a Quebec composer by inviting the national and international musical and cultural community to integrate the artist’s works into its programming throughout the artistic season. The objective of the Series: to promote and recognize our composers, and thus the importance of musical creation in our society. As the series progressed, the SMCQ gathered a growing number of participants, allowing the public to discover the composers from here during concerts and activities in schools. The last edition, dedicated to José Evangelista, reached a large audience of nearly 70,000 people, including 45,000 children in schools. An unparalleled reputation in this artistic sector.


Razzia Concert
Ensemble SMCQ and Ensemble Oktoécho
Friday, September 27, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Salle Pierre-Mercure
Metro BerriFree entrance
Information: 514 843-9305 ext. 301
SMCQ /Razzia

Le matin des magiciens Concert
Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan
Ensemble SMCQ
Walter Boudreau, Chief
Sunday, November 10, 2019, 2:30 p.m.
Fifth Hall – Place des Arts
Place-des-Arts Metro
Price: $30 / $26 (seniors) / $21 (students)
Information: 514 843-9305 ext. 301
SMCQ /Le matin des magiciens


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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