“The MNM Festival intends to play a key role in forming a unique musical identity, at once firmly anchored in North American realities and resolutely receptive to the rest of the world.”

MNM: proper noun, highly singular, an international forum dedicated to the creation, performance and dissemination of modern and contemporary music that continues to evolve, adapt, and define itself amidst the crystallization of the essential elements of its identity. The work of the festival rests primarily on the solid bedrock of our city and province’s tremendous creative dynamism, its resulting resources and abilities, and the extraordinary possibilities it continues to create. Our energy flows from our creative artists and performers, as well as from the burgeoning number of individuals called to reflect on the nature and future of contemporary music, and take part in its evolution through contemplation, analysis, criticism, and the establishing of various investigative centres “in the field.” Channeling this energy; catalyzing the processes of comparison, contextualization and reflection; and generating a climate of international openness that fosters encounters with the new and different—these are the objectives that drive us.

We believe that we must continue to invest in a very concrete way to embedding musical creativity in the social consciousness. To speak plainly, new music will only develop insofar as we are able to convince society of its meaning, symbolic value, and ability to express often complex and paradoxical social values and beliefs. Festival organizers meet regularly with elected officials and councilors, as well as leaders in various industries, and we will continue to increase our ties to colleagues in sister disciplines, and flirt to our advantage with the highly particular enclave that surrounds major media corporations.

But beyond these fundamental artistic and social considerations, the MNM Festival constitutes more simply a meeting ground, a site for building bridges and working relationships, an arena for exchange, a forum for summing up and coming to terms. It is virtual space housing doors that open freely, through which ideas, works, and performances circulate with uncommon ease, in short, where the means to increase and sometimes multiply the length of our reach is generated. Though our resources are modest, we have already been able to undertake a number of fruitful, collaborative projects. We have created strong ties to groups such as the Hilliard Ensemble (which will premiere works by Serge Provost and Michel Gonneville this year), Klangforum Wien, and Court-Circuit, which will prove an exceptionally strong presence at this year’s festival. Our close relationship with Radio France’s Présences festival is now several years in the making and continues to grow with each season. And as scores of European and North American producers and artistic directors prepare to descend on the 2005 MNM festival, our many avenues for future opportunity include a major partnership with colleagues from several North European nations that has already begun to solidify. We look back with pride on our work with the Netherlands during 2003, and wish to underscore the relationship we have established with France, appropriately this year’s special guest of the festival. A number of the 2005 MNM festival programmes were conceived hand-in-hand with the Présences festival and Court-Circuit, which allowed for four major co-commissions from Radio Canada and Radio France, works scheduled for performance at both venues. This is how we were able to bring Marc-André Dalbavie, Martin Matalon, Philippe Hurel, Yan Maresz and Mauro Lanza to Montreal, and, as a result of the incredible collaborative effort of the NEM and Réseaux, we will also play host to Philippe Leroux, François Bayle, and Bernard Parmegiani.

Présences will in turn open its doors to Alexina Louie, Jean Lesage, John Rea, Pierre Klanac, as well as your humble servants, accompanied by a strong contingent of Canadian performers. We are equally pleased with our tacit accord with the Quatuor Bozzini, who will provide us with a hearing of music by Justin Mariner and allow us to receive René Koering from France and Benedict Mason from the U.K. The 2005 MNM festival would be inconceivable without the wonderful musicians of Quasar, the ECM and Toronto’s Evergreen Club (for premieres of works by Linda Bouchard, Chan-Ka-Nin, and André Ristic), and the National Arts Centre (for the Montreal premiere of a work by Geof Holbrook, with the participation of the Art of Time Ensemble and Brigitte Poulin). We are overjoyed to be the venue for ACREQ-ELEKTRA and its multi-media show by Jean Piché, as well as productions by our Toronto-based partners. MNM 2005 welcomes the Esprit Orchestra for the Montreal premieres of orchestral works by Pauk, Louie and Bouliane, and New Music Concerts for a sonic retrospective of “Classic” Canadian music that will allow us to rediscover the Robert Aitkens, Gilles Tremblays, François Morels, Bruce Mathers, and Serge Garants of our artistic landscape. The McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME) will continue its exploration of the work of Gérard Grisey with the North American premiere of Quatre Chants pour franchir le seuil, and will accompany a Bunuel’s film Un chien andalou, with the music of Martin Matalon. The McGill Symphony Orchestra is poised to present the Montreal premieres of works by Nicolas Gilbert and Brian Cherney (a violin concerto from his youth), and Dutilleux’s imposing first symphony.

One of the highlights of the festival will surely be the “re-premiere” of Stravinsky’s Les Noces, in its original version, including pianola, two cymbalums, and electric harmonium, all brought to the stage by René Bosc’s ingenuity in bending contemporary means to musical demands that could not possibly be met in their time. This same concert by the SMCQ will feature a major work by John Rea, already dubbed L’homme papillon for “short”, as well as the Montreal premiere of Walter Boudreau’s Matin des magicians, performed with the help of the Evergreen Club. We entusiastically welcome back the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal for two concerts. The first will consist of a true “contextualization” of composer Michael Colgrass against the background of Gustav Mahler, the second devoted to the much awaited premieres of Jean Lesage’s Les mécanismes multiples de l’ivresse de la nostalgie and Marc-André Dalbavie’s Sinfonietta, flanking performances of Clermont Pépin’s Chroma, and Pascal Dusapin’s trombone concerto, entitled Watt.

Alongside this array of fruitful collaborations with artists, organizations, ensembles and high-flying performers, expect a prestigious series of lectures and master classes, as well as several activities showcasing our youngest artists and performers. In fact, every lunch hour at the Salon MNM (Centre Pierre-Péladeau) will be given over to young performers from schools in the Montreal region. Moreover, no fewer than 85 young musicians will join forces for a major event with Espaces Sonores Illimités entitled La Symphonie des elements. The MNM festival has also organized Le Musicolateur, a youth-workshop coordinated by Yves Daoust.

Conscious of the need to build strong relationships with the public, the 2005 MNM festival has also created “meeting places” that will be open prior to each evening concert. These informal rencontres will be hosted by inviduals from the artistic milieu in collaboration with highly visible musicians. They were conceived as ideal occasions to meet our creative artists and performers, and as a means of “whetting the appetite” for the concerts that follow. At the end of each evening, surprise awaits at the MNM festival’s “Hidden Faces” event: meandering conversations, talk shows, unusual numbers, relaxation in the company of our performers, and festive celebrations!

The Montreal/New Music festival was born out of an exceptional partnership between the SMCQ and McGill University’s Faculty of Music, with the strong support of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Radio Canada, and the CBC. We would like to extend our warmest thanks to all of our additional artistic and institutional partners, including those previously mentioned, as well as the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, and the Faculté de Musique at the Université de Montréal. The MNM festival owes a great deal to the many organizations that have provided it with financial support. We would like to underscore the importance of these contributions to our work, particularly those of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, Heritage Canada, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal. We would also not like to neglect our major sponsors, such as Bayer Inc., and the sustained efforts of all those who have worked from near and far to bring this festival to life.

From the single, solo voice, to the full orchestra, by way of the string quartet and new audio-visual technologies, and through creative new instruments, the MNM festival stands committed to the musical work—its force, its originality, and its symbolic value, to be discovered and appreciated. We wish you an excellent festival and hope that it will be our great pleasure to meet you at our concerts, meeting places, master classes and lectures… or, more simply, in the company of our guests, as we uncover the Hidden Faces.

Denys Bouliane and Walter Boudreau, Artistic Directors