Montreal Celebrates 375th Anniversary with a Year of Music
5 Can't Miss Music Events in Montreal in 2017 from Leonard Cohen to Pink Floyd Opera to an Electronic Music Parade.
On May 17, 1642, a small colony called Ville-Marie was founded by a small group of 50 explorers from France. The little colony would soon be known as Montreal and 375 years later, a city of 1.7 million is celebrating a milestone.
Montreal's 375th anniversary conveniently falls alongside Canada's 150th, and makes Montreal one of the top Canadian destinations to visit in 2017 thanks to an exciting line-up of festivals and events throughout the year. Montreal has always fostered and celebrated its musical scene, and in its 375th anniversary year, music reigns.
Here are five musical experiences you can't miss in Montreal this year.
World Premiere of: Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera
When: Select dates between March 11th and 24th
Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera is based on Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall and is a collaboration between Opera de Montreal and Pink Floyd's former bassist and chief songwriter, Roger Waters.
Starting out as a concept album (1979) and then a film (1982), The Wall is a psychological drama inspired by Waters' life. Waters got the idea for The Wall after a concert at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in 1977, so the iconic composition is in a sense, coming home with the premiere of its operatic interpretation on the Montreal stage during the city's 375th celebrations.
Waters will also be a librettist in the production.
Free Montréal Symphonique Concert at Foot of Mount Royal
When: August 19th
Montreal's inner-city mountain has been central to the city since the start, and nowadays, it's a green urban retreat for locals and visitors. Mount Royal takes center stage of 2017 birthday celebrations during a free performance at its base. The concert brings together major artists and Montréal's three great orchestras: the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre Métropolitain as well as the McGill Symphony Orchestra for the first time, under the direction of Simon Leclerc.
This extravagant, far-reaching concert will feature over 300 musicians, pop artists and choral singers. The theme of the concert is: seasons, and a series of tableaux will evoke the city, its inhabitants, its history, its landmarks and its vibrant personality.
Electro Parade Around Montreal
When: September 2nd
The first Electro Parade in North America will feature local and international DJs on parade floats equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems and wandering through the streets of Montréal - turning city streets into dance floors.
This global trend has already become popular in Paris and Zurich, where similar events have taken place.
Full programming, names of guest DJs, and the parade route will be announced soon.
Leonard Cohen Exhibit at MAC Museum
When: November 9th 2017 to April 1st, 2018
Well before he passed away last year, the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal (MAC) was preparing a retrospective on this famous Montrealer's life.
Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything will be one of the last major Montreal 375th events in 2017. The exhibition will pay homage to this global star and feature a collection of new works created by artists who were inspired by Cohen's works and include visual art, performance art, music, written word and film.
One More Thing:
Cité Mémoire Brings History to Life
When: Every night throughout 2017 and beyond - except April 10th to May 10th
Cité Mémoire (pictured, top) invites visitors to experience Montreal's history through a series of multimedia projections around Old Montreal - on buildings, cobblestone streets and even on trees.
For the full experience complete with music and narration, visitors can download the "Montreal en Histoires - Cite Memoire" app before your trip and take along your headphones. The free app is available in four languages and has a map of Old Montreal that shows each projection location and lists the best times for viewing each piece.
This is a self-guided walking tour that visitors can do every evening at your own pace, but there are also Cite Memoire staff along the route to help with interpretation and questions.
Favorite installations include "Suzanne", a love story projection on the Clock Tower Quay set to the iconic song by Leonard Cohen, and "The Face of Montreal", projections of various Montreal faces on trees along Jacques-Cartier Quay.