Ensemble contemporain de Montréal | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Ensemble contemporain de Montréal

Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+). Contemporary music ensemble and concert organizer, founded in Montreal by conductor Véronique Lacroix in 1987.

Ensemble contemporain de Montréal

Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+). Contemporary music ensemble and concert organizer, founded in Montreal by conductor Véronique Lacroix in 1987. With encouragement from her teacher, Clermont Pépin, Lacroix established the first incarnation of ECM+ while a student at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. Since then, the ensemble has become a vital promoter of contemporary composition and performance in Quebec and the rest of Canada. It was appointed ensemble-in-residence at the Conservatoire in 1995 and was named the resident ensemble of the CBC/Radio-Canada National Composition Prize in 2002.

Concerts and Tours

Depending on the compositions being performed, ECM+ has a flexible membership of 15 to 25 musicians, supported by guest performers that have included Jonathan Crow, the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, and Marc-André Hamelin, among others. Its regular concerts, five or six per year, highlight young performers and pair traditional repertoire with new works by Canadian composers (about 90 per cent of its repertoire). By 2011, the group had commissioned more than 200 works, including those by Canadian composers Christopher Butterfield, Ka Nin Chan, and Melissa Hui. Beginning in the late 1990s, the ensemble expanded its performances to include innovative collaborations with visual artists, dance companies, and filmmakers. In 2004 the ensemble commissioned its first opera, Elia, by Silvio Palmieri; its second commissioned opera, the comic book-based Les Aventures de Madame Merveille, by André Ristic, made its debut in 2009.

ECM+ has toured across Canada and has participated in cultural exchanges with Barcelona (1993), Kiev (1999), Lyon (2002), Singapore (2002), London (2003), Mexico (2004), and Bordeaux (2010). It has performed at the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville (1994), Toronto's Massey Hall New Music Festival (2000), Quebec City's Festival musique au présent (2000), the Festival Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques (2002, 2005, 2007), and the International Cervantino Festival (Mexico, 2009). ECM+ has recorded a number of albums under the ATMA Classique and Centrediscs (Canadian Music Centre) labels, and its live performances have been broadcast frequently on Radio-Canada and CBC Radio Two.

Education and Outreach

In addition to its concerts, ECM+ has sponsored a biennial "Génération" competition for young Canadian composers (begun in 1994), a project which results in workshops and premieres and national tours of the winning composers' works. The ensemble's "ECMDebut" series provides opportunities for young musicians to perform contemporary repertoire in some of their earliest professional contexts.


In 2003 ECM+ won the Montreal Arts Council grand prize and the Opus Prize for musical event of the year for its 2002 thematic concert Cage en liberté. In 2008, Véronique Lacroix won the Opus Prize for artistic director of the year, and ECM+ won the Opus Prize for best premiere for Nicolas Gilbert's L'entreprise de seduction.

Selected Discography

Fins de siècle: Variés. 1994. Société nouvelle d'enregistrement SNE-590-CD

Mozart-Gonneville: Marc-André Hamelin. 1996. Port-Royal PR2207-2

Al-Hamra: Montañés - Evangelista - De Falla. 1996. ATMA ACD 22146

Cantate de la fin du jour: Isabelle Panneton. 1996. Fonovox VOX 7824-2

Nouveaux Territoires 01: Variés. Ana Sokolovic - Pierre Klanac - Jean Lesage - Chan Ka Nin. 2000. ATMA ACD 2 2229

Nouveaux Territoires 02. Ristic - Plamondon - Ferguson. 2003. ATMA ACD 2 2208

Après Moi, le Déluge: Luna Pearl Woolf. 2006. Oxingale Records OX 2009

Jeu des portraits: Ana Sokolovic. 2006. Centrediscs CMCCD 11406

Nouveaux Territoires 03. Gonneville - Lizée - Oesterle - Ristic. 2010. ATMA ACD 2 2582

Further Reading