I Musici de MontréalI Musici de Montréal. String orchestra founded 1983 in Montreal. Comprising 15 musicians selected among graduates of McGill University, University of Montreal and Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal, I Musici was founded by Yuli Turovsky, who was its conductor until the end of the 2010-2011 season. Jean-Marie Zeitouni was appointed in 2011 as principal conductor and artistic director designate. Although it recorded as an ensemble before it appeared in concert, it gave its inaugural concert 8 November 1984 at Redpath Hall, McGill University. Eleonora Turovsky was concertmaster from the orchestra's inception until 2011, succeeded in 2012 by Julie Triquet. In 1990, I Musici de Montréal became a permanent orchestra with a 48-week season, including 64 concerts in Montreal and abroad, and a regular series of eight concerts.
The ensemble has given concerts in the US, Korea, and Canada, in particular at the Festival d'été international de Québec, the Festival international de Lanaudière and the Jeunesses musicales of CanadaOrford Art Centre. It has been heard regularly on CBC radio.
The ensemble's repertoire spans all musical periods from the baroque era to the 21st century. I Musici has premiered commissioned works, among them Brian Cherney's Illuminations in 1988. In 1990, the orchestra played the film score for Charlie Chaplin's movie City Lights during its showing at the Grand Théâtre de Québec.
Following a concert by I Musici, Claude Gingras observed: 'I have never heard this young orchestra play with such purity of sound and concept, and maintain such a high quality of performance and spiritual commitment from the beginning to the end of a concert' (Montreal La Presse, 11 May 1986).
I Musici frequently includes guest soloists in its concerts. In 1986, Gary Karr, bass soloist, joined the orchestra for a concert; in 2004, I Musici featured several soloists in its concert series, including Rivka Golani (viola), Dudu Carmel (flute), and Eyad Ein-Habar (oboe). In 2004, Henri Oppenheim (accordion), Airat Ichmouratov (clarinet), Elvira Misbakhova (violin), Alain Legault (guitar) and Mark Peetsma (double bass) performed solos for the I Musici CD Klezmer (Chandos).
Recordings and Awards
Prior to its concert debut, the ensemble had made three albums for Chandos, including Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14, which won a Diapason d'Or.
In 1987 I Musici was declared ensemble of the year by the Canadian Music Council, in addition to winning the Félix Award as best classical ensemble in 1988. In 1996, its recording Ginastera/Villa-Lobos/Evangelista (Chandos/SRI) won the Félix Award for best classical album, orchestra or large ensemble, and in 1997 won the Juno Award for best classical album. In 1998, I Musici was awarded two Opus awards by the Conseil Québécois de la musique, for recording event of the year and best recording. The following year, the ensemble won the Grand Prix from the Montreal Urban Community Arts Council for its "outstanding contribution to the advancement of music throughout the Montreal Urban Community" (Orchestra Canada 1999). In 2001, BBC Music Magazine named I Musici's 40th CD its CD of the month, and the ensemble won Opus awards in 2003 and 2004. I Musici released its first recording on the Analekta label in 2005. It was nominated for two Félix awards in 2006, and received a Juno nomination in 2010 for its album Tchaikovsky: souvenir de Florence, Quartet no. 1.
Snider, Roxanne. "I Musici de Montréal's instant fame," Music, May-June 1988; Flower, Henry. "I Musici de Montréal, recordings," Music and Musicians, Feb-Mar 1989; Davoine, Francoise. "Moment d'eternité avec Yuli Turovsky et I Musici," Magazine de la Place des Arts, vol. 14 no. 4, Mar/Apr 1999; "Breaking the mould," The Strad, Nov 2005; Markow, Robert. "A quarter century of music-making: I Musici de Montréal marks 25 years," Opus, Spring 2008; Kaptainis, Arthur. "Swan song for Yuli Turovsky," The Gazette, 14 May 2011