Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ)
The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) was founded in 1966 by Maryvonne Kendergi, Wilfrid PELLETIER, Hugh Davidson, and composers Jean PAPINEAU-COUTURE and Serge GARANT. Its mandate is to promote and popularize Canadian and international contemporary music.
Every year, The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec organizes a concert series featuring the SMCQ Ensemble and internationally renowned guest groups and soloists. Established in 1968, the SMCQ Ensemble (named Groupe instrumental de Montreal until 1971) typically varies in size depending on the requirements of the program. The ensemble has toured throughout Canada, the US, England, France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands and has been featured on at least 31 recordings. Over the years, the SMCQ has premiered more than 100 commissioned pieces (most of which have been by Canadian composers) and has performed over 900 contemporary works. Since its association with the ATMA Classique recording company in 2000, the SMCQ has produced a series of CDs featuring music of Québécois composers.
The SMCQ ensemble was designated Ensemble of the Year by the CANADIAN MUSIC COUNCIL in 1982. From that year to the present it has been awarded prizes such as the CMC's Best Recording Made in Canada (1983); the CACUM Grand Prix (1991); the ADISQ Album of the Year for Homage à Michel-Georges Brégent (1995); and 3 a Prix Opus awarded by the Conseil Québécois de la musique for the recording Claude Vivier (2002).
In June 2000, the SMCQ organized the Millennium Symphony, a massive musical collaboration co-directed by Walter BOUDREAU and Deny BOULIANE, involving 19 composers and staged for an audience of over 40 000 people at Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montréal. This project won a Prix Opus for "Event of the Year."
The year 2003 saw the inauguration of the Montréal New Music Festival (MNM), a biennial event under the artistic direction of Walter Boudreau and Denys Bouliane. The festival, which took place over a period of 10 days, showcased works of more than 50 composers and acted as an international meeting ground for composers, performers, producers, and broadcasters. Events were held at various venues in Montréal and included lectures, open rehearsals, master classes, a symposium, and 19 concerts. In its first year, the festival received several honours including the Grand Prize for Music from the Montréal Arts Council and a Prix Opus in five categories including "Event of the Year,""Artistic Director of the Year" (Denys Bouliane and Walter Boudreau), "Musical Premiere of the Year" (for Michel LONGTIN's Quaternions), and "Guest Ensemble of the Year" (for the Hilliard Ensemble of England). To alternate with the MNM Festival, a new international music festival was created in 2004 called MusiMars, a collaborative event consisting of one week of lectures, master classes, and concerts dedicated to one (or several) internationally renowned composer(s).
Since 1997 the SMCQ has managed a youth program called SMCQ Jeunesse, dedicated to performing musical stories for children. Five children's productions have been presented to date including The Tale of the Little Tailor (1997), Bouba ou Les Tableaux d'une Expédition (2001), Éclats de Rhythme (2002), Le Piano Muet (2003), and Tapajungle! (2004). The ensemble-in-residence at SMCQ Jeunesse is the percussion quartet QUAD (est 2001). SMCQ Jeunesse has received several honours including a Prix Opus in 1997, 2001, and 2002 for Best Production for a Young Audience, and a Coup de Coeur prize from the French Académie Charles Cros for the 2003 recorded book of Le Piano Muet. The SMCQ manages the Prix Flandre-Québec, an international composition competition open to Québécois and Flemish composers.