A major gift from the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation for the MSO’s La Musique aux Enfants

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) announced that it has received a major gift from the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation in support of La musique aux enfants, a ground-breaking music education initiative implemented in 2016 at École Saint-Rémi — Annexe, situated in Montréal-Nord. This initiative, which was envisioned by Kent Nagano and developed by the OSM in partnership with the Université de Montréal and the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île, is designed to introduce preschool-aged children to intensive music education, nurturing their overall development and thereby contributing to their long-term academic success.

One of the project’s initial partners, the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation, not only enabled La musique aux enfants to begin activities, but also to further deploy its programme. Thanks to this gift, each of the 200 students at École Saint-Rémi—Annexe will be provided with free introductory instruction in classical music, in the form of daily 30-minute piano, violin, percussion and choral singing lessons.

“Children’s musical awakening has long been at the heart of the OSM’s mission, even since its very foundation. This is proven by the fact that the Orchestra’s second concert in 1935 was a Youth Matinee”, stated Lucien Bouchard, President of the OSM Board of Directors. “La musique aux enfants pursues this mission even further by introducing children to classical music in their everyday environment, which is sure to have a significant impact on their overall development. La musique aux enfants will prove to be a major part of Kent Nagano’s legacy to Montreal and will stand as one of the most significant means by which the OSM will have established a permanent presence in Montréal-Nord. All this is made possible thanks to the generosity of partners like the Coutu family.”

“Over the past few years, the OSM has developed a special relationship with the community of Montréal-Nord. Not only did we transform the Saint-Rémi School basement-Annex into an inspiring venue for advanced learning at the Conservatory level, but we also welcomed young students from our programme to the Maison symphonique. Indeed, so many of our musician colleagues accepted to mentor the children, which enabled us to establish deep, rich and meaningful ties personally with each of them as individuals. La musique aux enfants aims to change children’s lives through music, and only the future will tell if we fully succeeded. All academic signs as well as enthusiastic declarations from parents and children alike attest to the programs extraordinary success. Perhaps more importantly, we are at the OSM agreeing that these children have changed the OSM’s life,” declared Kent Nagano.

—MSO

—AB

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