LA Phil Blog

Bonsoir de Montréal

Bonsoir de Montréal

Martin Chalifour experiments with an ancient Persian version of his violin at a tour stop in Napa.

Bonsoir de Montréal,

It would be as easy to write about the joys and attractions of Montreal as it would be to explain the merits of sugar to a four-year-old in a candy store.

Just as predicted, colleagues who are here for the first time just love Montreal! This French-speaking city is where I grew up and studied music until the age of 20.

The music Conservatory, which still operates today, was a fabulous network of free institutions throughout the province of Quebec. It prepared us for the best opportunities for careers in music, and also had a section devoted to Theater Arts.

This island of French and European culture in the middle of North America has seduced many visitors over the years. It is a fabulous place to live, despite an occasional cold month (or six!). Theater, museums, Visual Art, Music, you name it, it’s here.

Many things have changed, and this place is even more cosmopolitan than it was thirty years ago. The plaza around the concert hall we played in is vibrant and brand new.

The hall acoustics were among the best we've tried in years. I was so happy to see old friends and family. We even had a Curtis Institute of Music reunion this morning with LA Phil members Burt Hara, Mitch Newman, Joanne Pearce Martin and residents of Montreal who attended Curtis with us in the '80s.

Last night, as the last note of our encore reverberated in La Maison symphonique, I was just as proud to be from this beautiful province of Quebec as I am to be in the L.A. Philharmonic.

- Martin Chalifour