OSM Éclatés series, with Mutek: Bold brew

Bold brew

Fehlmann: Electro maestro

Montreal Symphony and Mutek mix at the Molson brewery warehouse

It may just be Montreal’s first ever classical get-down. On Oct. 16, Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra offer Boulez, Mahler, two free beers and a Berlin-style dance party in the Molson Coors brewery warehouse.

The late-night concert, held in collaboration with the Mutek Festival, introduces the MSO’s Éclatés series, Nagano’s attempt to push the symphony out of its comfort zone, into some of Montreal’s more interesting architectural spaces and towards new audiences.

The concert begins with Pierre Boulez’s Messagesquisse for seven cellos, followed by Mahler’s Symphony no. 1, performed by 90 musicians. Mutek’s invited guest is the legendary Swiss-born, Berlin-based electronic pioneer Thomas Felhmann (The Orb), who will reinterpret Mahler’s same symphony in collaboration with five MSO musicians, followed by his own original (more beat-oriented) composition.

For the seasoned electro maestro, a chance to rework the classical repertoire is an exciting artistic challenge. "I personally have no training in classical music and can’t read music," says Felhmann, who worked with Berlin-based American classical composer Ari Benjamin Meyers to translate the pieces. "A big part of my work is ambient music, which isn’t too far off classical music because it doesn’t have a front beat. Imagine the computer is a tape machine: Each instrument has its own slot and I’ll mix it live with the musicians, adding effects, changing volumes, changing parts, etc.," explains Felhmann.

While the concert is a musical first for all involved, the factory setting is familiar to Felhmann, who helped birth the Berlin techno scene after the fall of the wall.

"When we started making those parties in the early ’90s, it was happening in old abandoned buildings. What was important about this context was that it let people focus on the music. The sound of the room and the space gave an intensity to the whole thing, which I’m hoping will be similar in the Molson brewery," says Felhmann, who’ll prime the warehouse for a classic dance party.

Les Concerts OSM Éclatés

At the Molson Coors Brewery (1320 Notre-Dame St. E.), Oct. 16, 10 p.m.

Info: www.osm.ca

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