The only Canadian nominee for Gramophone’s 2021 Orchestra of the Year, and the first in that award’s history to date, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) looks forward to a banner 2021-22 season. This marks its eleventh season at home in the acoustically optimized Montreal Symphony House and its first under Music Director Designate Rafael Payare. Known for his innate musicianship, gift for communication, charismatic energy and irresistibly joyous spirit, the Venezuelan conductor leads no fewer than eight OSM programs this season, starting with tonight’s Opening Night Concert (Sep 14–18), which will be filmed for subsequent streaming at the orchestra’s website and on the Mezzo and Medici platforms. OSM also welcomes back Conductors Emeritus Kent Nagano and Zubin Mehta, as well as performing under the leadership of 16 guest conductors, Vasily Petrenko, Gemma New, Hervé Niquet and OSM Artist-in-Residence Michael Tilson Thomas among them. Guest soloists include Yefim Bronfman, Measha Brueggergosman, Christine Goerke, Hilary Hahn, Christian Tetzlaff and Daniil Trifonov, while the orchestra’s diverse lineup features the world premieres of four new commissions from Canadian composers, including OSM Composer-in-Residence Ana Sokolović. The orchestra also continues to serve families and young children – including those with autism spectrum disorder – through a range of thoughtfully curated educational programs. All told, the Montreal Symphony’s 88th season confirms its standing as “the best Gallic orchestra in the world” (Chicago Tribune).