For its upcoming concert, the Orchestre symphonique de Laval (OSL) chose the theme of liberty, inspired by the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Conductor Alain Trudel chose three musical pieces based on the theme of freedom. One of them is Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Sinfonia eroica. “Beethoven started writing it because he was impressed by how Napoleon Bonaparte was helping the common man, but when he saw that Napoleon made himself emperor, he shredded that first page of dedication. He dedicated it to the memory of what could have been a great man instead. That's very interesting in terms of liberty,” says Trudel. The symphony also broke with tradition of how symphonies have been written until now.

Another piece – a lesser-known one – is Paul Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler Symphony, which criticizes the Nazi regime. Since Hindemith was composing during the Third Reich and wasn't aligned with the Nazi ideology, he put his life at risk in Germany when he did it. He ended up spending a large part of his career in the United States. “I want to celebrate the music that he wrote because he never stopped writing music,” notes Trudel.

The third piece featured in the concert is a unique creation by Nicole Lizée, a popular composer of classical music who works with visual and technological mediums to complement her compositions. “I suggested the theme of the fall of the Berlin Wall because we work around resilience and freedom. She will also prepare images and videos that will play along with the music,” explains Trudel.

This April 24 concert will be a multidisciplinary one. For Trudel, it is important to choose themes that go beyond the music. “When people come to a concert, they should come to the pre-concert talk, an hour before the show, because I give them context. I talk to them about what we will play during the night,” he says. “I'm very aware that people don't know everything about classical music.” Moreover, at every concert, students from different schools perform a pre-concert called the Préludes.

On top of that, the OSL has invited the Société littéraire de Laval (SLL) to create an exhibition as part of the concert. Some texts will be created around the theme of freedom. The texts will then be exhibited and some of them will be read. The SLL are long-term collaborators and also participate at the orchestra's chamber music concerts.

For Alain Trudel, collaboration with other organizations in Laval, such as schools, residences or choirs, is key. He believes it is fundamental that the OSL is close to its community and represents it well.

“We do a lot of surveys to know what our community wants to hear, but besides listening to our community, it's important for us to be an active part of it,” he says. “One of the things that I love the most is that we know our public really well. What I love about the Salle André-Mathieu is that we have a proximity with people, that they are very close to the orchestra and they feel they can really participate in the concert.”

The Liberty concert is part of the orchestra's Bébé Musique program for babies and their parents and part of its Les Grands Concerts series. The performance will be held on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the box office. Visit osl.qc.ca/en/concerts/liberty for more details.