Copied to clipboard

The Majestic Organ Symphony by Saint-Saëns 2023-2024

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal will bring its 90th season to a thrilling conclusion with this masterful evening event.

Season partner

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal will bring its 90th season to a thrilling conclusion with this masterful evening event. Four renowned organists take turns at the helm of the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique: Shin-Young Lee shines brilliantly in Barber’s Toccata festiva, while Isabelle Demers summons the full scope of her artistry in Jongen’s Symphonie concertante. Jean-Willy Kunz gives the premiere of a work with orchestra by Quebec composer Denis Gougeon, while Olivier Latry joins the Orchestra in Saint-Saëns’ Symphony no. 3, a crown jewel of the repertoire.


Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

Rafael Payare, conductor

Shin-Young Lee, organ

Isabelle Demers, organ 

Jean-Willy Kunz, OSM organist-in-residence 

Olivier Latry, OSM organist emeritus

The Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique was generously offered to the OSM by Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais.


Barber, Toccata festiva, for organ and orchestra, op. 36

JongenSymphonie concertante, for organ and orchestra, op. 81 (33 min.)

Intermission (20 min.)

Denis GougeonJubilate!, fantasy for organ and orchestra, world premiere – OSM commission

Saint-Saëns, Symphony no. 3 in C minor, op. 78, “Organ Symphony” (36 min.)

Total duration120minutes

Rafael Payare

Music Director

Rafael Payare’s prodigious musicianship, technical brilliance and charismatic presence on the podium have made him one of the world’s most sought-after conductors. A graduate of the celebrated El Sistema music education program in Venezuela, Mr. Payare began his formal conducting studies in 2004 with José Antonio Abreu. Since winning the prestigious Malko International Competition for Young Conductors in Denmark in 2012, Maestro Payare’s career has advanced rapidly. Since 2015, he has served as Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival, founded by his mentor the late Lorin Maazel. He was Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra from 2014 to 2019 and in 2019, took up the position of Music Director of the San Diego Symphony. In recent years, Rafael Payare has conducted many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including those of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Zurich, Berlin, Vienna, London, Munich, Chicago and Paris. He has also made important opera debuts at the Glyndebourne Festival, Stockholm’s Royal Swedish Opera, the Royal Danish Opera, and most recently at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In the 2022-2023 season, Payare became the ninth Music Director in the history of the OSM.

To consult:
Long biography

Olivier Latry

OSM Organist emeritus

Acclaimed as an eminent international ambassador of the organ, Olivier Latry has performed in countless prestigious venues and been a guest of many prominent orchestras led by renowned conductors. He has numerous recordings on major labels and an impressive number of premieres of new works to his credit. Appointed titular organist of the grandes orgues of Notre-Dame de Paris at only 23 years of age and Organist Emeritus of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since 2012, Latry is a versatile, ingenious, and daring artist who explores all the resources of which his instrument is capable. He is also endowed with exceptional improvisational gifts.

In March 2019, Olivier entered into collaboration with La Dolce Volta label, launching his initial album Bach to the Future. In 2021, he released Inspirations, featuring works by Liszt on the organ of the Philharmonie de Paris.

Olivier Latry is Organist-in-residence with the Dresden Philharmonic for the 2021–2022 season and is currently the William T. Kemper Artist-in-Residence at the University Kansas in Lawrence.

Jean-Willy Kunz


Jean-Willy Kunz is the first Organist-in-Residence of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In addition to performances with the Orchestra and as a soloist in recital, he supervises the development and showcasing of the OSM’s Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique at the Maison symphonique de Montréal. His most recent performances include concerts with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Violons du Roy, with saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and with singer-songwriters Pierre Lapointe, Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright. A significant portion of his discography reflects multiple musical influences: Symphonie et créations pour orgue et orchestre, with the OSM (2016 Juno Award-winning album) ; Impressions for organ, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, double bass and percussions; Punkt, with Pierre Lapointe, and André Gagnon Baroque, for harpsichord and symphony orchestra. Jean-Willy Kunz is Professor of Organ at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and Artistic Director of the Canadian International Organ Competition.