"collectif9 takes the future of classical music by the hand, giving it a serious rejuvenation."
Montréal’s classical string band collectif9 has been attracting varied audiences since their 2011 debut. Known for energized, innovative arrangements of classical repertoire, the group performs “with an infectious energy and vigour that grabs an audience’s attention” (The WholeNote). collectif9 has performed over 150 concerts across North America, Europe, and Asia. As performers of classical and contemporary music, the ensemble combines the power of an orchestra with the agility of a chamber ensemble. collectif9 operates on the premise that a change of context can influence communication and experience.
collectif9 presents several new programmes every season in Montréal, Canada, and their national and international touring schedule includes performances in chamber music series, festivals, universities, and more. Recent highlights include concerts in the Festival de Música de Morelia (Mexico), La Folle journée de Nantes (France), and Sound Unbound (Barbican Centre, London).
Amid a global pandemic, collectif9 has reimagined their 2020-21 season as a series of film-concerts; videos of complete concert programs combining live performance footage and cinematographic footage. The first program of this series, Rituels (including works from the Medieval to the 21st century), will be released in late 2020, with the others to be announced during the season. Though nothing is certain at the moment, collectif9 is looking forward to several concert tours in the US, currently planned for Spring and Summer 2021.
collectif9 ’s second album (2018) features music written by (and inspired by) Gustav Mahler - No Time for Chamber Music presents a new angle on the composer’s symphonies and lieder, transforming them from their original form - often symphonic in nature - into chamber music for nine. These original arrangements integrate textural exploration, improvisation, and above all, interaction and spontaneity, ultimately transporting the listener out of the concert hall and into a world of fantasy and imagery.
The ensemble continues to explore new repertoire and new artistic partnerships, including with Canadian band Yes We Mystic, composer and DJ Gabriel Prokofiev, and others. Notably, working with composers and video artists Myriam Boucher and Pierre-Luc Lecours, collectif9 created Héros, a grand-scale audiovisual work that premiered at La Folle journée de Nantes in early 2020. With the exceptional support of the Canada Council’s New Chapter program and in collaboration with Architek Percussion, collectif9 created a multi-disciplinary show, with original music commissioned from composers Derek Charke, Nicole Lizée, Eliot Britton, Luna Pearl Woolf, and Bret Higgins, and words by Kaie Kellough. My Backyard, Somewhere premiered in Montréal in June 2018 and toured throughout Canada in 2018-19.
Inspired by the processes of other artistic movements, collectif9 continually searches for new ways of expression within the classical medium, fostering communication and collaboration between artists of all kinds and members of society. The group is also committed to the preparation of specially-designed school shows and presentations, masterclasses, and workshops. Created specifically for their intended group, collectif9 ’s educational activities focus on energy, shared experiences, and exploration.
Erupting onto the scene in a 2015-16 break-out tour, collectif9 released their debut album, Volksmobiles, while performing over 40 concerts across Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec as Entrées en scène Loto-Québec Artists. Described as “dazzling” (The WholeNote), Volksmobiles exudes “great brio and vitality” (Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review), capturing the brilliant colour and driving energy of a collectif9 live performance. Featuring folk-inspired music by Brahms, Bartók, Schnittke, and André Gagnon, collectif9 ’s debut album also presents the world premiere recording of Canadian composer Geof Holbrook’s Volksmobiles, written for the ensemble. A season of firsts, the musicians of collectif9 spent Christmas 2015 in China on their first international tour.
Seasons 2016-17 and 2017-18 saw collectif9 perform nationally in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, at the Banff Centre (Banff, AB) and the Festival de Lanaudière (Joliette, QC) in summer 2017. Internationally, collectif9 presented concerts at Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam (NL), a west-coast US tour and in China and South Korea in the Fall 2017. Active on the local scene, they toured across the Island of Montreal as part of Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée. The 2017-18 season ended in the studio as the group recorded their second album, No Time for Chamber Music, featuring the music of Gustav Mahler.
During the 2018-19 season, with freshly printed albums under their arms and instruments on their backs, the ensemble packed up and headed to Mexico for the first time before travelling to the United States to perform on the West Coast. collectif9 returned to Europe in January (La Folle journée de Nantes) and again in May (Barbican Sound Unbound Festival, London), continuing their exploration of the continent after their debut European tour in Norway in June 2018. At home, collectif9 created and premiered The Night of the Flying Horses, a program centered around the music of Osvaldo Golijov alongside music inspired by the Romani musicians of more than 500 years ago (known to us through the Romanian band Taraf de Haidouks) and the Baroque extravagance of François Couperin.
2020 was marked by an interruption of a global scale, resulting in the postponement of concerts planned in Québec and Ontario. Before this, collectif9 ’s 2019-20 touring was quite fruitful, including a tour of the US Midwest (CO, IN, OH) and Central Canada (AB, MB), as well as performances in local festivals like Orford Musique and the OSM Classical Spree. One of the highlights was the development and premiere of Héros, a stunning audiovisual work created with composers and video artists Myriam Boucher and Pierre-Luc Lecours at La Folle journée de Nantes (France) after a creative residency at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville QC.
collectif9 has received a great deal of support and encouragement, and is very grateful to the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, and FACTOR.
Thibault Bertin-Maghit, bass
Chloé Chabanole, violin
Scott Chancey, viola
Jérémie Cloutier, cello
John Corban, violin
Yubin Kim, violin
Xavier Lepage-Brault, viola
Robert Margaryan, violin
Elizabeth Skinner, violin
Andrea Stewart, cello