"collectif9 takes the future of classical music by the hand, giving it a serious rejuvenation."
Montreal’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; from outdoor concerts at Canadian summer festivals, to winter tours in the north, to Christmas-time in China, the ensemble combines the power of an orchestra with the crispness of a chamber ensemble.
The musicians and friends met as students at Université de Montréal and McGill University, and founded the ensemble with a desire to reach a diverse audience. Since then, collectif9 has been presenting classical and contemporary music in a way that demonstrates its similarities and connections with popular music. 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.
During the 2018-19 season, collectif9 launched their new album of 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 feature textures and special instrumental effects that transport the listener out of the concert hall and into a world of fantasy and imagery. 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 2019 (La Folle journée de Nantes) and again in May 2019 (Sound Unbound), continuing their exploration of the continent after their debut European tour in Norway in June 2018.
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. With the exceptional support of the Canada Council’s New Chapter program and in collaboration with Architek Percussion, collectif9 has 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 Montreal in June 2018 and toured throughout Canada in 2018-19.
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), FACTOR-funded 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 first 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.
The 2016-17 season saw collectif9 perform in the United States, Quebec, and Ontario. During the summer months the ensemble performed in a special event at the Banff Centre (Banff, AB) and in the beautiful outdoor amphitheater at the Festival de Lanaudière (Joliette, QC), and transitioned into the autumn on the beaches of California with a west-coast US tour. After an intimate concert in their home base of Montreal, collectif9 finished the season at Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam, NL, making new friends and opening new doors for future performances and collaborations.
The following season (2017-18), collectif9 returned to Asia with concerts in China and South Korea, before returning to Canada once again to perform in Ontario, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories, as well as in communities across the Island of Montreal as part of Conseil des arts de Montréal en tournée. The touring season ended in the studio, as the group recorded their second FACTOR-funded album, No Time for Chamber Music.
collectif9 has received a great deal of support and encouragement, and we are 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
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
Rufat Aliev, sound engineer