In these times of isolation, restrictions and face masks, the Montreal-based ensemble QUARTOM invites you to an intimate and unifying musical rendezvous featuring classical melodies by HANDEL, MOZART, POULENC and CERTON, along with popular songs by Jacques BREL and the BEATLES.
Montreal Rampage spoke to the group:
Can you please speak about the upcoming season?
Certainly. It’s our first show since March and will also be the launch of our new album, our 5th one, called «Rendezvous». We’ll perform many pieces of this album and a few from our next one which is already in the works. It will have a wide range of musical styles: Handel, Mozart, Beatles, Brel, Queen, Orff, Poulenc and more! And as usual, we comment on the pieces and interact with the audience between and within the pieces.
There will actually be two performances of the concert on September 30th, one at 14h30, the other at 19h30. It’s unusual for us but we wanted to include as many people as possible at the hall while respecting all the safety rules in place right now. We are very excited to perform for real people in a wonderful hall. And because La salle Bourgie has such great acoustics, we won’t have any microphones, which is our favourite way to perform.
One more thing that is exciting about this concert is that it will be the first concert with our new tenor, Philippe Gagné, who joined us this past June. We had a great time recording the new album and can’t wait to perform live with him.
How have presentations of this kind changed with COVID-19?
Drastically. For a while, there were none. We had many shows canceled, among them, our first US tour. We actually were at a dress rehearsal with the Drummondville symphonic orchestra when the concerts were put on hold. We knew we would not perform the real concert, but the conductor, Julien Proulx suggested to finish the dress as planned and perform for a few people and each other, which was fun and weird at the same time. We had a few private concerts/parties since June, but no real concert in the last few months.
Did you have any presentations online and did that change how you presented your work?
We did not do any official online concerts. We recorded our new album and did a few short home-made videos for social media, which we always do anyway. We are working on a few online projects; we’ll see where it goes. We are trying to figure out the best way to proceed.
How do you feel to present before a live audience after all these months of a hiatus?
Ready!!!! We are so excited! The public is really essential to stage performers. The interaction is not always noticeable, but in our case, we speak directly to the audience and joke around with them during songs. Without them, it feels like we are missing the fifth member of Quartom.
Do you think the arts still remain an inalienable part of our social existence?
Yes. But it’s hard to know how quickly it will come back. And when it does, some things might not go back the exact same way it was before, and it’s probably not all bad. Right now, it’s very difficult to predict anything.
Has the pandemic allowed you to discover your artistic practice?
It certainly made us cherish it even more and appreciate how lucky we are when it’s around. I’d say, as soon as we were able to legally rehearse and perform in private events, it meant even more for us because we missed it so much. It also brought us even closer together because we were facing the unknown (and still are) together which is easier and more fun than alone. We certainly got used to Zoom meetings.