His 2022 album “Aubades” won the Félix for Best Instrumental Album at ADISQ, is on the long list for the Polaris Prize and is being considered for the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album; Jean-Michel Blais will present Aubades Symphonique at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal on Thursday and Friday, then conclude his tour on March 14 at the Grand Théâtre de Québec. Here are six confidences he gave the Journal.
“I am surprised and thrilled by people’s enthusiasm”
“I consider people’s reaction and enthusiasm for these shows a big hug. Standing room tickets were even sold. We will open the Aubades universe on stage. It's exciting, it's going to go from one end to the other. Sometimes we cut a part, we hesitate, we go somewhere else. “I would like to end this tour with this version,” explains the man who is writing for a chamber orchestra for the first time.
“I have always admired the conductor Nicolas Ellis”
“Nicolas Ellis and I created this album together and have been touring with Aubades for a year and a half. He is a solid, deep and true person. We are both humorous and serious together. I have always admired him and his relationship with music. I admire his work and the person, which is rare.”
“The last time I played with an orchestra I was probably 20.”
“I admire the Agora Orchestra because it is a non-profit organization with a social purpose that is diverse, committed, open and very professional. Since it was founded by Nicolas Ellis, it was natural that we would work together. I think it’s nice to support a lesser-known orchestra.”
“The grand finale in Quebec will represent my ideal”
“In Montreal our approach will be 360 degrees. We have staging, lighting and scenography to bring our universe into this magnificent space that is the Maison symphonique. In Quebec the approach will be more theatrical with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and Dina Gilbert. We can use all of our scenography, including the mountain with the sunrise. It will be a heightened grand finale and with the orchestra everything will be louder, more enthusiastic, brighter. “I can’t wait, even if it will be sad because that’s where the tour ends,” admits the pianist.
Cover of the album “aubades” by Jean-Michel Blais. Courtesy photo
“I want to disappear for a little bit”
“After the tour I will disappear a little, forget about myself. Disappear to return better. I'm starting to write again and will start working on my next album. In fact, it is already underway. I want to take the time to ask myself what happens next,” says the 39-year-old artist.
“Will I still be here tomorrow, I don’t know?”
“It's hard to explain that there has been a craze for instrumental and classical music for some time. I'm still happy to see this and wonder what's next. What happens after that, when the fashion is over, what we will keep away from it. Will I still be here tomorrow, I don't know? At the moment we are very lucky to be in a time where we can make a living from our music and have our sound, our colors and our roots in Quebec,” he believes.
– Jean-Michel Blais and the Agora Orchestra present symphonic aubades at the Maison symphonique de Montréal on Thursday and Friday evenings.
– On March 14th he will also be at the Grand Théâtre de Québec with the OSQ.