Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) CEO Madeleine Careau has announced she will be leaving her position at the end of June. After 24 years at the helm of the orchestra, the woman who distinguished herself for her leadership and visionary spirit came to the conclusion that it was time for her to pass the torch to someone else.
Published yesterday at 5:53 p.m.
The announcement was made late Monday afternoon to OSM employees and musicians. “Serving the OSM has been a great honor for me for almost 25 years. This is the most beautiful chapter of my professional life. A chapter that gave me the opportunity to work with extraordinary people,” she wrote in a letter to her team.
In an interview with La Presse, Madeleine Careau admitted that the decision was “heartbreaking.” She wanted to retire several years ago, but the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic meant her decision was put on hold.
Then last September there were discussions again. “I have been working in the world of culture for almost 50 years,” she says. Was it the right time to leave this institution as the industry tries to recover from the impact of the pandemic? Ultimately, I think so. I feel like I made the right decision. »
During her reign, Madeleine Careau was able to ensure financial stability that, at the time of her appointment, threatened the survival of the institution, especially thanks to the creation of the OSM Foundation in 2009. It was also she who created a “calmer and more fertile” climate, is said it in the press release.
To achieve these objectives, Madeleine Careau was able to count on influential figures, in particular three whom she wanted to thank: Michael Turcotte, president of the board of directors upon her arrival, Jacques Laurent, her successor for four years, and Lucien Bouchard, who has held this position since held in 2004.
The latter wanted to highlight Madeleine Careau's immense contribution to the orchestra's influence since she joined in February 2000. “Often she worked in the shadows while the reflectors were projected onto the musicians and their leader, Ms. Careau.” She was a great conductor in her own way, ensuring that all teams, both artistic and administrative, worked to the same score followed and worked together harmoniously for the benefit of the institution and its diverse audiences. . »
During her tenure, Madeleine Careau took several important actions that contributed to the development of the OSM. Worth mentioning are the recruitment of maestro Kent Nagano in 2006, the launch of the Classical Spree, the opening of the Maison symphonique in 2011, the creation of the Music for Children program in 2016 and the hiring of Rafael Payare, the current artistic director of the orchestra.
During an interview with the author of these lines in January 2022, Madeleine Careau looked back on her eventful journey. After a stint with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and the Quebec Summer Festival, she joined the core group that founded the ADISQ in the late 1990s.
From 1983 to 1985 she was chief of staff to the Minister of Culture Clément Richard. Then, in 1985, she agreed to team up with Guy Fournier to form Télévision Quatre-Seasons.
Over time she developed into a specialist in television galas. It is therefore natural for us to turn to them to organize the Gémeaux Awards gala. For many years she was in charge of Just for Laughs' Paris office before becoming Luc Plamondon's steadfast right-hand woman during the Notre Dame de Paris adventure.
In the fall of 1999, during a visit to Quebec, he was asked to take on an enormous challenge: to get the Montreal Symphony Orchestra out of the difficult period it was going through. After much hesitation, she accepted this mandate.
Madeleine Careau was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 2020. After a quarter of a century at the helm of the OSM, she is leaving a strong mark.
What does this eternally active person plan to do from June 30th? “I will first rest, see my friends and family, who I have neglected a lot in the last few years. What is certain is that I would not get involved with an institution the size of the OSM. But I would like to get involved in various projects, for example in the area of children and music. »
The OSM Board will soon establish a recruitment committee to ensure Madeleine Careau's successor. The committee's work is expected to last several months.