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New Montreal concert hall revealed Add to ...

This is a day of beginnings and endings for l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, which will play its final concert of the season just hours after Quebec's ministry of culture unveils an architect's model of a $110-million symphony hall planned for a narrow site adjacent to Place des Arts in downtown Montreal.

Three years after Quebec Premier Jean Charest pledged that his government would build a concert home for the OSM on the 15,000-square metre plot of land on the Centre's northeast corner, the Premier will present a scale model of Toronto architect Jack Diamond's design for a 1,900-seat, shoebox-shaped hall.

The project puts the province in partnership with Ovation, a consortium of six companies that includes Montreal construction firm Groupe Aecon and engineering company SNC-Lavalin. Workers have already begun preparing the site for the building, which is expected to be completed by the summer of 2011.

The province will pay the full construction cost, plus $167-million to cover maintenance over the next 30 years, during which Ovation will run the facility. At the end of that time, ownership reverts to the province.

"We will never be the owner, and we will pay rent as we do now at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier," said OSM manager Madeleine Careau. The new hall will have 1,000 fewer seats than the orchestra's current home, and no rehearsal hall. The acoustical consultant is Artec Ltd., which has worked on many successful music rooms, including the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, Vancouver's Chan Centre and the Salle Pleyel in Paris.

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