The orchestra with the most state aid in North America

The orchestra with the most state aid in North America


norman lebrecht

April 12, 2018

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra has been awarded an extra $7.5 million by the governmnent of Quebec, on top of the $8.8 million it receives annually and the $1.8m it gets from the Canada Council and $435,000 from the city of Montreal.

This makes it surely the biggest recipient of state funding in the continent.

Other Montreal bands are sharing the bonanza.

Yannick’s Orchestre Métropolitain will get an extra $2.5 million over five years and the Orchestre symphonique de Québec gets $3m.

They do good bagels too, we hear.


  • Thomasina says:

    Mr.Nagano implied (already three weeks ago) the possibility of investing it in the direction of digital concert. If it is realized, it will be very beneficial for seniors who have difficulty moving when the winter is very hard (like this year…still a snowstorm?)

  • Doug says:

    Canada has provinces not states.

    • Bill says:

      Yes, but it is still “the state” that is providing the aid. The state aid is money coming from “the operations or activities of a central civil government” as opposed to donations from individuals and corporations.

  • V.Lind says:

    Am I wrong in detecting a slight tone of disapproval in this posting? I would have thought a government that upped the resources it was prepared to invest in classical music was something to be celebrated.

  • collin says:

    When the state props up an industry, whether it’s agriculture, renewable energy, or classical music, it means that that industry is not performing well and not being agile in the global and local market, it does not allow other, better, alterative actors (farmers, producers, musicians) from emerging.

    Concretely, $7.5 million to the Montreal Symphony means $7.5 million less to other worthy arts group, you know, like arts groups that did not tolerate and enable Charles Dutoit for decades.

    Imagine if the Met were propped up by the state, you would think there was no problem at the Met.

    State money wallpapers over all the cracks on the walls, hides all the problems, and allows for insularity and abuses.

    • V.Lind says:

      Or, as Joan Plowright once observed, sighing enviously at the circumstances of the Berliner Ensemble, subsidy gives artists the all-important right to fail.

      It’s not all about “the market.”

    • Thomasina says:

      You say that the orchestras are not performing well because they receive the subsidies from the government? How about the European orchestras? And OSM is not entitled to receive this reward because of their problem with Dutoit? This money is not for hide the problems but for explore the future and they must present the plan to the government. In this context, Mr.Nagano talked about the development of digital concert and I welcome this idea as a tax payer here.

    • Canola says:

      I would expect funding to be cut and the exec. Director and CEO fired from their positions.

  • Anon says:

    PROVINCE of Quebec. PROVINCE. You know the difference, Lebrecht. FIX THIS NOW.

  • Nicolas says:

    Little note: Province (or State, or Kingdom, or Dominion, or Empire, or Planet, choose your favorite), so [choose your word] of Québecwill go in general Election soon. During the last several weeks, lots of subvention that have been insufficient during the 4 last years become, miraculously, generous.

    Have that in mind when you discuss the sudden generosity of the [choose your word] of Québec.

    The sum received from the government of Canada is the usual one … and may raise (who knows) shortly before the Canadian election of 2020.

  • MSC says:

    The MSO is a good orchestra and an important part of Montreal’s cultural life, but this is a bad example of what my father used to call “gravy makes gravy.” There are so many other important and needy musical groups in Montreal that could do far more comparably with that money. If I were a Montrealer, rather than just a regular visitor, I would not be happy with this announcement. And yes, the Metropolitan Orchestra is one of those groups.

    • The View from America says:

      Reminds me of some banks’ lending policies: “We loan money to people who don’t need it.”

    • Thomasina says:

      As I said in the comment above, I am a taxpayer in Montreal and someday when I become 60 or 70 years old (not immediately) and can not get out in midwinter because the outside temperature is minus 25 degrees and the road is frozen and I am afraid of falling, I will be pleased to enjoy the live streaming at home.

      • V.Lind says:

        Of course (playing devil’s advocate here) if they were not spending all that dosh on orchestras, they could spend it on sanding roads and sidewalks so nobody would fall! Or, even better, spend it on getting the temperature of Montreal to stay balmy through the winter months!!! 🙂

        • Thomasina says:

          Do you believe that the sanding road does not freeze? We sprinkle large amounts of pebbles, sand, salt and calcium on the road, but still we fall and I fell down two years ago. Fortunately the Québécois are not inhumane and the passers helped me, I endured my back pain for three weeks. But you apparently can not imagine if it happens to elderly or disabled people.

  • Andy says:

    How much does Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra receive from the federal government? I’d bet a month’s salary it’s actually the record holder in bleeding taxpayers and has been for decades. THAT’S money better spent elsewhere.