Official opening on the 100th anniversary of the Blumenthal
The Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan:
Montreal, Friday, September 16, 2011 - Organizers of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal are overjoyed to invite the public to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Blumenthal Building in fitting fashion-by visiting and discovering the newly-completed Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, now fully outfitted on all three storeys. Admission is free.
Already a must-see attraction in the Quartier des spectacles, this peerless jazz showcase boasts an array of new activities to delight fans of all musical styles all year long: the inauguration of the Bell Exhibition of the Legends of the Festival, the little museum displaying precious artifacts from some of the greatest stars in the history of jazz and of the Festival; the bistro Le Balmoral, transformed into a late-night jazz club every weekend; the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse, now also boasting a host of articles from the collection of famed Montreal journalist Len Dobbin; as well as the Salle Stevie Wonder, where visitors can watch the concerts that built the Festival’s global reputation, free of charge on Wednesday evenings. And let’s not forget the Galerie Lounge TD and its new exhibitions, or L’Astral, the already-popular live venue, with its varied year-round concert programming. Come on down for a multi-faceted date with jazz, at the corner of Ste. Catherine St. and the Place des Festivals.
Inauguration of the Bell Exhibition of the Legends of the Festival
In the hushed and splendid décor and atmosphere (created by gsmprjct°), of this little museum, located on the 2nd floor, fans will find musical instruments, stage clothes, trophies and personal belongings from the greatest names in jazz. Stage costumes from Miles Davis, Diana Krall, Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson or Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck’s Grammy “Lifetime Achievement” Award, guitars belonging to Jeff Beck, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ben Harper, Mark Knopfler and Pat Metheny-signed « Greatest Jazz Festival on Earth »-, and even Leonard Cohen’s famous hat. Traces left behind by some of the great artists and legends who have coloured over 30 years of Festival history and contributed to its international renown. A permanent and interactive exhibition presented free of charge to the public, all year round. More information.
The Balmoral transforms into a jazz club every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening
The Festival can now pursue its policy of presenting free concerts all year long! Boasting a full bar permit, Le Balmoral becomes indeed an irresistible hotspot for musical discoveries on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, from 9 p.m. until over midnight, when it is transformed into an intimate, atmospheric jazz club welcoming the finest in jazz, blues, bossa and gypsy combos and musicians. Also the ideal Bistro for dining before or after a show, Le Balmoral offers inspired gourmet cuisine, offering a French bistro-style menu specially conceived by chef François Carré for lunch and dinner. Its terrace, one of the loveliest in Montreal, opens directly onto the Place des Festivals. More information.
The Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse welcomes the collection of the late Len Dobbin, as well as thousands of digital video archives
Already extensively stocked with jazz media, the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse collection has recently been enriched by the addition of invaluable archives from late jazz journalist and columnist Len Dobbin. These include 500 reference books, about a hundred biographies of jazz legends, as well as artefacts, radio shows, and rare vintage magazines (including 1940s copies of Downbeat magazine), and more. Open year-round and free of charge, the superb library-cinematheque-documentation centre entirely devoted to jazz and its Festival welcomes jazz lovers and the curious alike who can browse through nearly 5,000 magazines and as many photos taken from black and white negatives, 30,000 digitized photos, over 20,000 jazz CDs, 350 video recordings of Festival concerts dating back to 1980, and over 1,000 hours of video archives (including interviews and concert clips). More information.
The Galerie Lounge TD: a must-see gallery featuring exclusive exhibitions
In a splendidly vast and luminous space boasting a comfortable salon, the Galerie Lounge TD provides a showcase for original pieces from the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal collection, artworks which the greater public has rarely had the opportunity to admire, and which are available for purchase as limited-edition signed silkscreens-signed by the likes of Jean-Paul Riopelle, Corno, Armand Vaillancourt, Zïlon, Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Frédéric Back, Yves Archambault, Diane Dufresne… We remind you that any potential surplus generated by the Galerie will be dedicated to financing the free outdoor concert programs presented by the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, a non-profit organization. More information.
Along with its permanent collection, the Galerie Lounge TD offers large-scale exhibitions by internationally renowned artists, painters and photographers all year round. Fans have already flocked to see works by Elliott Landy, Zïlon, Leonard Cohen, Corno, late, lamented jazz photographer Herman Leonard and Armand Vaillancourt. In addition, the Galerie will soon showcase an extraordinary exhibition of about fifty pieces, many of them never presented before, by Jean-Paul Riopelle, the great internationally-renowned Québécois painter.
L’Astral, a magnificent live venue
L’Astral is a magnificent live venue created by the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal for its 30th anniversary. With 350 seating capacity in the cabaret format and 600 capacity standing, a balcony arcing perfectly around the stage, an ingenious configuration that places every in close proximity to the stage, and impeccable acoustics, L’Astral is a major live performance destination highly appreciated by artists and fans alike. L’Astral hosts hundreds of shows annually, including those in the Jazz All-Year Round series, but also concerts presented by other festivals, music and comedy shows, as well as receptions and private events. L’Astral is also equiped to serve as a television recording studio and projection venue. More information.
Relive Festival history with free concert screenings in the Salle Stevie Wonder
Adjacent to the Galerie TD and inaugurated with a Stevie Wonder press conference in 2009, this 80-capacity room is completely outfitted with multimedia equipment and is available for private rental. It will also present a selection of the Festival’s past concerts on a giant screen every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., free of charge (starting September 21; programming at montrealjazzfest.com).
The Blumenthal Building turns 100
Completed in 1911 and classified as a Montreal heritage site by the Ville de Montréal in 1990, the Blumenthal Building was ceded to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal for 30 years by the Government of Québec-under the initiative of the former President of The Treasury Board, Ms. Monique Jérôme-Forget-, which contributed greatly towards having it transformed and brought up to standard; the Government of Canada also contribute toward its development and outfitting it with specialized equipment; the Festival was able to invest toward the completion of this non-profit project, thanks to the involvement of such major private sponsors as Rio Tinto Alcan, TD, La Presse, Bell and Astral.
In restoring this 100-year-old building on Ste. Catherine St. W., the Festival ensured that it would retain its historic cachet-especially its remarkable glazed terracotta façade-while undergoing various modifications: the display windows on the ground floor, the illuminated marquee on the Ste. Catherine St. façade, the moulding covered by a protective net, the new windows on Ste. Catherine St. and the building’s eastern side looking out on the Place des Festivals. The latter, designed to showcase 24 Legends of the Festival, have already become one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Montreal.
An asset for Montreal!
The Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, flagship building of the Quartier des spectacles, a genuine “maison de la culture” in the downtown core and a new tourist attraction for our “cultural metropolis”, perfectly expresses the Festival mission to remain accessible and offer music free of charge. This non-profit project, financed by public and private sponsorship as well as by revenue from the bistro Le Balmoral and L’Astral, is one of the principal developmental strategies employed by the Festival to ensure its future and generate year-round spinoffs for Montreal. And in a few years, with the completion of the Quartier des spectacles, the Festival International de Jazz Montréal can finally reach its full developmental potential!
New, more accessible opening hours
Starting today, the Médiathèque Jazz/La Presse, the Galerie Lounge TD and the Bell Exhibition of the Legends of the Festival are more accessible than ever thanks to newly configured and more practical opening hours that benefit everyone-from the greater public to students and IT professionals.
Tuesday: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (until 9 pm on concert nights in L’Astral)
Wednesday to Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.