Community / Press Release

The Orchestre Symphonique F.A.C.E. marks its 25th anniversary with PDA concert

orchestra
Montreal - Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The Orchestre Symphonique F.A.C.E. (OSF)  celebrated its 25th anniversary with a concert at the Maison Symphonique at Place des Arts on Thursday, February 1st.

EMSB instrumental music teacher Theodora Stathopoulos founded the OSF in 1998 – EMSB’s very first year! “The Orchestra’s first years saw the participation of just a handful of F.A.C.E. students. However, within five years, following the orchestra’s inception, everything changed as more and more F.A.C.E. students became motivated to excel and join this ensemble,” says Stathopoulos.

Presently, the complete string section (almost 70 violins, violas, cellos and basses) is entirely made up of F.A.C.E. students, some as young as 10 years old. The wind section of the orchestra is also entirely made up of students from F.A.C.E. School’s wind department. These latter are members of the F.A.C.E.’s wind ensemble Con Brio under the direction of another EMSB F.A.C.E. instrumental music teacher, Marie-Eve Arseneau. It is noteworthy that the OSF’s most recent PDA concert, in May 2019, was prepared and conducted by Stathopoulos and Arseneau.

Throughout its 25-year history the OSF has had many glorious moments, including a number of performances in PDA and other prestigious Montreal venues (e.g. Basilique Notre-Dame); Ms. Stathopoulos receiving the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence, and hundreds of collaborations with famous people and community organizations and institutions. 

The success of the OSF’s educational project, as a means to motivate students to reach their full potential in music and to expand and enrich the department, has been the subject of conference papers, panel discussions and newspaper articles. Over the years the orchestra has placed F.A.C.E. on the provincial, national and international map by attracting outstanding soloists, talented students, famous guest conductors, multicultural collaborations and university partnerships. While the OSF has received first prizes at Musicfest and the National Capital Kiwanis Music Festival in 2005, the Canadian Music Educators’ Association awarded the OSF with the Christopher Gledhill Award for the Best Amateur Symphony Orchestra in Canada.

The OSF’s season ranges from two to five concerts per year. Brandyn Lewis (MSO Bassist), Boson Mo (Houston Symphony) and Stéphane Tétreault (virtuoso world class cellist), Richard Zheng (MSO violinist), Tina Zhang (Houston Symphony)  are a few of the hundreds of students who played in the OSF and benefited from its experience in the last 25 years. 

See all our concerts since 1998 listed on their website: https://instrumentale.facemusique.ca/string-department/chronology-of-all-concerts/

Watch and listen to their concerts  here: https://www.youtube.com/@cordesfacestrings1479/videos

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of  73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca

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