Quebec publicly recognizes OSM co-founder Antonia Nantel
Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy./Josie Desmarais/Journal Métro
On the occasion of International Women's Rights Day and under the Cultural Heritage Act, the Quebec government designates three women as historical figures of the province, including co-founder of the Orchester symphonique de Montréal (OSM) Antonia Nantel.
The women designated are Ludmilla Chiriaeff, Lawinonkié Marguerite Vincent and Antonia Nantel, three builders in their respective disciplines: dance, crafts and classical music.
The Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, and the Minister for Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Isabelle Charest, made the announcement on Tuesday morning. “On this March 8, I would like to highlight the undeniable contribution of three women who have had a major influence on our Quebec culture,” said Nathalie Roy.
According to Ms. Roy, the role of these three women in the construction of the Quebec identity and in the advancement of society deserves to be inscribed in the collective memory. “Quebec owes them a lot. These women represent true sources of inspiration for current and future generations,” she added.
The ministers were accompanied by the president of the Conseil du statut de la femme, Me Louise Cordeau CQ, and the president of the board of directors of the Orchester symphonique de Montréal, Me Lucien Bouchard.
Three women with a unique career
Ludmilla Chiriaeff, born in 1924 in Latvia, immigrated to Quebec in 1952. Founder of the Grands Ballets Canadiens, the artist had a determining influence on the evolution of dance in the province, mentioned Nathalie Roy. “His contribution to the influence of this living art and its democratization is major,” she said. Indeed, Ms. Chiriaeff has signed more than 200 ballets. She died in 1996.
Lawinonkié Marguerite Vincentis the first Aboriginal woman designated as a historical figure in Quebec. The Huron-Wendat born in 1783 was a key figure in Wendat craftsmanship and entrepreneurship. “She particularly stands out for her innovations in the making of the moccasins she sells and in the choice of materials she uses,” said Ms. Roy. [She] produced over 30,000 moccasins a year.”
Antonia Nantel co-founded the Société des concerts symphoniques de Montréal in 1934, which later became the OSM. In tribute to this third woman, the Foyer Allegro of the Maison symphonique de Montréal has been renamed the Foyer Antonia Nantel, announced the Minister of Culture.
Born in 1986 in Saint-Jérôme, Antonia Nantel has devoted her life to classical music while promoting its access. “She played an essential role in the creation of the first professional symphony orchestra in Quebec, the Montreal orchestra”, mentioned Nathalie Roy. However, it was in 1934 that Antonia Nantel left this orchestra to denounce discrimination against French speakers and co-founded the first French-speaking professional orchestra.
Ms. Nantel's granddaughters Hélène and Françoise David were present Tuesday morning for the announcement at the Maison symphonique.