Our mission : Use music as a tool for sustainable social change while presenting innovative and audacious concerts.

Orchestre de l’Agora uses music as a tool for sustainable social change while presenting innovative and audacious concerts. Its musicians actively participate in its social actions through music.

Since its foundation in 2013, the Orchestra has distinguished itself through numerous initiatives, notably winning a first JUNO prize for the Viola Borealis album, featuring violist Marina Thibeault, as well as the prix Opus for “Musical Event of the Year” for its 2022 Gala de la Terre pour les enfants, which also raised $255,000 for environmental and humanitarian organizations.

Moreover, the Orchestra began a partnership with the Montreal Detention Center in 2021 to present Concert-Workshops to incarcerated individuals. Since 2013, the Orchestra’s musicians have been offering monthly music lessons and mentorship to hundreds of children from underprivileged backgrounds, in partnership with Partageons l’Espoir. Agora also closely collaborates with Espace Transition, a social innovation project at the heart of CHU Sainte-Justine that explores the power of art and creation on the well- being of troubled youth.

Artistic projects have allowed the Orchestra to collaborate with singer-songwriters like Jean-Michel Blais and Philippe Brach and established classical musicians, including Andrew Wan (concertmaster, OSM) and Yukari Cousineau (concertmaster, OM). Renowned Canadian soloists have joined the Orchestra in its past events, such as contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, violinist Kerson Leong, and pianist Charles Richard- Hamelin.

In its regular collaborations with the Opéra de Montréal, Agora has had the opportunity to work with talented stage directors like Sylvain Scott, François Racine, Aria Umezawa, and Isabeau Proulx-Lemire on innovative operatic projects, including L’Enfant et les sortilèges in 2023 and, more recently, Monteverdi’s opera The Coronation of Poppea.

The past few years have seen Agora present several high-quality online concerts, including a holiday concert with soprano Karina Gauvin, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and the Concert solidaire in support of healthcare workers, broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Première.

Les musicien-ne-s de L'Orchestre Agora
“These tears, which prison chaplain Stéphane Roy observes while following up with inmates after the concerts, show that culture, far beyond mere “entertainment”, acts as a powerful revealer of our humanity.”

Caroline Montpetit, Le Devoir


“Equally remarkable were the radiant strings, colourful woodwind, mobile brass and the general high calibre of a squad of musicians drawn from around the province.”

– Arthur Kaptainis, Gramophone


“An overwhelming musical evening in more ways than one. […] An almost indescribable shock. […] The talent of [Nicolas Ellis] is a blessing. An extremely moving concert, because it was fair and human.”

Christophe Huss, Le Devoir

Fast Facts about the Orchestre

Nicolas Ellis, Artistic Director, is also Music Director of the Orchestre National de Bretagne and Principal Guest Conductor of Les Violons du Roy. He regularly conducts several ensembles in Canada and Europe;

Since its founding in 2013, the OA has donated more than $430,000 to Canadian environmental and humanitarian organizations.

Since 2019, the Orchestra has presented more than twenty concerts in string orchestra format throughout Quebec, to public and critical acclaim;

Each month, our musicians present concert-workshops to sixty incarcerated individuals at the Montreal Detention Centre, as well as to patients in the gerontopsychiatry department of the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal;