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

Orchestre de l’Agora (OA), under the direction of Nicolas Ellis, uses music as a tool for sustainable social change while presenting innovative and audacious concerts. Its musicians, who are young professionals from the Montreal area, are among the finest of their generation and actively take part in its social actions and outreach efforts through music.

Founded in 2013 by Nicolas Ellis, OA is focused on the core values of initiative, collaboration, commitment and boldness. These values have been reflected in the Orchestra’s many undertakings over the years like Gala de la Terre pour les enfants, which raised $255,000 for environmental and humanitarian causes. On February 5, 2023, Conseil québécois de la musique awarded Orchestre de l’Agora the Opus prize for “Musical event of the year” for Gala de la Terre pour les enfants of June 22, 2022, which featured Gustav Mahler’s 3rd Symphony. The Orchestra has begun a partnership with the Montreal Detention Centre in 2021-2022, to present concert-workshops for incarcerated individuals. The Orchestra’s musicians, in partnership with Share the Warmth, have given music lessons and mentoring to hundreds of underprivileged children since 2013, one of the many projects OA has in the community.

Artistic projects have given the Orchestra the opportunity to join forces with such writer-composer-performers as Philippe Brach, as well as with established classical musicians like Andrew Wan (concertmaster, OSM) and Yukari Cousineau (concertmaster, OM). Some of Canada’s greatest soloists — including Kerson Leong, Charles Richard-Hamelin and Marie-Nicole Lemieux — have performed with the OA. The Orchestra won the classical album of the year Juno Award for Viola Borealis with violist Marina Thibeault, recorded on the ATMA Classique label. As part of its regular collaborations with Opéra de Montréal, the OA has had the opportunity to work with talented stage directors such as Sylvain Scott, François Racine and Isabeau Proulx-Lemire on innovative operatic projects, including the baroque operatic arias concert Enfers des Lumières in 2022 and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges in 2023. In recent years, the OA has presented several high quality online concerts, including a holiday concert with soprano Karina Gauvin, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and Concert Solidaire in support of health care workers, broadcasted on ICI Radio-Canada Première.

“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 an Artistic collaborator of the Orchestre Métropolitain 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;