L'Orchestre des Grands Ballets

Orchestre de Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

Allan Lewis, Resident Conductor of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal Orchestra | PHOTO : Jean-Laurent Ratel

Our orchestra, featuring superior soloists under the baton of conductors Allan Lewis and Florian Ziemen, has been playing a major role in the success of Les Grands Ballets for more than 30 years. Comprising up to 70 musicians, including some of the finest in Montreal, the Orchestra will accompany almost every production in the 2013-2014 season, appearing in both Théâtre Maisonneuve and Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts.

The live dialogue between dance artists and musicians requires great technical precision, which results in highly stimulating performances for the audience.

Allan Lewis

The music director and principal conductor of the Joffrey Ballet for over twenty years, Allan Lewis was at the rostrum during the company’s historic re-staging of Nijinsky’s The Rite of Spring in Paris in 1990. He also conducted the Joffrey’s Homage to Diaghilev starring Rudolf Nureyev, both on Broadway and at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Among the renowned orchestras, Lewis has conducted over the course of his international career are the San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Netherlands Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, Orchestra of the National Theatre of Prague, Budapest Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony. He has also conducted the San Francisco Opera’s Fol de Rol gala, featuring Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and other worldfamous singers.

Allan Lewis took up his present position as Resident Conductor of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal Orchestra in May 2007.

Florian Ziemen - invited conductor

Florian ZiemenOver the last few years Florian Ziemen has established himself as a conductor with persuasive musical vigour and a passionate interest in historical performance practice, regularly earning the highest praise from critics and audiences alike. His conducting experience includes the symphonic repertoire as well as ballet and opera. One particular matter of interest for him is the musical and stylistic revelation of Austrian and German operetta which has led to spectacularly received projects.


Important recent successes are the Die Herzogin von Chicago at the Komische Oper Berlin, Der Vetter aus Dingsda at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Der fliegende Holländer (1841 original version), Donzietti's Linda di Chamounix and Krenek's Kehraus um St. Stephan at the Stadttheater Gießen.

Florian Ziemen studied at his home town of Munich and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He worked then as assistant to the chorus master at the Bavarian State Opera and led numerous productions at the Bavarian Theatre Academy. Particular influences for him were encounters with Sir Colin Davis, Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir Roger Norrington and his still ongoing connection with Reinhard Goebel.

His ‘Kapellmeister’ career began with the post of répetiteur at the prestigious Aalto Opera house in Essen under Stefan Soltesz. He then was appointed as resident conductor enabling him to conduct over a hundred performances and gaining a wide repertoire of opera and ballet literature.

In 2010 he attained the position of resident Kapellmeister at the Bremen Opera, where he directed works including Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, die Fledermaus and also the world première of Moritz Eggerts monumental opera All diese Tage

In 2012 he followed Michael Hofstetter to the city opera in Giessen as his deputy and to be principal Kapellmeister. There he held a decisive role in the new musical conception of the opera house. His work unearthing rarely played operatic works and intensively researching historical performance practices helped to give the opera house a new profile.

Since 2010 Florian Ziemen has been invited as guest conductor to Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal, where he has conducted and produced several productions alongside choreographers such as Mats Ek, Stijn Celis, Christian Spuck and Peter Quanz.

In the symphonic field of orchestral conducting he as has conducted the Essen and Bremen Philharmonic orchestras, the Philharmonic orchestra of Giessen as well as the Badische Staatskapelle, Bochum Symphony Orchestra, both the Bergisch and Wuppertal Symphony Orchestras, the New Philharmonic Orchestra in Frankfurt, and the Munich Symphony Orchestra. Florian has also worked with the orchestra of the Folkwang music college. Further afield the Georgian Chamber Orchestra and the Tallis Chamber Orchestra in London.

Oleksiy Baklan - invited conductor

Oleksiy Baklan was born in Kiev in 1961 into a family of renowned soloist dancers with the Kiev Opera. In 1987, he graduated from the Kiev State Conservatory, where he studied conducting under Stefan Turchak. For his degree, he conducted Giselle at the Kiev Opera. Since then, he has been the resident conductor of the National Opera of Ukraine. From 1995 to 2008, he was the principal conductor of the Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children, and became its Artistic Director four years ago. In 2009, he received the title of “People’s Artist of Ukraine.” He has been a guest conductor with the New National Theatre in Tokyo since 2007 and with the Corella Ballet (Spain) since 2010. Over the last few years, he has worked with the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo, the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hamilton Ballet Orchestra (Canada), the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in Mexico City, the Orquesta de la Comunidad in Madrid, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia in Spain. His repertoire includes ballets such as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, A. Adam’s Giselle and Le Corsaire, L. Minkus’s Don Quixotte, La Bayadère and Paquita, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and Peter and the Wolf, H. Levenshold’s La Sylphide, Khachaturian’s Spartacus, J. Strauss’s Viennese Waltz, Delibes’ Coppélia, Bizet and Schedrin’s Carmen Suite, as well as operas such as Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata, Rimski-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Boito’s Mefistofele, and Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi. He has also conducted Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and several symphonic programs.