People who like classical music like it a lot. And in case you're still under the impression it's only for old people, meet 14 student musicians from the McGill Symphony Orchestra who are hopelessly hooked on classics. View the photo gallery above to discover the pieces of classical music that changed their young lives forever.

We assembled their choices in the YouTube playlist below.

If you're in or near Montreal on Sunday, Nov. 3, you can hear them, along with 123 other members of the McGill Symphony Orchestra, in a gala concert at La Maison symphonique. It's their first time performing in this celebrated concert hall, which is home to l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and l'Orchestre Métropolitain.

The repertoire that conductor Alexis Hauser has chosen for the occasion would be a challenge for any professional orchestra, a fact that underlines the deep pool of talent available among the students enrolled in the orchestral training program at McGill's Schulich School of Music.

To mark the Verdi and Wagner bicentenaries, they'll play popular excerpts from Aïda and Lohengrin. Hauser has also programmed Ravel's richly orchestrated Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2, a virtuosic symphonic work if ever there was one.

But the thing everyone is talking about is the visit of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, who's coming to hear the McGill Symphony Orchestra perform Laterna Magica, a work she wrote in 2008 for the Berlin Philharmonic.

Laterna Magica is also the title of the autobiography of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, and it refers to a crank-operated machine that predates the film projector. Saariaho composed her work as a tribute to Bergman, who died in 2007.

"To journey into Saariaho's music," says The Guardian's Tom Service, "is to be confronted with the darkest and most dazzling dimensions of your subconscious."

Full details on the McGill Symphony Orchestra's Nov. 3 concert at La Maison symphonique are available here.


Listen to CBC Music's 24/7 orchestral music stream.

posted by Robert Rowat on Oct 29, 2013