Stand on the podium and conduct the fountain in the Place des Festivals, like a real maestro! As you wave the baton equipped with sensors, the spouts will activate in sync with your motions and the music. Give it a try!

From May 8 to 18, 2017
Monday to Wednesday: noon to 7 pm
Thursday and Friday: noon to 9 pm
Saturday: 2 to 9 pm
Sunday: 2 to 7 pm

“Maëstro”: the art of making water dance
Would you like to control the fountain in the Place des Festivals? Well, your wish is about to come true! From May 5 to 29, thanks to the Maëstro installation, you can conduct an orchestra on well-known classical pieces. Just pick up the special baton – and go! The more enthusiastic you are, the livelier the fountain’s water jets will be. Do you have what it takes to lead the fountain in a poetic dance?

Designers and co-artistic directors of ATOMIC3, Félix Dagenais and Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun, fill in some of the details of their participatory installation, returning to the Quartier des Spectacles for a second year.

How does Maëstro work?
F.D. : Holding a baton fitted with sensors, the participant stands behind a podium, which is equipped with a camera. The camera recognizes the gestures and transmits the information to the fountain control system; this is what allows the conductor to interact with the jets. The more expressive their motions, the higher the water shoots and the louder the music plays.

L.-X.G.-L. : Each piece of classical music is associated with a fountain sequence. The central jets are very important, they are the orchestra. The surrounding jets, north and south of the square, act like the chorus and provide musical punctuation. For “Les Toréadors”, from Bizet’s Carmen, for example, we separated the jets into two groups that respond to the rhythm of the music. People truly have the impression of controlling an orchestra of water jets!

What surprised you about last year’s first edition of the installation?
F.D. : We were stunned to see how enthusiastically people took on the role of conductor when they stepped up to the podium. They really got into it and it was so nice to see. And many children had fun and were exposed to classical music. It was very gratifying to see that they instinctively knew how to use the installation.

L.-X.G.-L. : We also realized that the installation is enjoyable not only for the people holding the baton but for those who are just watching. Even if you don’t step up to the podium, you can still fully appreciate the show.

Did the public’s enthusiasm inspire you? Have you made any changes to the installation this year?
F.D. : Absolutely! We’ve kept enriching the experience. We’ve pushed the interactivity a little further by isolating the fountain’s central jet. To make it shoot as high as possible – 10 metres – the participant has to sustain a certain level of intensity. There is also a carpet people jump on to add musical punctuation, like surprise cymbal crashes and corresponding water jets.

L.-X.G.-L. : We’ve also added a new piece to the musical selections: Offenbach’s Can-Can joins the existing repertoire of Toreador by Bizet, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers. These are all pieces that people know well, so everybody can participate by moving to the music.

For more information visit: