Ken Slowik, viola da gamba
Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Kenneth Slowik first established his international reputation primarily as a cellist and viola da gamba player through his work with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Castle Trio, Smithson String Quartet, Axelrod Quartet, and with Anner Bylsma’s L’Archibudelli. Conductor of the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra since 1988, he became conductor of the Santa Fe Bach Festival in 1998, and led the Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra from 1999-2004. He is now devoting increasing amounts of time to conducting orchestral, oratorio, and operatic repertoire with modern- and period-instrument ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic.
Slowik has been a featured instrumental soloist and/or conductor with numerous orchestras, among them the National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Vancouver Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. A frequent guest artist with prominent chamber groups as well as with most of the leading U.S. early music ensembles, he enjoys providing the organ or harpsichord continuo for performances of large-scale baroque works at various festivals in the United States and abroad, and appears in recital both as harpsichord soloist and fortepiano collaborator for duo sonatas and Lieder.
Slowik’s impressive discography comprises over sixty recordings featuring him as conductor, cellist, gambist, barytonist and keyboard player for music ranging from the Baroque (Marais, Corelli, Bach) through the Classical (Haydn, Boccherini, Beethoven, Schubert) and Romantic (Mendelssohn, Gade, Spohr) to the early twentieth century (Schöenberg, Mahler, Richard Strauss). Of these, many have won prestigious international awards, including France’s Diapason d’Or and Choc, the “British Music Retailers’ Award for Excellence,” Italy’s Premio Internazionale del Disco Antonio Vivaldi, two GRAMMY® nominations, and numerous “Record of the Month” and “Record of the Year” prizes.
As an educator, Dr. Slowik has presented lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States and has contributed to a number of symposia and colloquia at museums throughout the United States and Europe. He received the Smithsonian Secretary’s Distinguished Research Lecture Award in 2011. He serves on the faculty of L’Académie Internationale du Domaine Forget in Québec, and was named Artistic Director of the Baroque Performance Institute at the Oberlin College Conservatory in 1993.
Soile Stratkauskas – flute
Finnish-born Soile Stratkauskas moved to Victoria in January 2010 and quickly established herself in the West Coast early music scene, appearing regularly in solo, chamber, and orchestral performances for Early Music Society of the Islands, Pacific Baroque Festival, Early Music Vancouver and Pacific Baroque Orchestra. After finishing her undergraduate degree at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester she continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she gained her Master’s Degree with distinction. Soile has played with many prominent period instrument orchestras in the UK, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Gabrieli Consort and Players, and most recently was part of a recording of Haydn’s “The Seasons” with the latter in June 2016. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Victoria Baroque Players, which is now in its sixth season of presenting Baroque concerts at the Church of St John the Divine downtown Victoria, this season’s highlights including a concert with soprano Nancy Argenta, a chamber arrangement of Haydn’s Miracle Symphony, Bach’s St John Passion, and Brandenburg Concertos No. 1 and 5 with British harpsichordist Steven Devine.
Photo by Danielle Acken
John Walthausen – organ
Born in 1991 in New York, John Walthausen began his musical studies with the piano at the age of eleven and discovered the organ several years later. After working with McNeil Robinson at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, he entered Oberlin college, studying the organ with James David Christie and the harpsichord with Webb Wiggins. Upon obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree, he was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, the national honor society for musicians.
In 2011, he gained admission to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris, where he studied the organ with Olivier Latry and Michel Bouvard, earning a Master’s with highest honors (“mention tres bien”) in June 2013. In 2015, he received a Master’s in historical keyboards from the Schola Cantorum of Basel, Switzerland, where he studied harpsichord with Jörg-Andreas Bötticher and organ with Lorenzo Ghielmi. Starting in September 2015 he served for one year as organist-in-residence at Sapporo Concert Hall in Japan, performing on the hall’s four manuel Kern organ and giving recitals around the country.
An experienced performer, he has played recitals throughout Europe and the United States in cities including Tokyo, Kanazawa, Sapporo, Paris, Chartres, Poitiers, Milan, Innsbruck, Basel, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Albany, and Washington D.C. A versatile musician with an extensive repertoire, his performances of baroque and contemporary music have drawn particular attention. Deeply drawn to the organ’s unique rhetorical and expressive possibilities, he is most interested in music that explores the limits of the instrument.
In 2012, he then won first prize at the Pierre de Manchicourt International Organ Competition in Béthune, France, a competition devoted mainly to North German music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, featuring an international jury chaired by Micheal Radelescu. In 2009 he was awarded first prize in the American Guild of Organists’ Regional Competition for Young Organists.
John’s interest in the music of today has lead to him to study and perform extensively the music of many recent and contemporary composers including Xavier Darasse, Benoît Mernier, Grégoire Rolland, Thomas Lacôte, and Jean-Louis Florentz, whose masterpiece “Debout sur le Soleil” he performed for his Master’s recital at the church of Saint Eustache (Paris) and later at the Cathedral of Chartres.
In both France and the United States, he has been welcomed at many different classical music festivals. In 2012 he and seven other organists were invited to perform for the “Nuit de l’Orgue,” the grand finale of the festival Toulouse Les Orgues in honor of Xavier Darasse, recorded and broadcast on Radio France Musique. In 2013, he was organist in residence at the Festival de la Chaise Dieu in Auvergne. He has additionally presented recitals at the Oberlin Messiaen Festival, Paris-des-Orgues, the Toul Bach Festival, and Internationale Meisterorganisten in Innsbruck.
John is also an active harpsichordist. After first discovering the harpsichord in 2009 at Oberlin College with Webb Wiggins, John continued private harpsichord studies in Paris with Lisa Goode Crawford. In 2014, he co-founded with Lillian Gordis the ensemble “Les Ramoneurs”, a two harpsichord ensemble devoted to French dramatic and instrumental music of the mid-eighteenth century. Les Ramoneurs were finalists in the 2014 Early Music America Baroque Competition.
Marc Destrubé: Festival Artistic Director, violin
Sponsored by Russell Nurseries
Destrube finds the right balance of elegant lyricism and virtuosic brilliance.
– The Australian
A native of Victoria, Marc Destrubé is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, concert-master or director/conductor of orchestras. A founding member of the Tafelmusik Orchestra, he has appeared with many of the leading period instrument orchestras in North America and Europe, including as guest concertmaster of the Academy of Ancient Music and of the Hanover Band. He is presently co-concertmaster of Frans Bruggen’s Orchestra of the 18th Century with whom he has toured the major concert halls and festivals of Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. He is also presently first violinist of the Axelrod String Quartet, the Smithsonian Institute’s quartet-in-residence. Marc Destrubé is founder and former Artistic Director of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and current Pacific Baroque Festival Artistic Director.
Natalie Mackie – viola da gamba, violone
Natalie Mackie studied cello at the Conservatoire de Musique (Québec), followed by a degree from the School of Music, University of British Columbia. While at UBC, she began studying viola da gamba as well, and later pursued further studies at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague. Natalie has played with many ensembles in Canada and the U.S., including New World Consort, Les Coucous Bénévoles, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Seattle and Portland Baroque Orchestras, Les Voix Humaines, Les Voix Baroques, Tempo Rubato, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Victoria Baroque Players, Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, and others. She has toured throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe, playing in cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, at London’s Wigmore Hall, Paris, Cologne, Strasbourg, Utrecht and Bologna, among others, and has recorded for Radio France, German Radio, BBC, CBC, and NPR, as well as the Canadian label Atma Classique. She plays violone, viola da gamba, and occasionally baroque cello, in Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and the Bach Cantata Project players, and frequently appears in Early Music Vancouver’s summer Festival. Natalie also has a passionate and abiding interest in new music and performs newly commissioned works both as a soloist and with the ensembles of which she is a member.
Michael Jarvis – harpsichord, organ
Michael Jarvis has been acclaimed as one of Canada’s finest harpsichordists, fortepianists, organists and continuo players, and is in demand as a collaborative artist and performance practice coach. He has performed with many of Canada’s leading orchestras and chamber ensembles across Canada, the US and Europe. As a conductor he has led many diverse programmes from 17th century French theatrical dance and English theatre music to 21st-century 12-tone opera. He has recorded for many labels, including Marquis Classics, Hungaroton, ATMA, Naxos, Solitudes and Avalon, and has many times broadcast nationally and regionally for the C.B.C., as well as nationally across the U.S. on N.P.R. His CD of Hummel’s op. 5 violin sonatas was chosen as a finalist as best classical album of the year in the Western Canadian Music Awards 2013. He has taught at UBC, the University of Toronto and Wilfred Laurier University, was featured on two national Canadian television specials, “A Baroque Christmas” and “A Baroque Easter” and was also co-host and star of the 13-part television series “Come into the Parlour” for Bravo-tv. He is also an avid antique phonograph restorer and early sound recording collector. Michael lives in Victoria, BC.
The Victoria Children’s Choir
Sponsored by Turnham Woodland
The ensemble discipline combined with musical taste engendered in them by their director Madeleine Humer makes them among the finest children’s choirs anywhere, in my opinion.
– Marc Destrubé (2010), Artistic Director, Pacific Baroque Festival
Through practice and performance, The Victoria Children’s Choir enables youth to master their vocal talents and enrich their music knowledge. Choristers (ages seven to eighteen) study an array of contemporary and classical songs from around the world, and learn to sing extraordinarily challenging pieces as part of their academic appreciation for choral music.
For 15 seasons, choristers have been under the instruction of Founder and Artistic Director, Madeleine Humer, and an expert music team. As a testament to their reputation and skill, the Choir is regularly invited to collaborate with renowned international and local musicians, including the Victoria Symphony, Pacific Opera Victoria, Fretwork and the Pacific Baroque Festival.
The choir has been honored to sing at many celebrated events, including: the 2010 Olympic Flame Welcome and Torch Relay ceremonies, the 2011 Summa cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna, Austria (first-place award, Treble category), the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands in 2015 and most recently at the official welcome ceremony for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They will be embarking on a Maritime Tour in July 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday. www.victoriachildrenschoir.ca
Sponsored by Prestige Picture Framing
The singing was splendid: clear diction, very good intonation and generally excellent balances between the parts.
– James Young, Music in Victoria, 2006
The St Christopher Singers are responsible for singing the weekly Anglican Service of Choral Evensong here in Christ Church Cathedral. Under the direction of Madeleine Humer and Michael Gormley, have become accomplished performers of the unique music written for this contemplative evening service.
Throughout the year, the St Christopher Singers explore the rich heritage of works written from the Tudor period through to the present day, including canticles and anthems by Orlando Gibbons, William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Robert Parsons, Christopher Tye, Adrian Batten, Michael Wise, William Boyce, John Stainer, Thomas Attwood Walmisley, Henry Smart, Charles Villiers Stanford, Herbert Sumsion, Herbert Howells and Kenneth Leighton
Every January the St Christopher Singers presents a Service of Epiphany Readings and Music.
The St Christopher’s Singers performed with Fretwork in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013, one of the world’s premier period instrument ensembles.
Each year the St Christopher Singers performs a special Evensong of baroque music with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra as part of the Pacific Baroque Festival. This Service traditionally attracts over 700 persons.