Hélène Brunet – soprano
Canadian soprano Hélène Brunet is hailed by the critics as “a singer of tremendous quality” with “a voice of perfect beauty” and “sincere expression”. Recognized for her interpretations of the works of Bach, Handel and Mozart, her repertoire extends from Baroque to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. In recent seasons, Hélène has performed under the direction of Yannick Nézet-‐Séguin, Jean-‐ Marie Zeitouni, Jeffrey Thomas, Eric Milnes, Kevin Mallon, Raffi Armenian, David Fallis, Ivars Taurins and Alexander Weimann, and has sung with reputed orchestras, including the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, American Bach Soloists in San Francisco, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal, Arion Baroque Orchestra, as well as Ensemble Caprice, Ensemble Les Boréades, and l’Harmonie des Saisons. Prestigious distinctions include a Juno Award for the Classical Vocal Album of the Year (2016) with the album Las Ciudades de Oro where she is featured with ensemble l’Harmonie des Saisons (ATMA Classique), and an Opus Prize awarded by the Conseil Québécois de la Musique for the Concert of The Year in the baroque repertoire with ensemble Caprice, where she sang the role of Abra in Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans (2014). Last season, Hélène was a prize winner at the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-‐Solo Competition at Carnegie Hall as well as a finalist at the Stella Maris International Vocal Competition on board the MS Europa on the Mediterranean Sea. In opera, Hélène recently sang the role of Hymen in Lully’s Persée in Toronto and on tour at the Royal Opera House of the Château de Versailles with the famed Opera Atelier. In Tel Aviv, Israel, she sang the role of Laurette in Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle, and in Montreal, she sang the role of Galatea in Handel’s Acis And Galatea. This season, Hélène has been invited to sing works by J.S. Bach across North America. She will be returning to San Francisco for concerts of the St. John Passion with American Bach Soloists, with whom she is a regular guest. In Montreal, she will sing the BWV 234 Mass with Arion Baroque Orchestra, and will sing a selection of Bach and Handel arias with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Another highlight this season includes the upcoming release of a Bach cantatas album, Hélène’s latest project with recording label ATMA Classique. Hélène is currently studying with New-‐York voice teacher Neil Semer.
Chantal Rémillard – baroque violin
A founding member of the Ensemble Arion, Ms. Rémillard has also performed with several other groups, including L’Orchestre de la Chapelle Royale, Il Complesso Barocco, D’Amsterdam, Ars Musica, The American Baroque Ensemble, L’Ensemble Carl Phillip, Les Nations, Haydn Heritage, l’Ensemble Stradivaria and the Belgian ensemble Anima Eterna.
She is concertmaster for the Studio de Musique Ancienne of Montreal and plays regularly with Tafelmusik in Toronto.
Numerous concert tours and recordings brought Ms. Rémillard to the United States, to Asia, South America and Europe. To her credit, she has more than thirty CD recordings on Analekta,Sony Classical, UMUS, Titanic, ATMA, REM, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, ADDA and CBC labels.
Ms. Rémillard teaches baroque violin at McGill University.
Alexander Weimann – organ
Alexander Weimann is one of the most sought-after ensemble directors, soloists, and chamber music partners of his generation. After traveling the world with ensembles like Tragicomedia, Cantus Cölln, the Freiburger Barockorchester, the Gesualdo Consort and Tafelmusik, he now focuses on his activities as Artistic Director of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver, and as music director of Les Voix Baroques, Le Nouvel Opéra and Tempo Rubato.
Recently, he has conducted the Montreal-based baroque orchestra Ensemble Arion, Les Violons du Roy, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra; both the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra have regularly featured him as a featured soloist. In the last years, he has repeatedly conducted the Victoria Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia, most recently with Handel’s “Messiah”.
Alexander Weimann can be heard on some 100 CDs. He made his North American recording debut with the ensemble Tragicomedia on the CD Capritio (Harmonia Mundi USA), and won worldwide acclaim from both the public and critics for his 2001 release of Handel’s Gloria (ATMA Classique). Volume 1 of his recordings of the complete keyboard works by Alessandro Scarlatti appeared in May 2005. Critics around the world unanimously praised it, and in the following year it was nominated for an Opus Prize as the best Canadian early music recording. Recently, he has also released an Opus Award-winning CD of Handel oratorio arias with superstar soprano Karina Gauvin and his new Montreal-based ensemble Tempo Rubato, a recording of Bach’s St. John’s Passion, various albums with Les Voix Baroques of Buxtehude, Carissimi and Purcell, all with rave reviews. His latest album with Karina Gauvin and Arion Baroque Orchestra (Prima Donna) won a Juno Award in 2013, and a complete recording of Handel’s Orlando was released in the fall of 2013, with an exciting group of international star soloists and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra performing.
Alexander Weimann was born in 1965 in Munich, where he studied the organ, church music, musicology (with a summa cum laude thesis on Bach’s secco recitatives), theatre, medieval Latin, and jazz piano, supported by a variety of federal scholarships for the highly talented. In addition to his studies, he has attended numerous master classes in harpsichord and historical performance. To ground himself further in the roots of western music, he became intensely involved over the course of several years with Gregorian chant.
Alexander Weimann lives in the Vancouver area with his wife, 3 children and pets, and tries to spend as much time as possible in his garden and kitchen.
Catherine Webster – soprano
Soprano Catherine Webster is engaged regularly by many leading early music and chamber ensembles in North America. She has appeared as a soloist with Tafelmusik, Tragicomedia, Theatre of Voices, Netherlands Bach Society, Apollo’s Fire, American Baroque Orchestra, Magnificat, Musica Angelica, el Mundo, Four Nations Ensemble, Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal, Ensemble Masques, Les Voix
Baroques, Early Music Vancouver, and at the Vancouver, Berkeley, Montreal and Boston Early Music Festivals. Active also in contemporary music, Webster has appeared with the Kronos Quartet in Terry Riley’s Sun Rings and with Theatre of Voices and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in John Adam’s Grand Pianola Music. Catherine Webster is a frequent collaborator with baroque opera directors Stephen Stubbs and Paul O’Dette, appearing under their direction in Early Music Vancouver’s production for the 2013 edition of Festival Vancouver in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea and the premiere of Mattheson’s Boris Goudenov for the Boston Early Music Festival. She has recorded for Harmonia Mundi,
Naxos, Musica Omnia, Analekta and Atma. Catherine holds a Master’s in Music from the Early Music Institute at Indiana University and has been a guest faculty member and artist for the San Francisco Early Music Society’s summer workshops and the Madison Early Music Festival.
Benjamin Butterfield – tenor
Praised by The New York Times as, “clarion-voiced and vibrant”, Benjamin Butterfield is known for his performances throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He has performed with many of the world’s leading conductors including Sir Andrew Davis, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin, Bramwell Tovey, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Labadie, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Jeffrey Thomas, Trevor Pinnock, Bruno Weil and Marc Minkowski.
In the 2017/18 season, Butterfield returns to both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Mozart’s Requiem, Marin Alsop conducting) and Calgary Philharmonic (Jeffrey Ryan’s Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation), performs Carmina Burana with the St. Louis Symphony and Vancouver Symphony (Bramwell Tovey conducting with both), and returns to the Bach Choir of Bethlehem for the 111th annual Bethlehem Bach Festival. Overseas last fall, Butterfield performed Yevhen Stankovych’s ‘Kaddysh’ Requiem with the Hamburg Philharmonic at the Kiev Opera House memorializing the 75th anniversary of Babyn Yar.
Recent performances include Carnegie Hall with Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Haydn’s Creation), Lincoln Center with American Classical Orchestra, Utah Symphony (Mozart’s Requiem), Kansas City Symphony (Messiah), Haydn Masses with San Diego Symphony and Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and Britten’s Serenade and War Requiem with L’ Orchestre Lyrique de Montreal and Victoria Symphony. Butterfield has also appeared at Pacific Baroque Festival under conductor Marc Destrubé, Luminous Voices (Mozart’s Requiem), Elgin Symphony (Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony), and the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival in Vermont (Schubert’s Auf dem Strom and Janacek’s The Diary of one who Disappeared). He makes frequent appearances with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem including their annual 2-week Bach Festival.
Most recently as an interpreter of opera, he portrayed the role of Mime in Das Rheingold with Pacific Opera and was stage director for Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. Other operatic roles include Grimoaldo in Handel’s Rodelinda and Jupiter in Semele with Pacific Opera Victoria, Frère Massée in Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony, Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Toronto Symphony and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Calgary Opera.
A prolific recording artist, he has recorded for Analekta, Dorian, CBC Records, Koch International and Timpani (France). He has also been featured in Messiah on ZDF at the Handel-Festspiele Halle with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert and on CBC Radio as a guest host for This is my Music. Recently Mr. Butterfield recorded the St. John Passion with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem (Analekta), the Rhien transcription of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for Yellow Barn and a sixth CD of Ukrainian Art Song for the Ukrainian Art Song Project in Toronto.
Associate Professor, head of voice and co-head of performance for the School of Music at the University of Victoria, Butterfield is the 2015 recipient of the UVic. Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression. He has also served as guest faculty for Opera Nuova, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, The Victoria Conservatory Summer Vocal Academy, Vancouver International Song Institute, Yellow Barn, and Opera on the Avalon.
Nathan McDonald – baritone
Canadian-American baritone, Nathan David McDonald, is an artist committed to fostering connection and cultivating beauty through the vocal arts. Often lauded for his vocal versatility, Nathan commands a repertoire spanning several centuries, from Renaissance Polyphony to Modern Opera. With a diverse musical background, including a degree in trumpet and seven years as a church Music Director, Nathan brings a wealth of experience and musicianship to his craft.
Active as an oratorio singer, Nathan has appeared with numerous Western Canadian ensembles including the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Cowichan Consort, and Vox Humana Chamber Choir. Some recent highlights have included Handel’s Joshua and Mozart’s Requiem with the Victoria Choral Society, Monteverdi’s Vespers with the Victoria Philharmonic Choir, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Victoria Baroque Players, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Okanagan Festival Singers and the Sooke Philharmonic.
Nathan has appeared several times in the Pacific Baroque Festival, presenting various Odes by Purcell, Jean Gilles’ Requiem, and a solo cantata by Handel. In the 2017 festival Nathan was part of the debut of a recently uncovered cantata by Christoph Graupner.
On the operatic stage, Nathan has interpreted such roles as Marcello (La Bohème – Puccini), Dandini (La Cenerentola – Rossini), Il conte (Le nozze di Figaro – Mozart), Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte – Mozart), Marco (Gianni Schicchi – Puccini), and Colas (Bastien und Bastienne – Mozart). Nathan made his debut with Pacific Opera Victoria as Fiorello in their 2016 production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. He is regularly engaged by the company as a young artist for outreach projects, including through their Living Opera program that brings Opera and Opera education to schools in the Victoria area.
Nathan has presented recitals in Canada and the United States, and has sung professionally in choirs on 4 continents. A veteran of youth-oriented choral projects, Nathan has sung several times with the National Youth Choir of Canada and World Youth Choir, as well as the Carnegie Hall Chamber Choir (New York, NY), JSB Ensemble (Stuttgart, Germany), and Academia Internacional Teatro del Lago (Chile). Nathan is a member of the Voice Faculty at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and is mentored by soprano, Nancy Argenta. For more information, including upcoming concerts, visit nathandavidmcdonald.com.
Soile Stratkauskas – baroque 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
Marc Destrubé: Festival Artistic Director, baroque 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.
In July 2017, the choir embarked on a Maritime Tour in July 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday.
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 Donald Hunt, 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.