Marc Destrubé: Festival Artistic Director, violin
Sponsored by St. Michael’s University School
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.
Nancy Argenta: Soprano
Soprano Nancy Argenta’s ethereal voice has enchanted audiences around the world with a repertoire spanning the centuries. She is particularly noted for her performances of the vocal music of two leading figures in English music: Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel and has also been praised for her performances of works by composers as diverse as Mahler, Mozart, Schubert and Schoenberg. Her ability to adapt from large-scale orchestral works to chamber music has earned her great recognition and praise.
Ms. Argenta is associated particularly with the period instrument movement, and worked with virtually all of the leading ensembles and conductors in the field including, the English Baroque Soloists and John Elliott Gardiner, the Academy of Ancient Music (Christopher Hogwood), the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Ton Koopman), Les Arts Florissants (William Christie), Frans Brüggen, Alan Curtis, the English Concert (Trevor Pinnock), the London Classical Players (Roger Norrington), La Petite Bande (Sigiswald Kuijken), Tafelmusik, and the Theatre of Early Music with counter-tenor Daniel Taylor. She has appeared at the Aix-en-Provence (singing in Purcell’s Fairie Queen), Aldeburgh, Bath, Göttingen festivals, and the Holland Early Music Festival. Argenta also performed in the Songmaker’s Almanac series (London), and with England’s Trio Sonnerie.
Other conductors with whom Ms Argenta has performed include Ozawa, Gardiner, Davis, Blomstedt, Pinnock, Hogwood and Norrington with orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Singapore Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Toronto, Montreal, Sydney and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. In opera, concert and recital she has appeared at many leading festivals including Salzburg, Mostly Mozart and the BBC Proms.
Her discography of over 50 recordings includes two of Purcell songs, the first of which, O Solitude, was honoured with a Classic CD Award and Lost is my quiet a collection of English Music from Purcell’s time. She has also recorded Bach’s St John Passion, B Minor Mass, Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio with Gardiner, Purcell’s King Arthur and Haydn Masses with Pinnock and Hickox, Mozart’s Requiem, Magic Flute and Don Giovanni with Norrington. As an EMI/Virgin Solo Artist she has recorded Schubert Lieder, Scarlatti Cantatas and two discs of Bach Solo Cantatas. Recent CD releases include Handel’s Saul with Paul McCreesh (Archiv) and Handel’s Resurrezione with the Combattimento Consort.
As a devotee of the song repertoire of all periods, Nancy Argenta tours widely as a recitalist, presenting songs with their “original” keyboard accompaniment of harpsichord, fortepiano or modern piano. Recent recital locations with Maggie Cole have included The Netherlands, Hungary, Israel, Canada and Spain.
Recent concerts include a programme celebrating 100 years of English Music with the NDR Radiophilharmonic Orchestra in Hannover, performances of the St Matthew Passion with the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival in Ohio, Bach B minor Mass with the Manchester Camerata and the EuropaChorAkademie, a baroque programme with Vancouver Chamber Choir, Messiah with Tafelmusik, Bach and Mozart with the Vancouver Symphony and Handel’s Messiah with the Calgary Philharmonic.
Nancy Argenta is a faculty member of the Voice Department at the Victoria Conservatory of Music as well as Artistic Director of the Conservatory’s ‘Summer Vocal Academy Oratorio Program’.
“With her sweetly lyrical voice and sparkling diction, soprano Nancy Argenta is one of the foremost interpreters of Baroque vocal music, particularly that of Henry Purcell.” – Review of cd “Purcell Songs and Airs: Purcell” Barnes & Noble.
The Pacific Baroque Orchestra
Sponsored by Sikora’s Classical records, good brothers developments, olive olio’s pasta & espresso bar
Going to these concerts of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra one has the excitement of listening to music that has been rarely performed or recorded before. It is like opening a time capsule from the past and listening to new music paradoxically from that past, yet so fresh and new that it is as avant garde today as it was the first time it was performed.
- Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, 2009
Recognized as one of North America’s leading early music ensembles, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra was founded in 1990 by a group of West Coast musicians specializing in baroque and early classical repertoire. Under the leadership of internationally renowned violinist Marc Destrubé, the orchestra quickly established itself as a force in Vancouver’s burgeoning music scene. The PBO presents its own concert series in Vancouver, BC, and tours throughout Western Canada.
Engaging programmes, innovative collaborations, and international soloists have become hallmarks of PBO concerts. Soloists who have appeared with the PBO include Matthew White, Suzie LeBlanc, Ann Monoyios, Julianne Baird, Richard Egarr, Jaap ter Linden, Stanley Ritchie, Paul Dyer, Lucinda Moon, Nancy Argenta, Anner Bylsma, Marion Verbruggen, Monica Huggett, and baroque dance specialists Thomas Baird and Paige Whitley-Bauguess. Recognizing that the orchestra’s core repertoire hails from a time when virtually every concert featured prèmieres of new works, Artistic Director Marc Destrubé has led the orchestra in workshops and concerts devoted to new music composed for period instruments. Works commissioned from composers Linda Catlin Smith, Peter Hannan, Jocelyn Morlock, and Bradshaw Pack have featured prominently in the orchestra’s concert series.
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 childrenís choirs anywhere, in my opinion.
- Marc Destrubé (2010), Artistic Director, Pacific Baroque Festival
Recently returned from Vienna, Austria, where they placed first in the internationally-renowned Summa Cum Laude Competition, the Victoria Children’s Choir returns to the Pacific Baroque Festival for a fifth year of impressing Festival audiences. This Victoria choir is now recognised as one of North America’s finest choirs. It has also performed with the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera Victoria, and has participated in Powell River’s renowned International Choral Kathaumixw and was featured as one of the guest choirs at the 2006 Chorpodium, the Canadian National Choral Symposium.
“I cannot say enough good about the Choir, but I suspect that a lot of the credit is owed to the Director, Madeleine Humer. She had thoroughly prepared her charges for this performance. Still, it was the children who rose to the occasion. Each movement was individually characterized and dramatic. The diction was excellent throughout. And they were so confident and composed…. There was a musicality, innocence, vulnerability and sincerity about the VCC soloists’ performance that rendered them utterly compelling.” James Young, Music in Victoria; review of Vivaldi’s “Gloria”, Pacific Baroque Festival 2008
The St. Christopher’s Singers
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 and 2010, 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.
Victoria Conservatory of Music ’Young Professionals’
The Festival continues to provide an opportunity for musicians entering their professional career. The following will be performing with Nancy Argenta at the February 22 concert ’Storms, Birthdays and other pleasures’.
Aliz Ballabás, soprano, started her musical career as a classical guitarist, obtaining her MMus degree at Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. She started singing in vocal ensembles before being invited to sing as a soloist. She presently studies with Nancy Argenta at the Victoria Conservatory of Music as a visiting student, and will sing in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Victoria Baroque Players in March.
Isaiah Bell, tenor: Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell appears this season as a soloist in concert under Kent Nagano (L’enfance du Christ – l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal), Yannick Nézét-Séguin (Beethoven’s Mass in C – l’Orchestre Métropolitain) and Ivars Taurins (Messiah – Winnipeg Symphony). In opera he sings Ernesto (Don Pasquale – Saskatoon Opera), Ferrando (Così fan tutte – Jeunesses Musicales Canada) and Nanki-Poo (The Mikado – Winter Opera St. Louis), and will sing Angel 3/John in the American premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, conducted by the composer this summer at the Tanglewood Festival.
He is also active in song literature; this season’s Winterreise with Stephen Ralls follows the Canadian premiere of Alec Roth’s song cycle Seven Elements at an event hosted by the cycle’s librettist, poet and novelist Vikram Seth (Music and Beyond Festival, 2012). Previously he premiered a song cycle of his own poetry and music, On This Day, as part of Montreal’s Journées d’Arts Sacrés du Plateau, and gave a recital of Satie songs in St. John’s, Newfoundland for broadcast on CBC Radio 2 In Concert. In 2009 he won first place in voice at the National Music Festival and received that festival’s Jan Simons Song Interpretation Award for his performance of Schumann’s Liederkreis, op. 39.
Mark Donnelly, countertenor, first sang as a boy soprano, and began performing as a tenor soloist while in high school. His undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are in commerce and law, but the development of his countertenor voice and the pursuit of a singing career is his current focus.. He studies at the Victoria conservatory of Music with Nancy Argenta, and will be a soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Victoria Baroque Players next month.
Nathan McDonald, bass-baritone, is Cantor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Victoria, and studies with Nancy Argenta. Some upcoming engagements include the role of Jesus in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Victoria Baroque Players, as well as in Arvo Pärt’s Passio with Vox Humana Chamber Choir. He will also be the bass soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Victoria Choral Society and appear as a soloist in the Victoria Conservatory’s Master’s Series concert.
Kiiri Michelsen, mezzo-soprano, holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance (UVic, Benjamin Butterfield) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music (UVic, Bruce Vogt, piano; Susan Young, voice), and has studied at McGill and the University of Montreal. She presently studies with Nancy Argenta, and performs and teaches in and around the Victoria area. She will perform as a soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Victoria Baroque Players in March.
Robert Fraser studied music at three universities: Brandon, McGill, and Victoria. He is best known to Victoria audiences as the bass trombonist in the Victoria Symphony and has performed with the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg. His lifelong parallel interest has been choral music; as a student he was in the first National Youth Choir of Canada, and since moving to Victoria sings with Vox Humana, the newly-formed octet Raincoast Voices, and both choirs of Christ Church Cathedral. Bob is one of the charter members of the St Christopher’s Singers, and frequently acts as their cantor and soloist at Choral Evensong.