Early Music Vancouver Announces Celebratory 50th Anniversary Season

EMV Announces Celebratory 50th Anniversary Season

2019/20 Main Season and Vancouver Bach Festival Feature
Acclaimed International Artists, Local Icons, & Long-Time Audience Favourites

Early Music Vancouver (EMV) celebrates 50 years of historically informed performance with the announcement of the 2019 Vancouver Bach Festival and 2019/20 Main Season. Dedicated to sharing period music using the instruments and performance traditions for which it was originally composed, EMV marks the anniversary with a season of renowned masterworks and illustrious guest artists. The expansive programming includes such diverse works as Benjamin Bagby’s one-man musical telling of Beowulf; masterworks for choir and orchestra by Bach, Handel, and Purcell; early romantic creations by Chopin, Faure, and Schubert; 20th century solo piano pieces by Shostakovich; and world premieres challenging contemporary composers to write for Baroque and period instruments.

The 50th anniversary season will host a stellar line-up of returning favourites and international artists, including The Tallis Scholars; harpsichordist Ton Koopman; the Orlando Consort; Amarcord Ensemble; counter-tenor Iestyn Davies with Fretwork; sopranos Suzie LeBlanc, Dorothee Mields and Joanne Lunn; violinist and musical leader Jeanne Lamon; cornettist Bruce Dickey; Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music; Les Boréades de Montréal; Les Voix Humaines with lutenist Nigel North; violinist Marc Destrubé; cellist Jaap ter Linden; pianists Byron Schenkman and David Jalbert; among others.
In recent years, EMV has placed particular emphasis on collaborations with fellow presenters in Vancouver and abroad. The Vancouver Bach Festival and Main Season will boast a record number of partnerships with organizations including the Vancouver Cantata Singers; Vancouver Chopin Society; the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; Music on Main’s Modulus Festival; the Pacific Baroque Orchestra (PBO) directed by conductor Alexander Weimann; Pacific MusicWorks led by music director Stephen Stubbs; Chor Leoni’s Men’s Choir; and the Vancouver Bach Choir.

“This season is a balanced reflection of both our past and future. It promises more opportunities than ever for engagement, enrichment, and education via time travel through almost a thousand years of rich musical history,” says Matthew White, Executive and Artistic Director of EMV. “With the support of our growing audiences, donors, staff, and volunteers, we have put together an offering overflowing with some of the world’s most esteemed artists specializing in period performance. The opportunity to program such diverse music, stunning talent, and ambitious collaborations is a rare privilege; one for which I continue to be deeply grateful.”

Running July 30 to August 9, the fourth annual Vancouver Bach Festival will bring an all-encompassing celebration of classical music to downtown Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. The 15-concert festival commences with Montreal’s internationally acclaimed early music ensemble, Les Boréades, in a spectacular two-night performance of Bach’s Complete Brandenburg Concertos. The Vancouver Bach Choir will also partner with the festival for the first time to perform Faure’s beloved Requiem with a professional core of twenty of the region’s best singers. Further highlights include the return of audience favourite soprano Amanda Forsythe with Pacific MusicWorks, in a performance of Handel’s early cantatas, as well as sopranos Suzie LeBlanc and Dorothee Mields’ dramatic interpretations of female composer Barbara Strozzi’s 17th century musings on love and loss.

The festival’s popular weekday afternoon concert series also returns, offering diverse and delightful selections includingByron Schenkman sharing Chopin Preludes on a 19th century fortepiano, David Jalbert performing Shostakovich’s Preludes, an eclectic array of 17th Century chamber music for early wind and string instruments, Bach Sonatas for flute and violin, Mozart String Trios, and more. The festival will come to a grand conclusion with the presentation of Purcell’s Hail Bright Cecila at the Chan Centre, featuring eight-internationally renowned vocal soloists and the PBO led by Alexander Weimann.

EMV’s Main Season commences when Canadian treasure and long-time music director of Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Jeanne Lamon, leads eighteen members of Victoria Baroque in Le Concert Spirituel: Baroque Orchestral Suites, featuring a selection of Orchestral Suites and Concerti Grossi celebrating the first-ever public concert series in Paris. In late October, EMV, in collaboration with Music on Main’s Modulus Festival, will host celebrated British countertenor lestyn Davies and Fretwork viol consort in a concert highlighting English composers Michael Nyman and Henry Purcell. Also visiting from Britain is star lutenist Nigel North, who joins Canada’s legendary viol consort Les Voix Humaines for a performance of John Dowland’s 1604 Lachrimae. In mid-November, Ton Koopman — regarded as one of the finest organists, harpsichordists, and conductors of our time — will perform an all Bach programme on a harpsichord made by Vancouver’s own Craig Tomlinson. The Christmas season will be festive and bright with the return of Handel Messiah, featuring Vancouver Cantata Singers, PBO, and Guest Music Director Ivars Taurins from the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir; as well as EMV’s beloved annual Festive Cantatas, featuring a joyous programme entitled Christmas in Gabrieli’s Venice led by legendary cornettist Bruce Dickey.

The New Year begins with Sequentia, a Cologne-based medieval-music ensemble, performing incantations by unknown pagan authors and deeply moving poems from Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. The following evening, Benjamin Bagby — one of the world’s leading practitioners of historically informed music and theatre — will dramatize Beowulf in the original Anglo-Saxon, while accompanying himself on medieval harp. Unconventional collaborations will see EMV partner with Chor Leoni Men’s Choir and Ensemble La Nef to explore sea songs and shanties going back to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries; as well as host The Orlando Concert as they perform music from the early 15th century live alongside a screening of the 1928 silent film masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer.

In the spring, EMV presents a delightful concert of chamber works by Telemann and C.P.E. Bach; the return of PBO’s New Music for Old Instruments; and a recital of Chopin’s solo works from 2018 Chopin Competition winner Tomasz Ritter. In April, EMV hosts its 50th Anniversary Gala, offering a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, and excerpts from Haydn’s Creation with the participation of the Vancouver Bach Choir and the Vancouver Cantata Singers. The concert will feature the largest-scale period instrument orchestra ever assembled in Vancouver, demonstrating the extent to which the regional period instrument scene has grown and flourished on the West Coast in recent years.

EMV’s illuminating season will conclude with two concerts featuring internationally renowned vocal ensembles — Amarcord Ensemble and The Tallis Scholars. In April, esteemed German acappella vocal quintet, Amarcord Ensemble, share Schubert’s Romantic Lied for unaccompanied male voices. In May, leading British early music vocal ensemble The Tallis Scholars return with Renaissance Masters on the Battlefield. This magnificent season finale features work by composers present at ‘The Field of the Cloth of Gold’, a spectacular and historic political summit that brought together Kings Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France.

The full Vancouver Bach Festival and 2019/20 Season includes:

JUL 30 Bach Complete Brandenburg Concertos Part 1 with Les Boréades at the Chan Centre
JUL 31 Bach Complete Brandenburg Concertos Part 2 with Les Boréades
JUL 31 Bach Sonatas and Chamber Music with Les Boréades at 1pm
AUG 1 Faure Requiem with Vancouver Bach Choir
AUG 1 Chopin Preludes featuring Byron Schenkman, fortepiano at 1pm
A collaboration with the Vancouver Chopin Society
AUG 2 Mozart String Trios featuring Marc Destrubé, violin at 1pm
AUG 2 Bach Cantatas (BWV 12, 39, 161) with Les Boréades
AUG 6 Palestrina, Monteverdi & More Song of Songs
AUG 6 Bach Clavierübung III – the Organ Mass featuring Alexander Weimann at 1pm
AUG 7 Handel Early Cantatas featuring Amanda Forsythe, soprano
AUG 7 Before Bach: 17th Century Music for Strings & Winds at 1pm
AUG 8 Strozzi 17th Century Divas featuring Suzie LeBlanc & Dorothee Mields, sopranos
AUG 8 Shostakovich Preludes featuring David Jalbert, piano at 1pm
AUG 9 Purcell Hail Bright Cecilia with PBO at the Chan Centre

All concerts at Christ Church Cathedral at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted.


NOV 30 Handel Messiah with PBO at 8pm
DEC 22 Festive Cantatas: Christmas in Gabrieli’s Venice at 3pm
JAN 11 Beowulf: The Epic in Performance featuring Benjamin Bagby voice & harp*
FEB 22 Sea Songs & Shanties with Ensemble La Nef & Chor Leoni
MAR 23 Chopin Solo Works featuring Tomasz Ritter 2018 Chopin Competition Winner*               
A collaboration with the Vancouver Chopin Society
APR 5 Beethoven, Mozart & Haydn EMV 50th Anniversary Gala with PBO at 3pm
MAY 3 Renaissance Masters on the Battlefield with The Tallis Scholars at 3pm

All concerts at the Chan Centre (except *at Vancouver Playhouse) at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted.


SEP 28 Le Concert Spirituel: Baroque Orchestral Suites featuring Jeanne Lamon
OCT 29 Purcell & Nyman Music After Awhile featuring Iestyn Davies counter-tenor
A collaboration with Music on Main’s Modulus Festival
NOV 1 Dowland Lachrimae with Les Voix Humaines
A collaboration with Music on Main’s Modulus Festival
NOV 12 Bach Solo Works for Keyboard featuring Ton Koopman, harpsichord
JAN 10 Charms, Riddles & Elegies with Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music
JAN 31 Film in Concert: The Passion of Joan of Arc with The Orlando Consort
MAR 4 Telemann & C.P.E Bach Chamber Works featuring Mark Destrubé, Jaap ter Linden,
Jacques Ogg, and Wilbert Hazelzet
APR 17 Schubert Romantic Lied with Amarcord Ensemble

All concerts at Christ Church Cathedral at 7:30pm.

EMV subscribers can attend any four Vancouver Bach Festival or 2019/20 Season performances for the price of three. All subscriptions including more than four concerts also enjoy a 25% discount. Subscriptions are available by phone through the Chan Centre Box Office at 604.822.2697.


ABOUT EARLY MUSIC VANCOUVER (earlymusic.bc.ca)                               
For more than 45 years, Early Music Vancouver (EMV) has dedicated itself to fostering an understanding and appreciation of musical treasures from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods. Currently under the leadership of Matthew White – renowned countertenor and founding director of the Québec-based ensemble Les Voix Baroques – EMV continues to garner international acclaim as the largest presenter of early music in Canada, and as one of the most active and innovative organizations in its field in North America. EMV is proud of its educational outreach initiatives that include its popular, annual summer festival at UBC’s School of Music; a new Baroque Mentorship Orchestra; community lectures; and instrument instruction and preservation.

Media release and image provided by Sarah Ghosh, Murray Paterson Marketing Group. Feature image: Handel Messiah’s presentation of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra by Jan Gates.

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