Music for Distracted Times February 15th-19th, 2023
The 2023 Pacific Baroque Music focuses on the music of 17th and 18th century England. With an ensemble of two violins, two viols, lute, harpsichord and organ, along with the wonderful soprano voice of Arwen Myers, we explore this rich period in music in which the political tumult of the early 1600s gave way to London becoming the largest city in Europe and a centre of artistic expression. Charles II’s reign saw the composition of the first English operas, the opening of the first public concert halls, and an influx of talented musicians from abroad which continued into the 18th century.
Marc Destrubé enjoys a diverse international career on historical and modern violins, performing as soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster or director/conductor.
He is former co-concertmaster of the Orchestra of the 18th Century (Amsterdam), first violinist of the Axelrod String Quartet (Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC) and of the Vancouver quartet Microcosmos, and is a regular guest director and soloist with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Australian Haydn Ensemble and Lyra Baroque Orchestra.
In Vancouver he has been director of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, concertmaster of the CBC Radio Orchestra and first violinist with the Purcell String Quartet. He performs regularly for Early Music Vancouver, is Artistic Director of the Pacific Baroque Festival (Victoria), a member of the Turning Point Ensemble, and concertmaster of the Oregon Bach Festival Baroque Orchestra.
His recording of Haydn violin concertos (ATMA) has been critically acclaimed, and he has commissioned and premiered numerous works by Canadian composers. A highly-respected teacher, he has been a visiting artist at the Paris, Utrecht and Moscow Conservatories, the Banff Centre, University of Indiana, Case Western University, UVic, UBC and VCC. He is on the faculty of the Berwick Academy at the Oregon Bach Festival.
Praised for her “crystalline tone and delicate passagework” (San Francisco Chronicle), soprano Arwen Myers captivates audiences with her timeless artistry and exquisite interpretations. Transmitting a warmth and “deep poignancy” (Palm Beach Arts Paper) onstage, Arwen shines in solo performance across the US and beyond. With outstanding technique and mastery of a wide range of vocal colors, Arwen’s dazzling oratorio and solo appearances feature repertoire from the baroque to modern day, and everything in between. Her history includes appearances with Portland Baroque Orchestra, Early Music Vancouver, Pacific MusicWorks, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra & Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, working with such notable conductors as Nicholas McGegan, Monica Huggett, David Fallis, John Butt, David Hill, Scott Allen Jarrett, Erick Lichte & Matthew Dirst.
Recent highlights include Handel with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Bach & Purcell with Portland Baroque Orchestra; Vivaldi, Monteverdi & Gabrieli with Early Music Vancouver; Handel with Oregon Bach Festival; Fauré with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; and the world premiere of Zachary Wadsworth’s JUNO-nominated When There is Peace with Chor Leoni, which received national broadcast across Canada. Of her title role in Handel’s Semele with American Bach Soloists Academy in 2018, San Francisco Classical Voice noted, “some of these star turns were shiny indeed, with soprano Arwen Myers leading the way… her musicality and demure demeanor remained a renewable pleasure.” An exceptionally talented and generous chamber musician, Arwen features with some of the nation’s premiere ensembles, including Seraphic Fire, Bach Akademie Charlotte, Spire Chamber Ensemble, and Bach Collegium San Diego, and Fear No Music. Arwen is represented by Aligned Artistry.
Los Angeles-based baroque cellist and violist da gamba Eva Lymenstull enjoys a diverse career that has taken her across North America and Europe as a soloist, chamber musician, continuo player and orchestral musician. She has performed recently as concerto soloist and principal cellist with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra, guest principal cellist of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, and Musica Angelica, and has also appeared with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Voices of Music, Tesserae, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Holland Baroque Society. She has performed at the Carmel Bach Festival, the Utrecht, Boston, and Berkeley Fringe Festivals, and on the Gotham Early Music and Academy of Early Music series.
As winner of the 2017 Voices of Music Bach Competition, Ms. Lymenstull recorded Bach’s D minor cello suite for their online video archive. With performance and research interests ranging from the early Renaissance to the twentieth century, she particularly enjoys playing Classical and Romantic chamber music on historical instruments. Recent recordings can be heard on the Brilliant Classics and Violet Ear labels.
In addition to performing, Ms. Lymenstull teaches baroque cello and viola da gamba as a regular guest artist at the University of Michigan. She holds degrees from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (Jaap ter Linden), Rice University (Desmond Hoebig) and University of Michigan (Richard Aaron), and a doctorate in historical performance practice from Case Western Reserve University.
Check out her website at: evalymenstull.com
Lucas Harris discovered the lute during his undergraduate studies at Pomona College, where he graduated summa cum laude. He then studied the lute and early music at the Civica scuola di musica di Milano and at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. Since 2004 he bases his freelance career in Toronto, where he serves as the regular lutenist for Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Toronto Continuo Collective, the Vesuvius Ensemble (dedicated to Southern Italian folk music), and the Lute Legends Collective (an association of specialists in ancient plucked-string traditions from diverse cultures). Lucas plays with many other ensembles in Canada and the USA and has worked in recent years with the Helicon Foundation, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Atalante, The Newberry Consort, Les Délices, and Jordi Savall / Le Concert des Nations. He teaches at the Tafelmusik Summer and Winter Baroque Institutes, Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, and the Canadian Renaissance Music Summer School, and is also a regular guest artist with Early Music Vancouver.
In 2014 Lucas completed graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, Lucas was chosen as the Artistic Director of the Toronto Chamber Choir, for which he has created and conducted over twenty themed concert programs. He has also directed projects for the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, the Ohio State University Opera Program, Les voix baroques, and the Toronto Consort.
One of Lucas's many pandemic projects was the reconstruction of 12 solo voice motets by the Italian nun Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, now available for free download on the Web Library for Seventeenth-Century Music.
Check out his website at: lucasharris.ca
Organist and harpsichordist Mark McDonald is recognized for his sensitive interpretations of a wide range of repertoire and styles from early music to the avant garde. Based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ ters.) he is sought after for his skills as an organist, harpsichordist, choral director, and teacher. Laureate of several international competitions, he was the third-prize winner of the 2014 Arp Schnitger International Organ Competition in Hamburg Germany and most recently participated in the 2017 International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo. He was a featured soloist at the Royal Canadian College of Organist’s National Convention in Kingston, Ontario in 2016 and his diverse career has included performances with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Victoria Symphony and Cirque du Soleil.
A native of Burlington, Ontario, he began his musical studies as a pianist and was drawn to the organ as a teenager. He pursued his musical studies at Queen’s University where he completed a dual degree in performance and composition studying organ with David Cameron, composition with Marjan Mozetich and Alfred Fisher, and conducting with Mark Sirett. During his time in Kingston, he served as Assistant Organist at Chalmers United Church and accompanist for several choirs including the Melos Choral Ensemble, the Kingston Choral Society, and the Kingston Chamber Choir. He also produced the classical radio program In Concert which aired on CFRC radio in 2009.
Mark moved to Montreal in 2009 to continue his studies at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. He completed a Master of Music in organ performance studies with John Grew and an Artist Diploma and Doctorate of Music in organ and harpsichord performance studies with Hans-Ola Ericsson and Hank Knox. His studies also have taken him to Germany where he specialized in early music studies at the University of the Arts Bremen under Hans Davidsson and Harald Vogel. His doctoral thesis on the avant-garde composer Bengt Hambraeus, which explored and revised the organ registrations in Hambraeus’ landmark composition Livre d’orgue (1981), was published in 2017.
Mark has held positions at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, Christ Church Cathedral, St. James United Church and Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Montreal and he currently serves as Assistant Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, British Columbia. As a conductor, he has served as interim artistic director of One Equall Musick choral collective and he founded and directed the Compline Choir at Dio, a choral training initiative at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College.
He is currently the Instructor of Organ at the University of Victoria and is a founding member of the Victoria Organ Studio teaching collective. He has also taught Theory and Musicianship at the Schulich School of Music and the McGill Conservatory (2009-17), Church Music History at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College (2013-17), the McGill Student Organ Academy (2016-17) and the Royal Canadian College of Organist’s Student Organ Academy (2015-16). As an arts organizer and project leader, he has worked on the organizing teams for the Montreal Organ Festival (2017), Organ Festival Canada (2020) and the prestigious Canadian International Organ Competition (2017-2019).
Check out his website at: mark-mcdonald.ca
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 was introduced to the viola da gamba, and following graduation, she pursued further studies at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague.
Natalie has played with many ensembles in Canada and the US, including New World Consort, Les Coucous Bénévoles, Tafelmusik, Portland, and Seattle Baroque Orchestras, Les Voix Humaines, Tempo Rubato, Les Voix Baroque, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Victoria Baroque Players, and Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra among others.
Natalie is a member of Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the chamber ensemble “La Modestine”- both Vancouver-based ensembles.
She has toured throughout Canada, Europe, and the US and recorded for Radio France, German Radio, BBC, CBC, and NPR, as well as the Canadian label Atma Classique.
Natalie is a regular performer in the Pacific Baroque Festival, held annually in Victoria, BC, and teaches in the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program at the University of British Columbia.
Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Kathryn is an active & versatile freelance violinist and educator on Vancouver Island. Her passionate and intuitive musicianship has brought her the opportunity to perform with distinguished ensembles around Canada, in orchestral, chamber, and solo opportunities. Currently, she regular performs with the Victoria Symphony, Victoria Baroque Players, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Festival, and has appeared as a guest leader/violinist for Per Sonatori Baroque Ensemble in Regina, Saskatchewan. She can be heard on various CBC In Concert broadcasts, as well as the album, “La riche canadienne: The Music of Elinor Dunsmuir”, a local project which premieres a collection of post-romantic, recently-unearthed chamber works by the fascinating Canadian composer.
She studied at the University of Toronto and University of Michigan under the tutelage of the late Yehonatan Berick as a merit scholar. Over the years, she has brought her talent various music festivals, including the Berwick Academy at the Oregon Bach Festival, Brott Music Festival, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, Domaine Forget, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and Interlochen Centre for the Arts.
As an educator, Kathryn has a private studio of budding musicians, and has been an adjudicator for Campbell River and Cowichan Valley Music Festivals. She is also currently on faculty as Violin Coach and Orchestra/Ensemble conductor and organizer at the Comox Valley Youth Music Centre.
As a busy entrepreneur, Kathryn is the owner, artistic director, and avid arranger of Cascadia Strings, a highly sought-after, award-winning professional event music company, as well as a concert chamber ensemble, providing live music and unique concert experiences from Victoria to Whistler and everywhere in between. In this venture, Kathryn’s goal is to bridge the gap between classical music and more popular genres, bringing audiences of all demographics and interests to live concerts.
Kathryn lives in Esquimalt with her husband and musical partner, Tyson Doknjas, as well as their delightful 2 year old son, Aidan. Kathryn and Tyson enjoy performing concerts together, under the name of “Sombrio Duo”, both independently, and through organizations such as Health Arts Society, where they have the opportunity to perform at various retirement and assisted living homes. They especially enjoy unearthing rarely-heard or performed works for two violins, as well as arranging their own renditions of other repertoire for the unique instrumentation.
Check out her website at: kathrynwiebe.com
Marco Vitale was born in Palermo, Italy. After finishing studies in his hometown, he attended the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague where he studied harpsichord with Ton Koopman and organ with Jos van der Kooy, graduating with a master’s degree in Early Music. Throughout his career Marco has performed at the most prestigious venues and festivals throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, South America, the Middle East and Asia. From 2008-2011 Marco Vitale worked at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, Syria, where he taught early music performance practice and performed concerts together with Syrian musicians.
He is the co-founder and musical director of Contrasto Armonico, an ensemble specializing in Baroque operas and the performance of music in the Italian style, using period instruments and historically informed performance practices. In 2012 he founded his own record label ayros, and is currently involved in recording the Complete Italian Cantatas by Handel, a thrilling project that will bring to light many undiscovered jewels of Handel’s which have yet to be either edited or recorded. Marco has appeared on several radio and TV broadcasts, including the specialized music channel Mezzo.tv. In addition to ayros, he has recorded for Alia Vox, Naïve, and Brilliant Classics.
Marco has a truly international reputation as a harpsichordist and teacher of baroque music performance and he continues to tour with Jordi Savall’s ensembles Le Concert des Nations & Hespèrion XXI. He is the artistic director of the Arcadia Early Music Academy workshop in Poland and teaches at La Pellegrina summer school in the Czech Republic. He gives masterclasses, lectures and workshops at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Fondazione Paolo Grassi in Martina Franca (Italy), ESMUC in Barcelona, the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of Victoria in BC.
Since Marco first came to Vancouver Island in 2017, he has directed the Denman Baroque Festival and Workshop; the Salt Spring Baroque Music Society; become Director of Music at Saint Barnabas Church in Victoria and, most recently, was appointed Music Director of the CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble.
He is a member of the ensemble La Modestine with Marc Destrubé and Natalie Mackie and cooperates with the ensemble Victoria Baroque.
His debut, in the summer of 2022, as a guest conductor for the Victoria Symphony, saw him leading from the harpsichord the complete Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and orchestral suites by Rameau and Handel.
Check out his website at: marcovitale.art