EMSI celebrates its thirtieth anniversary season

To celebrate its thirtieth anniversary, the Early Music Society of the Islands will present some of the biggest stars in the field of early music. Musicians from England, France, Germany, Italy, and across North America will perform in Victoria, many of them for the first time.

The theme of the season is Great Composers, with programs devoted to works by Bach, Dowland, Handel, Monteverdi, Mozart, and Vivaldi. The season is anchored by two special events: one is Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (December 20th), performed for the first time in Victoria as Bach would have heard it. The other is Handel’s glorious oratorio Theodora (February 15th), a production featuring the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the Vancouver Cantata Singers, under the direction of Alexander Weimann.

The season begins on Saturday, October 4th with a fascinatingly conjectural program: could the great John Dowland have been born in Ireland? How would his songs, among the greatest ever written, have sounded had they been performed in a Dublin pub? American tenor Michael Slattery and La Nef (Montreal) make a compelling case for their Celtic versions of Dowland’s compositions. This concert is sure to appeal to all lovers of great singing and folk music, as well as to lovers of renaissance song.

Other concerts feature Pacific MusicWorks (Seattle), directed by Stephen Stubbs, performing madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi, Accademia Hermans (Italy), playing music by Vivaldi and his imitators, Kristian Bezuidenhout (England/South Africa) in a programme devoted entirely to the piano sonatas of Mozart, and tenor Jeffrey Thompson and La Rêveuse (France) performing the music of Henry Lawes. The season wraps up on April 25th, when VocaMe (Germany) performs music by one of the most fascinating and influential figures of the middle ages: Hildegard of Bingen.

Subscription and individual tickets are on sale now from the McPherson Box Office.

10th Annual Pacific Baroque Festival, 6-9 March 2014

Join the many who are planning to refresh their spirits with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach from March 6 to 9! An impressive line-up of musicians will help the Pacific Baroque Festival celebrate its 10th anniversary with a delightful range of music from this baroque master:

  • Canadian soprano Shannon Mercer
    Shannon Mercer’s voice proved as floating as ever.” Le Soleil
  • Victoria-raised Tyler Duncan (baritone)
    Duncan is one of those rare lyric baritones… ideal for singing Bach’s music.” Toronto Star 
  • Organ virtuoso Edoardo Bellotti, one of the world’s leading exponents of baroque improvisation
  • Soile Stratkauskas (baroque flute)
    Ms. Stratkauskas is a formidably talented baroque flautist” Music in Victoria
  • Festival Artistic Director Marc Destrubé (violin)
    Destrubé is a brilliantly soulful player” The Georgia Straight
  • Pacific Baroque Orchestra, early music for modern ears
  • The internationally-acclaimed Victoria Children’s Choir

EMSI Members receive a special discount on their Festival Passes! Seniors/Students can experience all 4 concerts for $65: only $17.50 each concert! Adults: $85: a $15 savings! Please purchase these Passes on-line.

This will be a special occasion for Victoria’s early music lovers.  Learn more by visiting the Pacific Baroque Festival website. This March let J. S. Bach refresh your spirits!

French Baroque Opera

Boston Early Music Festival comes to Victoria!

For the first time ever, Victoria audiences will have the opportunity to experience a semi-staged baroque opera, performed in a period style by one of the world’s leading baroque music ensembles.

Close to thirty singers, dancers, and musicians will perform a double bill of operas by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, first played for the Dauphin of France.

It is the most ambitious production in EMSI’s almost thirty-year history.

To ensure the best seats, purchase your tickets early for this special event.

For more information about the opera see the concert page

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s
La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs
Boston Early Music Festival: Vocal, Chamber, and Dance Ensembles (USA)
Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Co-presented with Pacific Opera Victoria
“musically intelligent and dramatically affecting” THE BOSTON GLOBE


2013-14 EMSI Brochure Now Available

Welcome to the launch of the 2013-14 season!

Chamber music, lute, German cantatas, the Polish Baroque, the music of Bach, Handel, and Rossi are offerings in this year’s concert series.

In addition to a wonderful regular season line-up with the biggest names in early music, we look forward to a collaboration with  Pacific Opera Victoria in presenting our first Baroque opera!

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs is Boston Early Music Festival’s semi-staged double-bill production performed in period style.

For information on purchasing your tickets for this season highlight (gala or regular performances) and our concert series, please visit the Tickets page.

The season  brochure and order form are now available for download.