Since 1979, when José Verstappen became Early Music Vancouver's executive director, the organization has become recognized internationally as one of North America's foremost in the field. Under his tenure, special emphasis was given to projects involving collaborations between local and visiting artists, and to encouraging up-and-coming Vancouver artists and ensembles such as the Pacific Baroque Orchestra (directed by Marc Destrubé), the Burney Ensemble, and the violin band La Cetra (directed by Ray Nurse). These collaborative efforts between local and visiting artists culminated in internationally acclaimed, fully-staged Monteverdi opera performances of Orfeo (2000) and The Coronation of Poppea (2003). Both productions were produced for Festival Vancouver by the Early Music Vancouver production team of José Verstappen and Ray Nurse.
Through its concert series, Early Music Vancouver has presented over a thousand concerts, featuring many of the world's leading artists and ensembles. The organization has booked many remarkable successes, including sell-out performances at the 2,900-seat Orpheum Theatre by Musica Antique Köln and by the Tallis Scholars.
In addition to the focus on music from the Middle Ages to the late baroque, Early Music Vancouver has also made forays into 19th- and early-20th-century repertoire on period instruments, as well as new music for early instruments, and 'early music' from other, non-western cultures.
Through its summer courses and concerts of the Vancouver Early Music Programme & Festival, Early Music Vancouver has played an increasingly significant role as an educational institution; noteworthy in particular are: the annual advanced-level Mediæval Programme (conducted for 16 years by the ensemble Sequentia), and the Baroque Instrumental Programme (which has featured internationally renowned early music singers, instrumentalists, and ensembles). In 2001, a new advanced-level intensive Baroque Vocal Programme was added under the direction of Ray Nurse, focused on early baroque vocal repertoires, early opera, and gesture.
The organization has also assembled a unique and large collection of replicas of old instruments including harpsichords by Vancouver builder Edward Turner, lutes by Ray Nurse, recorders and flutes by Rod Cameron, and, most recently, a chamber and continuo organ by Hellmuth Wolff (Laval, Quebec).
Author Max Wyman, Alexis Luko
Links to Other Sites
A Canadian website devoted to early music composers and current musicians specializing in early music. Covers music from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras. Features musician profiles, videos, and audio clips.
Early Music Vancouver
The website for Early Music Vancouver, an organization that "encourages an appreciation and understanding of music in an historical context."
Governor General's appointments to the Order of Canada
Scroll down the page and click on the links to brief biographical notes of recent appointees to the Order of Canada. Click on "Find a Recipient" on the left side of the page to find previous recipients. From the website for the Governor General of Canada.