Thursday August 8, 2019 | 7:30PM (Pre-concert talk at 6:45PM)
Christ Church Cathedral | Map
Being published in one’s lifetime was a great accomplishment for composers of the 17th century – especially if you happened to be a woman! Barbara Strozzi published eight collections of exquisite arias and madrigals on the familiar subject of love gone wrong that are of a similar, superlative standard to those of her contemporary Claudio Monteverdi. Strozzi’s remarkable output as an artist is thanks in part to the patronage she enjoyed from the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Vittoria della Rovere who was an important proto-feminist of the early 17th century who believed in the important of supporting virtuoso women artists, musicians and writers. This concert celebrates Strozzi’s 400th anniversary with a programme of sensual and playful arias and duets performed by two of the greatest interpreters of 17th century vocal music living today.
This concert is generously supported by Jo & Bob Tharalson
Suzie LeBlanc, soprano
Born in Acadia, Suzie LeBlanc fell in love with the Baroque early in life. Now an international star, the charismatic soprano is well-known for her passionate performances of Early Music, art song, contemporary music and Acadian traditional repertoire.
She has sung with many of the world’s leading early music ensembles in concert and opera performances as well as on film and on disc. Concerts have taken her to festivals all over the world and on the opera stage, she has performed for De Nederlandse Opera, Festival de Beaune, Opéra de Montréal, the Boston Early Music Festival, Tanglewood, Festival Vancouver and Early Music Vancouver.
Recently appointed to the Order of Canada for her contribution to Acadian culture and to the performance of Early Music, she has also earned four honorary doctorates and a career grant from the Conseil des Arts du Québec.
Suzie’s recordings have received several prestigious awards, including a Grammy award for a recording of Lully’s Thésée with the Boston Early Music Festival, an Opus awards for best world music recording – “Tempi con Variazioni” – and best contemporary album, for a disc of early songs by Olivier Messiaen. In 2014, she was awarded ECMA’s Best Classical Album (2014) for “I am in need of music”, which was also a finalist for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Award.
In 2019, she premiered MOUVANCE, a multidisciplinary work by Jerôme Blais supported by the Canada Council and made her debut as a conductor with the Studio de Musique Ancienne in a programme of music from 17th century Italian convents. She performed with Vancouver’s Elektra, Constantinople and toured Fiorè with Elinor Frey. She frequently performs with Ensemble Constantinople and Elinor Frey, celllist.
Suzie is vocal coach and director of Cappella Antica at McGill University and the founder and co-artistic director of Le Nouvel Opéra, an organisation presenting early and contemporary chamber opera in Montreal.
Dorothee Mields, soprano
Dorothee Mields is one of the leading interpreters of 17th- and 18th-century music and is beloved by audiences and critics alike for her unique timbre and moving interpretations.
She appears regularly with the Collegium Vocale Gent, Netherlands Bach Society, L’Orfeo Barockorchester, Freiburger Barockorchester, RIAS Kammerchor, Bach Collegium Japan, Orchestra of the 18th Century, Lautten Compagney Berlin, Tafelmusik Baro9ue Orchestra Toronto, The English Concert and Klangforum Wien under conductors such as Stefan Asbury, Beat Furrer, Mic hi Gaigg, Paul Goodwin, Philippe Herreweghe, Emilio Pomarico, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Andreas Spering, Masaaki Suzuki and Jos van Veldhoven.
Dorothee Mields is a welcome guest at international festivals, including the Leipzig Bach Festival, Suntory Music Foundation Summer Festival in Japan, Boston Early Music Festival, Flanders Festival, Wiener Festwochen, the Handel Festival in Halle, Musikfestspiele Potsdam, Styriarte Graz, Niedersachsische Musiktage, Musikfest Bremen, Mainzer Musiksommer and Mosel Musikfest.
She is a devoted chamber musician and offers a range of highly interesting projects such as “Lord Nelson at the river Nile” (music by Haydn and contemporaries dealing with the battles of Lord Nelson), “White as Lillies was her Face” with songs by John Dowland combined with texts by Heinrich Heine, “Mort ex9uise, mort parfumee” with French impressionistic compositions, “Duft und Wahnsinn” (fragrance and lunacy) together with Hille Perl, viola da gamba, and Lee Santana, lute, as well as “Birds” with flutist Stefan Temmingh.
A steadily growing discography with several award-winning recordings documents her artistic achievements. “Inspired by Song” and “Birds” with Stefan Temmingh, “Handel” with Hille Perl, Monteverdi “La dolce vita” with the Lautten Compagney Berlin and Wolfgang Katschner (all dhm), Bach “Kantaten fur Solo-Sopran” with L’Orfeo Barockorchester and Michi Gaigg and Boccherini “Sta bat mater” with the Salagon Quartett (both Carus) have been especially well received.
In 2018/19, Dorothee Mields is artist in residence at the Heinrich-Schutz-Musikfest. Further upcoming highlights include appearances in Japan with the RIAS Kammerchor, at the Wigmore Hall with The English Concert, with Seattle Symphony, and at the Internationale Orgelwoche Nurnberg, as well as tours with Collegium Vocale Gent, Freiburger Barockorchester, Gli Angeli Geneve and Holland Baroque.
Lucas Harris, lute
Lucas Harris discovered the lute during his undergraduate studies at Pomona College, where he graduated summa cum laude. He then studied early music in Italy at the Civica scuola di musica di Milano (as a scholar of the Marco Fodella Foundation) and then in Germany at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. After several years in New York City, he moved to Toronto in 2004 and became the regular lutenist for the 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 Ensemble (a multi-ethnic trio of lute, pipa, and oud). Lucas plays with many other ensembles in Canada and the USA, including the Helicon Foundation (New York) and the Smithsonian Chamber Players (Washington, D.C.). For many years he has been on faculty at the Tafelmusik Summer and Winter Baroque Institutes as well Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, and has also taught for Vancouver Early Music’s Baroque Vocal Programme, the International Baroque Institute at Longy, and Amherst Early Music. In 2014 Lucas completed graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Toronto, the degree having been funded by a prestigious SSHRC research grant not often awarded to performers. Upon graduating, Lucas was chosen as the Artistic Director of the Toronto Chamber Choir (now in its 50th anniversary season), for which he has created and conducted nearly 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. Lucas recently became a Canadian citizen and is also the proud father of Daphnée (age 7). Lucas’s work with Les voix humaines was praised in Montréal: “La révélation du concert est le luthiste torontois Lucas Harris, qui tisse un fil poétique à travers ses interventions infiniment subtiles. La douceur et la patience de son jeu émerveillent.” (Le Devoir)
Mark Edwards, harpsichord, organ
First prize winner in the 2012 Musica Antiqua Bruges International Harpsichord Competition, Canadian harpsichordist and organist Mark Edwards is recognized for his captivating performances, bringing the listener “to new and unpredictable regions, using all of the resources of his instrument, […] of his virtuosity, and of his imagination” (La Libre Belgique). Since 2016, he is Assistant Professor of Harpsichord at Oberlin Conservatory.
He has given solo recitals at a number of prominent festival and concert series, including the Utrecht Early Music Festival, Bozar (Brussels), the Montreal Baroque Festival, and Clavecin en concert (Montreal). He has had concerto performances with a number of award-winning ensembles, including Il Gardellino (Belgium), Neobarock (Germany), Ensemble Caprice (Canada), and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Also an active chamber musician, he is the artistic director of Poiesis, collaborates regularly with Les Boréades de Montréal and Les Délices (Cleveland), and has performed with Tafelmusick, Il Pomo d’Oro, and Pallade Musica.
His début solo CD, Orpheus Descending, was released in 2017 on the early-music.com label and was reviewed warmly. Passaggi (ATMA 2013), his CD with the Canadian recorder player Vincent Lauzer, was nominated for an ADISQ award. His performances have been broadcast by American Public Media, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Klara (Belgium), and Radio 4 (Netherlands).
In addition to his success in Bruges, Mark has distinguished himself as a prizewinner in a number of important competitions, including the 2012 Jurow International Harpsichord Competition, the 2011 Concours d’orgue de Québec, and the 2008 Rodland Organ Competition. He is the recipient of academic grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he earned his Bachelor of Music with highest distinction, and completed graduate degrees at McGill University and the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. His former teachers include Robert Hill, William Porter, Hank Knox, and David Higgs. He is currently a PhD student at Leiden University and the Orpheus Instituut, Ghent, where his research examines the intersection of memory, improvisation, and the musical work in seventeenth-century France.