Victoria Baroque Players
Artistic Director – Soile Stratkauskas
“High-quality, personal and engaging performances”
Matthew White / Early Music Vancouver
“Lively, sensitive, and stylish”
Kevin Bazzana / Times Colonist
VICTORIA BAROQUE presents dynamic, personal, and engaging performances of music from the Baroque and Classical periods.
Bringing Baroque music to life, Victoria Baroque inspires Vancouver Island audiences through exciting live performances. Victoria Baroque’s home venue is Church of St John the Divine in downtown Victoria. Invitations for guest performances have included Early Music Vancouver, Early Music Society of the Islands, Cowichan Symphony Society, Artspring, Denman Island Concerts, and Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival. Victoria Baroque’s début CD Virtuosi of the Baroque on Marquis Classics was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award in 2014.
Playing on the instruments of the 18th century Victoria Baroque brings audiences closer to the soundworld of the period, embracing the dance-driven rhythmic vitality, as well as the lyrical aspects and conversational aspects of baroque music. The mellower tones of the baroque instruments – gut strings on string instruments, shorter bows, mellifluous wooden flutes, oboes and bassoon with fewer keys, natural horns without valves, etc – respond in a more intimate, conversational manner than their modern equivalents.
Victoria Baroque brings together early music specialists from Vancouver Island and beyond for explorations of chamber, orchestral, vocal and choral works. Victoria Baroque enjoys ongoing collaborations with the St John’s Chamber Singers and many visiting guest artists. Victoria Baroque’s guest directors have included Pacific Opera Victoria’s Timothy Vernon; Tafelmusik’s Jeanne Lamon; the leader of the English Baroque Soloists, Kati Debretzeni; and British harpsichordist Steven Devine. Guest soloists have included internationally acclaimed singers soprano Nancy Argenta and tenor Benjamin Butterfield in vocal works by Bach, Purcell and Handel.
Nurturing emerging talent is close Victoria Baroque’s heart. The choral collaborations with St John Chamber Singers give emerging young singers invaluable opportunities to perform with a professional period instrument orchestra, including works such as Bach’s St John Passion and Cantatas, and choral and solo works by Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann and Buxtehude. Victoria Baroque’s educational workshops with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra and Baroque Instrument Summer Program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music have exposed and immersed local music students in Baroque performance in an hands-on manner.
Victoria Baroque was founded in 2011 by Soile Stratkauskas, Finnish-born baroque flutist. Soile gained her Masters degree from the Royal Academy of Music, London, and worked with many leading period instrument orchestras in the UK. Upon moving to Victoria in 2010 with her husband, David, she quickly sought for opportunities for early music performance on the Island.