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Bach, Pärt, and Vivaldi

March 17 @ 2:30 pm

Brothers and sisters in song raise their voices in praise and penitence as some of Victoria’s finest choral groups join the VS for Baroque favourites. This collaboration includes a triple concerto by J.S.  Bach, music by his Bohemian contemporary Jan Dismas Zelenka, and one of Vivaldi’s most magnificent choral works! Pärt’s entrancing work Fratres (“Brothers”) completes the picture.

Concert underwritten by Chris & Eve Millington: Trustees of the Lou Williamson Scholarship Fund and Jill Gibson
Violin soloists underwritten by Fritz & Dora Boehm

Giuseppe Pietraroia, conductor

Giuseppe Pietraroia is Associate Conductor for both the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera. As a guest conductor he has been engaged by l’Orchestre Métropolitain, Orchestra London, Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Hamilton Philharmonic, Okanagan Symphony, Regina Symphony, Kingston Symphony and Thunder Bay Symphony.

His extensive opera engagements with Pacific Opera include productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia, La traviata, La bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma, Rigoletto, Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, La Cenerentola, Tosca, and Let’s Make an Opera/The Little Sweep. In addition, he has conducted productions for l’Opéra de Montréal, l’Opéra de Québec, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Edmonton Opera, Opera New Brunswick, Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, and l’Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal.

With Victoria Choral Society, where he was Music Director for seven seasons, Maestro Pietraroia conducted performances of Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Victoria Symphony, a choreographed production of Orff’s Carmina Burana in collaboration with Ballet Victoria, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, and the Duruflé and Fauré Requiems.

Maestro Pietraroia has recorded a cd with soprano Marie-Josée Lord and l’Orchestre Métropolitain for the ATMA label, which won a Felix award granted by l’ADISQ and was also nominated for a JUNO award.

Giuseppe Pietraroia is the recipient of the George and Jane Heffelfinger Pacific Opera Victoria Artist of the Year Award and the Canada Council’s Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestral Conducting.


Terence Tam, violin

Consistently praised for his intense musicality and impressive technique, Canadian violinist Terence Tam has performed in Canada, the U.S., Australia, Europe and Japan as a recitalist and chamber musician. Currently concertmaster of the Victoria Symphony, he also previously held this prestigious position with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia and Symphony Nova Scotia in Canada. Tam has appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestras in Canada including those in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax.  An active chamber musician, Tam’s performances have taken him to many festivals including those presented by the  Montreal Symphony, Sitka, Pender Harbour, Sarasota, Ravinia, Meadowmount, Banff, Aspen, Encore, Hamptons, Scotiafest, Sweetwater, Music in the Morning and La Conner music festivals. Tam made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1994 and his Paris concerto debut in 2000 playing the Ligeti Violin Concerto with the Academy of 20th Century Music Orchestra.  His CD recording of composer Wim Zwaag’s Violin Concerto with the Victoria Symphony was chosen as one of CBC In Concert’s best classical recordings of 2011.

Mr. Tam’s musical studies took place at Toronto’s Glenn Gould School, Baltimore’s Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University and Berlin’s Hanns Eisler Music School in Germany.


Christi Meyers, violin

An accomplished performer on both modern and baroque violin, Christi Meyers has played a prominent role in the musical life of Victoria for more than 20 years. She has been Assistant Concertmaster of the Victoria Symphony since 2001, and has appeared frequently as soloist with the orchestra, most recently in March 2022 playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for Ballet Victoria, and this past summer in Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2 & 5.

She is a founding member of the period performance ensemble, Victoria Baroque, is a member of Vancouver’s Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and annually plays in chamber music concerts for Early Music Vancouver. She has also been the first violinist of the Odyssey String Quartet since its inception in 2002.

In 2011, while on sabbatical in the Netherlands, she was Assistant Concertmaster of Sinfonia Rotterdam (NL) and a member of European Camerata (UK).

Over the past 3 decades Christi has played in major halls all over Canada, and in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, Britain, Columbia, Mexico, and the USA. She has shared the stage with artists ranging from Michael Buble to Pavarotti to Yo-Yo Ma.

A dedicated educator, she has been on faculty at the University of Victoria, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and had a long association as a violin coach with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra.

In 2021 she became the Artistic Director of Township Classics, an Esquimalt based chamber music concert series that funds the Youth Mentorship Program, an initiative providing scholarships, mentoring, and concert opportunities for talented musical teens from the public school system in the greater Victoria area.

Born in Montreal and raised in northern Alberta, Christi holds music performance degrees from McGill and Western Universities, under the tutelage of Gwen Thompson-Robinow and Sonia Jelinkova.

She is married to a great guy, and is the mom of two young adults and one ginger cat with attitude.


Tori Gould, violin

With solo performances ranging from Bach and Mozart to Schnittke, violinist Tori Gould has consistently distinguished herself as an exuberant and varied performer and instructor. In 2006 she joined the Victoria Symphony Orchestra as Principal Second Violin; she has also held the position of Assistant Principal Second Violin with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and has regularly performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Tori maintains a passion for chamber music, and has been part of the Odyssey String Quartet since 2007. She has collaborated with ensembles across North America including The Galiano Ensemble, Via Salzburg, Metamorphosen, and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, and has shared the stage with the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

Ms. Gould performed to critical acclaim in the realm of contemporary music as part of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, with concerts both in the United States and as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

An instructor highly sought after, Tori currently teaches violin and chamber music at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and coaches the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra; she has also been invited to teach at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, Laporte 6th Grade Campus in Texas, and frequently acts as a mentor at the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. Born in Grimsby, Ontario, Tori began violin at the age of 9 and continued at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of David Zafer and Mayumi Seiler. Ms. Gould is a graduate of Rice University where she studied with Kathleen Winkler.


Victoria Children’s Choir

The Victoria Children’s Choir is one of the top choral and music organizations in Canada. Under the leadership of an outstanding artistic team, our choristers are exposed to the highest standards of music education, encompassing vocal technique, musicianship and performance opportunities, for a full immersion in the transformative world of choral music.

In a unique and supportive environment, 140 choristers aged 7–20 from throughout Greater Victoria study and perform an array of contemporary and classical repertoire from around the world. Currently in our 22nd season, our choirs have toured internationally, winning first place at the prestigious Summa Cum Laude International Music Festival in Vienna, singing for thousands in Holland at the 75th Anniversary of the Dutch liberation, and celebrating Canada’s 150 birthday by performing throughout the Maritimes in our Sea to Sea Tour.

The Victoria Children’s Choir is proud to regularly collaborate with renowned musicians, including the Victoria Symphony, Pacific Opera Victoria, The Tenors, Fretwork, and Victoria Baroque.


Christ Church Cathedral – Young Choristers

For 150 years, Christ Church Cathedral has been a centre of sacred choral and instrumental music, ranking among Victoria’s most important musical institutions. The Young Chorister Program, founded in 2017 through a partnership between Christ Church Cathedral and The Cathedral School, is the only school-based, fully immersive Anglican Cathedral Chorister program of its kind in Canada, and one of only a handful in North America.

The Young Choristers have toured internationally (including singing services at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey in London) and appeared on CHEK TV locally. They regularly sing with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the Victoria Symphony in addition to their regular round of weekly services. The singers, all of whom receive a scholarship to attend the Cathedral School, rehearse four mornings a week and receive subsidized piano lessons during the school day thanks to a grant from the NRS Fund at the Victoria Foundation. In 2021, the St Cecilia Fund was established by Marilyn and Dr Barry Gough and provides tuition assistance to chorister families demonstrating financial need. Choristers begin their journey in grade 4 and develop through the program until graduation in grade 8.

The mission of this demanding program is:

  • To provide choristers with an outstanding, fully immersive musical education.
  • To create an environment conducive to learning the art and language of music; where effort and achievement is recognized and rewarded.
  • To cultivate sensitivity, curiosity, and a passion for discovery in each chorister.
  • To foster the spirit of mentorship between older and younger choristers.
  • To give children the experience of preparing and offering sacred choral music at a high standard; to impart an understanding of music’s capacity to elevate the senses, stimulate the intellect and enliven our worship.
  • To share the best of what the Cathedral has with the wider community – a timeless, living Anglican choral tradition that enriches our lives.

Most Wednesdays at 5 o’clock during school term, you can hear them sing a short service called “Choral Evensong.” This service, which dates from the sixteenth century, is almost entirely sung by the choir, and is free to the public.


Vox Humana

Vox Humana (Latin for human voice) is the name given to the organ stop that tries to emulate certain qualities of the singing voice. It is appropriate, then, that the name was first given to our choir by an organist and choral conductor, Sarah MacDonald. Now a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Director of Music of the choir there, Sarah gave Vox Humana its name and its start as a project choir in Victoria in the 1990s, in the hope that someone would continue the choir once she left her native Canada. That continuation started in 2002, when Garth MacPhee, then Director of Music of the Church of Saint John the Divine, produced the first season of concerts under the name Vox Humana. From 2004-2010, the group was led by soprano and conductor Wendy McMillan, from 2010 to 2020 by Brian Wismath, and since 2022 by current Artistic Director David Stratkauskas.

Vox Humana has gone from a relatively small group of no more than sixteen voices singing a cappella repertoire to a group of approximately twenty-four singers that frequently collaborates with soloists, small groups of instruments, other choirs, and full orchestras. Since 2004 they have been frequent guests of the Victoria Symphony. Their first two appearances were on the symphony’s very popular Christmas Pops programme, where they showed their versatility in performing everything from Praetorius to Britten to popular Christmas standards. Their collaborations with the symphony continued to include works such as Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Benjamin Britten’s powerful War Requiem, where Vox appeared alongside the Victoria Choral Society. The Victoria Symphony has also included Vox as a partner ensemble in two of their New Music Festivals; Vox presented its own programmes as part of the festival in 2014, featuring the music of Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, and in 2015, featuring the music of Irish composer Gerald Barry.

New music has taken a more central place in Vox’s repertoire; the group now commissions works annually from both recognized and emerging Canadian composers. Their most recent commission in 2015 was from Vancouver-based composer Rodney Sharman, a setting of a text by Oscar Wilde called Requiescat. Each of Vox’s programmes now include either a world premiere or a Canadian/BC/Victoria premiere. These premieres not only include brand new music, but also music that has been firmly established in the repertoires of other choral communities but not yet heard in Canada.

Vox released its first CD in September 2011, entitled Summer Rain. The title track is a composition by Estonian composer Toivo Tulev. The remainder of the CD features the music of Canadian composer Jeff Enns, and French composer César Geoffray.

Currently, Vox produces six to eight programmes per season. Two of these have become popular annual traditions. The first concert of the season, Vox in the Stars, takes place in one of Victoria’s most beautiful settings, the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, high atop Observatory Hill in Saanich, BC. The choir sings inside the large steel-structured dome that houses the famous Plaskett Telescope. As the sun sets, the choir sings under the open roof of the dome with the heavens in full view. The other event that has become an annual tradition is A Child’s Christmas in Wales, a concert of seasonal music centered on a dramatic reading of Dylan Thomas’s beloved childhood recollection. In addition to traditional Christmas favourites, Vox has commissioned brand new carols and arrangements from local composers for inclusion on this programme.


Grace Budoloski

Born and raised in Winnipeg Manitoba, Grace Budoloski is establishing herself as an up-and-coming Canadian performer. Grace is especially proud to have recently completed her final graduating voice recital at the University of Victoria under the tutelage of Benjamin Butterfield. Grace is a recipient of the Annamaria Bamji Award for Emerging Opera Singers granted by the Pacific Opera Victoria, and she is looking forward to graduating with her Masters of Music this upcoming June. Additional credits include Kaylee in the Canadian Premiere of The Prom! (Dry Cold Productions) appearing as a featured performer for the Camber Arts Festival in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, Meg Giry in Phantom of the Opera (Opera on the Avalon), and Young Elena in Butcher (Prairie Theatre Exchange).

Grace is an alumna of the University of Manitoba (B.Mus/studio of Donna Fletcher), Orford Music, and Opera Nuova. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to study with renowned musicians such as Tracy Dahl, John Fanning, Monica Huisman, Dr. Laura Loewen, and Dr. Kinza Tyrrell.

MARCH 17, 2024


There’s a lot to unpack in this gala concert, which honours the Easter season with a selection of mostly liturgical music, but at its heart is something that is also at the heart of any orchestra: collaboration. Collaboration writ both large and small, in fact: we have three distinct choirs joining forces with the Victoria Symphony to produce an immense and uplifting sound, but we also have the intimately intertwining lines of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto for 3 violins in D major, a work in which orchestra and soloists work so closely together that no conductor is necessary.

For this Bach masterpiece, however, as well as for the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s similarly inspired Fratres, the musicians will simply follow the lead of VS concertmaster Terence Tam. It’s another welcome challenge for the violinist, who will have already stared down the immense technical and physical challenges of Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor by the time March comes around.

“It’s me, in lieu of a conductor, essentially,” Tam explains. “Besides physically playing the violin and leading during rehearsals, the bulk of the ideas—the tempi, the dynamics, the interpretation—will be led by me, with welcome input from other members of the orchestra.”

Tam’s chief conspirators in the Concerto for 3 Violins are his fellow orchestra members Christi Meyers and Tori Gould. That they’ve already grown accustomed to him as concertmaster and soloist is an asset, but no matter how familiar Bach’s music has become, it will still require considerable analysis and exploration.

“If all works out I would meet or at the very least discuss the score with the other two soloists,” Tam explains. “Ideally, we’d meet at least once beforehand, and play together the parts that we play together—because there will be many places where we’ll just be playing, literally, solo violin. And then we’ll coordinate what we want to do in terms of dynamics and tempi, so that we don’t show up at the rehearsal and one person’s going ‘Oh, I thought we were going to do it this way!’ So we’ll communicate, ideally in person, before we rehearse with the orchestra, and then we’ll pretty much be on the same page. It’ll go much more smoothly then.

“There’s tons of counterpoint,” he adds. “In the orchestra there’s violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, and bass, so that’s five instruments with essentially five different lines. And then we’ve got the three soloists, so that’s eight possible lines. But that’s still much more manageable than when you get to bigger symphonies. Things get much more complicated.”

Tam also explains that the role of concertmaster evolved from the Baroque performance practice of having either the first violinist or a keyboard player lead the band. “That couldn’t be done with a Mahler symphony with a hundred people on-stage, you know!” he notes. “When we’re talking about the Baroque pieces, 20 people on stage is a large number. You might have a smattering of wind players, but a lot of these pieces are written just for strings. But as the orchestra gets bigger into the Classical period, the Romantic period, you go on to double winds and brass and there’s more and more complex writing, rhythmically and harmonically. It gets much more difficult for the person who’s playing to actually lead these things.”

Adding several dozen singers will, obviously, complicate matters even further. When the Victoria Children’s Choir, the Christ Church Cathedral Choristers, and the Vox Humana Chamber Choir join the Victoria Symphony, however, Tam’s metaphorical baton will be made physical, and it will pass into the capable hands of Giuseppe Pietraroia. The choral specialist, who is conductor-in-residence for both Pacific Opera Victoria and the Victoria Symphony, is one of a number of musical, pedagogical, and managerial leaders who are helping to make Victoria’s classical-music scene among Canada’s most exciting.

In that regard, it should be noted that Bach, Pärt and Vivaldi was largely assembled by Victoria Symphony chief executive officer Matthew White and director of artistic planning Matthew Baird, and while the “outreach” implications of the program are obvious, the aesthetic dimension is no less important. In a concert that is primarily given over to historical pieces, the inclusion of Fratres is a nod to one of the underlying themes of the symphony’s 2023-24 season: the way in which musical forms of the past live on in and enliven the music of the present. Just as the Being Robert Schumann series finds the great German’s music reflected and referenced in new works by Canadian composers Rita Ueda and Cassandra Miller, or the Second Viennese School innovator Anton Webern excerpted Bach’s Musical Offering to create something strange and lovely during the early 20th century, Pärt draws on plainsong and Renaissance polyphony to offer a meditative respite from the otherwise inescapable noise of clashing ideologies, omnipresent media, and our own inner fears of ecological catastrophe.

So it’s fitting that at the conclusion of this program, we return to the ever-present consolation of Bach. His O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht is unquestionably shaped by his own religious beliefs and by the mores of his time, but even unbelievers can’t fail to be moved by its serene beauty, its swelling melody, and its sense of implacable sweetness. Whether we leave this concert to attend church or simply head out to commune with the camas blossoms in Beacon Hill Park, hope springs eternal.

Notes by Alex Varty

Antonio Vivaldi (1678—1741)
Magnificat, RV 610
Et exultavit
Et misericordia
Fecit potentiam
Deposuit potentes
Suscepit Israel
Sicut locutus

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685—1750) 
Concerto for 3 violins in D major, BWV 1064R


Arvo Pärt (1935—)
Fratres for Violin, String Orchestra and Percussion

Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679—1745)
Miserere in C minor, ZWV 57
Miserere I: Adagio
Miserere II: Andante ma non troppo
Gloria Patri I: Larghetto ma non troppo
Gloria Patri II: Largo
Sicut Erat: Andante ma non troppo
Miserere III: Adagio

J.S. Bach (1685—1750)
Cantata No.118 – O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht

BACH: Concerto for 3 violins in D major
Performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment


March 17
starts at 2:30 pm


Victoria Symphony


Farquhar at UVic
University Farquhar Auditorium, Ring Road
Victoria, BC V8P 5C2 Canada
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Concert Programme

  • Vivaldi
  • J.S. Bach
    Concerto for 3 violins in D major
  • Arvo Pärt
    Fratres for Violin, String Orchestra and Percussion
  • Zelenka
  • J.S. Bach
    O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht