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 (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.