For the 125th anniversary of Brahms’s death, Les Violons du Roy members perform two highlights of his chamber music—the two sublime string quintets with their prominent viola parts. Violist Isaac Chalk joins two string quartets worth of orchestra members in a journey to the heart of musical Romanticism.
A concert in cocktail party format, hosted by the artists, with appetizers and one drink*
General admission and bar service starting at 5 p.m.*
* Public health regulations permitting.
Conductors and soloists
Noëlla Bouchard joined Les Violons du Roy in 1995. Since then, she has played in several hundred concerts, some 30 international tours, and numerous recordings with this chamber orchestra in residence at Palais Montcalm – Maison de la musique in Quebec City.
Noëlla Bouchard began learning the violin at the age of five with Lucille Johnstone and continued her studies at Conservatoire de musique de Montréal from 1982 to 1992 in classes taught by Johanne Arel, Raymond Dessaints, Robert Verebes, Denis Brott, and Raffi Armenian. She earned her first award there in 1992. From 1992 to 1995 she continued to hone her skills with Moshe Hammer in Toronto. In 1994 she was a finalist at the International Stepping Stone Canadian Music Competition in Vancouver. She has participated in a number of workshops at Domaine Forget, Camp musical des Laurentides, and Orford Musique.
In recent years, Noëlla Bouchard has been invited to Concerts du Bic (2016) and the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa (2018) and has played on a recording of André Mathieu’s chamber music with pianist Jean-Michel Dubé (2019).
Pascale Giguère has been a member of Les Violons du Roy since 1995. She was co-concertmaster from 2000 to 2013, and has been concertmaster since 2014. She has performed with the ensemble in some of the world’s leading venues, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Carnegie Hall in New York, and at leading festivals in Canada, the United States and Europe. Pascale Giguère has also taken part in recordings with Les Violons for the labels Dorian, Atma and Virgin Classics.
In recent years, Pascale Giguère has appeared as a soloist with Les Violons du Roy, in particular in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons; the latter work was recorded by Atma and received a Juno award. She has also performed with the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Laval and Orchestre des Grands Ballets Canadiens, with which she played Stravinsky’s Concerto in D, an experience she repeated in December 2006 with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec conducted by Yoav Talmi. In recent seasons she has appeared as a guest soloist at the Domaine Forget international festival and the Parry Sound Festival.
Pascale Giguère studied at the Montréal Conservatory with Raymond Dessaints, obtaining Premier Prix diplomas in violin and chamber music. She has also won several important prizes, including Grand Prize at the CIBC National Music Festival, First Prize at the Orchestre symphonique de Québec competition, and the prestigious Prix d’Europe award in 1993, which allowed her to continue her studies at Boston University with Roman Totenberg, Peter Zazovski and the Muir Quartet.
Pascale was awarded the Canada Council Instrument Bank’s 1700 Bell Giovanni Tononi violin to play from 2006 to 2008. Her current instrument is a Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi violin (Milan, 1745), purchased and generously loaned by Marthe Bourgeois. She also plays a Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù "Lyon & Healy", Cremona, ca. 1738, generously loaned to her by CANIMEX INC. in Drummondville (Quebec).
Pascale Gagnon graduated from the University of Montréal with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees under the direction of Jean-François Rivest, and went to complete training sessions at the Orford Arts Centre, Le Domaine Forget in Saint-Irénée and the Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta.
Pascale Gagnon is a founding member of the Quatuor Bozzini (1994-1997), which won Second Prize in the CIBC National Competition in 1995, and First Prize in the “Debut” series in 1997. The Quartet is well known for its work in the contemporary music field, and in 1996 was invited to take part in the international forum for young composers in collaboration with Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM).
Pascale Gagnon was the concertmaster of the University of Montréal orchestra for the last three years of her student career, and toured in Spain in 1994. As a soloist and chamber musician, she took part in 1997 in two concerts recorded by CBC for the “Jeunes Artistes” series, and has also appeared with various professional ensembles including L’Orchestre Métropolitain, L’Orchestre symphonique de Laval, I Musici, La Pietà and La Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ). Pascale Gagnon has been a member of the chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy since May 2001.
Angélique Duguay has been a member of Les Violons du Roy since 1996. Her studies were at McGill University with Thomas Williams, Richard Roberts and Mauricio Fuks, where she received both a Bachelor of Music and an Artist Diploma.
She began her career performing with Orchestre symphonique de Laval, Les Jeunes Virtuoses de Montréal, and other groups. She was also a member of Opéra Rouen’s Orchestre Léonard de Vinci during a stay in Europe. She continues to make regular appearances with Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Opéra de Montréal, and La Sinfonia de Lanaudière.
She was part of Les Violons du Roy’s Vivica Genaux, airs de Handel et Hasse recording on Virgin Classics and other recordings. She has also taken part in all Les Violons du Roy’s international tours and is much in demand for private recording sessions.
Canadian violist Isaac Chalk has received a rich musical training. In addition to his education as an instrumentalist, Mr. Chalk also worked extensively as a choral singer and attended the Maîtrise des Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal in his earlier years. Mr. Chalk is a graduate of McGill University, where he was a recipient of many awards, including the Lloyd Carr-Harris String Scholarship and the prestigious Golden Violin Award, the largest privately funded music scholarship in Canada.
In February 2011, Mr. Chalk had his Koerner Hall debut performing Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra conducted by Julian Kuerti. Other recent highlights include a tribute concert for the late Italian double bassist and composer Stefano Scodanibbio, in the Solitär of the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In June 2013, he was named principal viola of Les Violons du Roy and since then has performed with the orchestra in their regular series in Quebec City and Montreal as well as at the Lanaudière Festival and on a tour in Europe. Mr. Chalk has been generously supported by the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.
At the age of eleven, Jean-Louis Blouin began to concentrate on the viola. From 1989 to 1993 he studied at the Montréal Conservatory, where he obtained a higher education diploma. He then studied with Jutta Puchhammer at the University of Montréal, where he completed a Master’s degree in interpretation.
Since 1996, Jean-Louis Blouin has been a permanent member of Les Violons du Roy and appears in several of the group’s recordings, including J.S. Bach’s Art of Fugue and Psalm 51. His interest in Baroque music and experience with early instruments has also led to performances with other specialized groups, primarily as a violist but also on the Baroque violin.
Audiences have heard him perform with the Tafelmusik and Aradia ensembles from Toronto, at the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival, and in Quebec with the Montreal Baroque Orchestra; Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal; the Arion, Les Boréades, and La Chamaille ensembles; as well as Masques, with which he produced a recording of Bach concertos for harpsichord on the Analekta label.
Annie Morrier entered Conservatoire de musique de Chicoutimi at age 5. In 1996, she moved to Quebec City to study under François Paradis. During her studies, she played with Orchestre Réseau des Conservatoires, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra, performing in Europe, the U.S., and across Canada. She honed her craft at the Domaine Forget summer academy, studying under renowned teachers such as Gérard Caussé and Bruno Giuranna. In 2001, she performed as a soloist with Orchestre des jeunes du Conservatoire and Orchestre symphonique de Québec. That same year, she graduated from the Conservatory with high distinction.
Annie Morrier has been a member of Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quatuor Cartier, and contemporary music ensemble Erreur de Type 27. In addition to classical and contemporary music, Annie also performs traditional and Latin American music. Since 2005, she has been a permanent member of the Les Violons du Roy chamber orchestra. In 2015, she joined three other Quebec City area musicians and channeled her lifelong passion for chamber music into the group Quatuor Crema.
Raphaël Dubé is no stranger to the concert stage— as an orchestra member, chamber musician, or soloist. As a member of the Les Violons du Roy since 2008, he brings the same intensity to the repertoire of all periods and partakes in a wide variety of musical activities. He has been repeatedly hailed by critics and appeared several times as a soloist with Les Violons du Roy, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and Montreal Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has twice appeared at New York’s Carnegie Hall as a member of the Amity Players Piano Quartet and has released a recording of Brahms’ piano quartets with that ensemble. He can also be heard with harpist Valérie Milot in a chamber music recording on the Analekta label. Recently he appeared as a chamber musician at festivals in Bic and Sackville.
Raphaël Dubé knew from the first that he was destined to be a musician. His main instructors were Monique and Walter Joachim, Carole Sirois, and Timothy Eddy. Before joining Les Violons du Roy, he spent the 2007–2008 season with the New World Symphony.
Raphaël Dubé plays a cello made by Giovanni Grancino c. 1695–1700, generously provided by Canimex Inc. of Drummondville, Quebec.
Principal cello of Les Violons du Roy, Benoît Loiselle also performs as a soloist and chamber musician. He appears regularly at various music festivals and events in Canada, and has played as a guest soloist with many orchestras, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Les Violons du Roy, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and most recently, the Orchestre de la Francophonie canadienne.
In great demand as a collaborator for both concerts and recordings, he has played alongside musicians such as James Ehnes, Anton Kuerti, Olivier Thouin, Stéphane Lemelin, Anne Robert and Luc Beauséjour. In 2002-2003, he took part in the Tournées Desjardins series of Jeunesses Musicales of Canada, performing concerts throughout Eastern Canada with pianist François Zeitouni. Alongside his concert schedule, he teaches cello at the Académie du Domaine Forget.
As a founding member of Trio Hochelaga, Benoît Loiselle performed with the group from 2000 to 2006 in all major canadian venues and on an Asian tour in the fall of 2004. The Trio Hochelaga was the dedicatee of the Triple Concerto by Canadian composer Jacques Hétu, and gave its first performance in 2003.
Benoît Loiselle graduated from the Montréal conservatory as a student of Denis Brott, and went on to study with Antonio Lysy at McGill University. In 1999, he won the Prix d’Europe award offered by L’Académie de Musique du Québec and used it to study in Switzerland with Radu Aldulescu and Alberto Lysy, at the International Menuhin Music Academy and with Camerata Lysy Gstaad.
From 2003 to 2006, Benoît Loiselle played on the McConnell-Gagliano cello loaned by the Instrument Bank of the Canada Arts Council. He currently plays on a beautiful Lamy bow, generously loaned by Canimex.
String Quintet No.1 in F Major, op.88
String Quintet No.2 in G Major, op.111