Virtuoso Maurice Steger returns to dazzle us in a program inspired by La Serenissima, featuring the most famous of Venetian composers. A fascinating work by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa comparing his own music to calligraphy will also be presented, with each note “painted on a canvas of silence.”
Conductors and soloists
Maurice StegerRecorder and conductor
The “Paganini [of the recorder],” “magician of the recorder,” and “the world’s leading recorder player”—these are just a few of the descriptions of Maurice Steger to appear in the press. To live up to such high praise, one requires not only astonishing technique, but also charisma, intellect, and a special sensitivity for music.
As a soloist, conductor, or both at once, he regularly performs with the foremost period instrument ensembles, including the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, La Cetra, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, the English Concert, Les Violons du Roy, and I Barocchisti. He also performs with leading modern orchestras such as the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Berlin Baroque Soloists (Berlin Philharmonic), and the NDR Radiophilharmonie.
Chamber music is at the forefront of Maurice Steger’s rich and varied artistic endeavours. Working with fellow musicians and friends such as Hille Perl, Avi Avital, Daniele Caminiti, Lee Santana, Naoki Kitaya, Mauro Valli, Sebastian Wienand, Fiorenza de Donatis, Diego Fasolis, Sol Gabetta, and the young French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, he explores a continuously updated repertoire of Early music.
As a concert artist, teacher, and juror in Europe and throughout the world, Maurice Steger loves meeting people from different cultures and being exposed to other interpretive approaches and ways of working. Tours of Asia and Australia have led to performances with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Taipei Symphony, among others. He was the first recorder player from the West to perform with the Traditional Taipei Chinese Orchestra. He also regularly performs in North and South America.
Maurice Steger is deeply committed to musical education. He has been the director of the Gstaad Baroque Academy at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad since 2013, gives numerous masterclasses, and invented a character, “Tino Flautino,” to help young children engage with classical music in a playful way.
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.
Pascale Gagnon plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, Paris, Guarneri model, 1850 violin, and uses an Émile-François Ouchard, (father), ca. 1930 bow, 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.
Concerto a cinque in G Major, Op. 10 No. 4
• Concerto for Two Violins and Cello in D Minor, Op. 3 No. 11, RV 565 from L’Estro armonico
• Concerto for Violin, RV 375 (transcription for flute)
• Concerto for Alto Flute in G Minor, Op. 10 No. 2, RV 439 “La Notte”
• Concerto for Flute in D Major, Op. 10 No. 3, RV 428 “Il gardellino”
Concerto grosso in C Minor, Op. 1 No. 11
Excerpt from Singing Garden in Venice for Baroque Orchestra
Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 1 No. 4