The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra presents its first streaming concert, a performance by Voces Intimae, a new string quartet based in Greater Victoria.
On October 5 at 7:30 pm, SPO will release on its website the video of the quartet’s first concert, a performance of Edvard Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor and selections from one of Grieg’s most well-known pieces, the Peer Gynt suite.
The Voces Intimae quartet features SPO conductor Yariv Aloni on viola; Pamela Highbaugh-Aloni on cello; and David Stewart and Paule Préfontaine on violin. (Bios follow the release.)
Stewart and Préfontaine have recently moved to British Columbia from Norway, which is “why we chose to perform pieces by Grieg, one of Norway’s most esteemed composers,” Aloni says. “We thought it was a fitting way to welcome David and Paule to the region and introduce our community of supporters to two wonderful talents.”
The concert will be recorded live in front of a small, socially distanced audience, at Sooke’s Holy Trinity Church. The video will be professionally recorded and edited by Lumera Productions, then made available on www.sookephil.ca.
The quartet performance is part of the Nelson Chamber Series, named for SPO founding conductor Norman Nelson. It marks the first time SPO has released videos of its concerts to the public. In November, SPO will release a second video featuring three small ensembles from the SPO.
“Throughout COVID, our audiences have missed our performances, and our players have missed playing together,” says Kathleen Campbell, president of the SPO board. “We have developed safety protocols allowing us to rehearse and make music together in small groups of around 12 players.”
The November concert will also be made available online on the SPO website and will feature music by Elgar and Vaughan Williams.
Audiences watching the videos are encouraged to make a donation to the SPO. Voces Intimae is donating their performance so all donations will support the SPO. Contributions over $25 will receive a tax receipt.
Voces Intimae Player Biographies
DAVID STEWART — VIOLIN
Violinist David Stewart has enjoyed a wide range of experience in the music profession as frequent soloist with orchestra, recitalist, chamber musician, studio musician, baroque violinist, concertmaster, university professor (University of Ottawa and the University of Manitoba), conductor, and as first violin of the Quatuor Lumiere, a classical period-instrument quartet.
Recently he served as first concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway; he re-won his position after a 20-year absence.
He has been a leader in several orchestras, starting out as assistant concertmaster of the Victoria Symphony, concertmaster of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and a mentor/apprentice concertmaster of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. He has worked as a guest concertmaster in several orchestras including the Hanover Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Trondheim Symphony, the Norwegian Opera Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Vancouver Symphony and the Canadian Opera Company, and he is regularly a guest concertmaster with the Porto National Symphony in Portugal.
His passion for excellence in orchestral playing had led to many engagements as conductor/coach for youth orchestras around the world: multi-year engagements with the Deutsch-Skandinavische Jugend Philharmonic in Berlin, the Orchestra de la Francophonie in Montreal, and the Copenhagen Youth Orchestra. As well, he has toured China fourteen times as conductor and soloist with student ensembles from Canada and Norway.
In the course of his career, David has had the privilege to perform in some of the world’s famous concert venues including Carnegie Hall (NYC), Royal Albert Hall (London Proms), La Seine Musicale (Paris), Usher Hall (Edinburgh Festival), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Barbican Centre (London), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and the Musickverein (Vienna).
His teachers included Oscar Shumsky, Steven Staryk and Camilla Wicks. David is a co-founder of the Lumiere Quartet, the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival and the Norwegian Contemporary music ensemble BIT-20.
PAULE PREFONTAINE — VIOLIN
Paule Préfontaine has a musical career spanning 35 years that has taken her to many different countries. Presently, she is playing in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Bergen, Norway, since 2011. In 1988 to 1993, she was assistant concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic. She has been a guest principal second violin and associate concertmaster in the Porto Symphony Orchestra in Portugal. She has also played in the Oslo Philharmonic and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.
She played regularly in the National Arts Centre Orchestra from 2002 to 2014 and participated in many tours with NACO. While living in Ottawa, she was a member of 13 Strings (principal second) and guest concertmaster of the Ottawa Symphony from 2007 to 2014. In addition she was concertmaster of the Hull Chamber Orchestra.
As a pedagogue, Paule was adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa for more than 10 years. She was a string coach for the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy for more than eight years, directing the summer academy program.
Paule also has expertise in baroque period performance practise. She was a full time member of Tafelmusik in Toronto and performed with Arion Ensemble in Montreal, Les Violons du Roy in Québec City, the Bergen Barokk Ensemble, Stavanger Barokk Ensemble in Norway, and she was concertmaster of the Musikbarok Ensemble in Winnipeg. She was also a founding member of the Ottawa Baroque Consort.
Paule has been a violin pedagogue in music summer academies such as the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Orford Music Academy, Summer Music on the Shannon, in Ennis, Limerick and Galway, Ireland and the Courtenay Youth Music Centre in Courtenay, B.C.
She has been an active chamber musician, performing in the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Music and Beyond, first violin of the Prisme Ensemble (Gatineau), Sysman Suvisoitto (Finland), Bergen ammermusikk (Norway) and the Georgian House series in Limerick, Ireland. Paule is also a founding member of the Quatuor Lumière.
YARIV ALONI — VIOLA
Yariv Aloni has received praise for conducting “impassioned, inspiring” and “magnificently right” interpretations of major orchestral and choral repertoire. Reviewers also describe him as “a musician of considerable insight and impeccable taste”.
He is the music director of the Galiano Ensemble of Victoria, the Victoria Chamber Orchestra and the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, and his guest appearances include the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the West Coast Symphony in Vancouver, the Civic Orchestra of Victoria, the Victoria Choral Society and PRIMA Youth Choir.
Also a violist, Aloni is acclaimed by critics for his “impeccable technical accomplishments, exquisite phrasing and superb viola playing,” and as having “a huge singing tone and a rare depth and nobility of feeling.”
He was a finalist at the François Shapira competition in Tel-Aviv. His awards include the Israel Broadcasting Authority award for chamber music performance and numerous awards and annual scholarships from the American-Israel Cultural foundation. As the violist of both the Aviv and the Penderecki string quartets, he has performed in many concert halls around the world including Lincoln Centre in New York, the Louvre in Paris, Tonhalle in Zurich, and numerous concert halls in Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, Holland, Mexico, France, Poland and many more. In 1985 he was invited to join Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman to play a gala concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Mr. Aloni recorded for the United, Marquise, Tritonus and CBC labels as well as independent CD labels. He appears regularly with the Vetta Ensemble in Vancouver and performs in numerous chamber music festivals and recitals series.
An avid and dedicated teacher he is teaching chamber music at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. He is a former faculty member of Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario and has given master classes at the University of British Columbia, Brandon University, University of Alberta in Edmonton and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. In 1994 he became a faculty member and subsequently, from 1999 to 2007 the artistic director and conductor of the Courtenay Youth Music Centre in the Comox Valley, BC.
Born on a kibbutz in Israel, Yariv Aloni began studying the violin at the age of eight and turned to the viola when he was sixteen. He studied viola with David Chen at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, Daniel Benyamini, principal violist of the Israel Philharmonic and Michael Tree and the Guarneri String Quartet. With an emphasis on chamber music he also studied at the
Jerusalem Music Centre with distinguished visiting faculty from around the world including the Isaac Stern, the Amadeus and the Guarneri String Quartets, and many others. He studied conducting under the tutelage of the Hungarian conductor János Sándor, former music director of the Budapest State Opera, the Györ Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Pecs.
PAMELA HIGHBAUGH-ALONI — CELLO
Praised for her “meltingly beautiful solos” (The Detroit News) and performances of “depth and insight” (Times Colonist), Pamela Highbaugh-Aloni is a co-founding member of the prize-winning Lafayette String Quartet.
Since 1991, Pamela along with her quartet colleagues has been an Artist in Residence at UVic, where she teaches cello, chamber music and co-supervises the strings mentoring course in collaboration with School District 61. She and the LSQ maintain their leadership in one of the strongest university string programs in Canada. The Lafayette quartet celebrated 25 years of musical life together in 2011. Highlights of these years include a celebration of the millennium performing all sixteen of Beethoven’s string quartets, tours in North America and Europe, and the initiation of the Lafayette Health Awareness Forum. Recordings include a recent title “Tre Vecchi Amici” featuring works written for the quartet. Their CBC recording “Death and the Maiden” was awarded “Outstanding Classical Recording of the Year” by the Western Canada Music Awards.
A native of California, Pamela served as principal cellist with the Detroit’s Renaissance City Chamber Players. She was a Ford Motor Company Artist in Residence at the Center for Creative Studies Institute of Music and Dance and a faculty member at Oakland University. She earned her BMus and MMus degrees from California State University, Northridge and Indiana University. Her principal teachers include Peter Rejto, Janos Starker and Paul Katz.
An enthusiast teacher, Ms. Highbaugh Aloni served for ten years on the faculty at the Courtenay Youth Music School and Festival and for the past six years has been the coach for the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra cello section. She has performed both as a soloist and recitalist and has been a guest artist with the Sooke Philharmonic, Vetta Ensemble of Vancouver, Victoria Summer Festival, Eine Kleine Summer Music, Chamber Music San Juan, and the Victoria Symphony’s Summer Cathedral Series, and has served as principal cellist with the Galiano Ensemble since its inaugural season in 2000. Pamela plays on a George Craske cello made in England, 1850.