Chamber music festival returns to era of romanticism, mystery

NANAIMO – Two-day event happens downtown Friday and Saturday (Nov. 1-2).

Internationally renowned performers, Sacabuche open the Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival with a signature performance of early Baroque and late Renaissance masterpieces.

Sacabuche , a premiere sackbut and violin ensemble, based at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s Early Music Institute, perform a lesser-known repertoire of baroque trombones, organ and voice. Winners of the 2009 Early Music America Collegium Musicum grant competition, they have headlined standing-room-only events in China and the United States and have been voted and reviewed as presenting flawless performances.

Sacabuche performs Friday (Nov. 1) at 7 p.m.

In its third year, the annual festival, produced by the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, boasts two days of varied chamber performances featuring local and visiting professional musicians this weekend (Nov. 1-2).

“It’s an amazing opportunity, not just for the audience but for the downtown core,” said Alexis Deighton Harrison, marketing and communication for the conservatory, adding that the annual event offers a special experience with an impressive line up of talent.

Under the direction of Pippa Williams, the festival this year promises to transport audiences to an earlier time of romanticism, mystery and vibrant music as well as introduce contemporary compositions.

Saturday’s line up of artists includes, young mezzo-soprano Kristin Hoff. Her voice, heard at many of the world’s most coveted venues, like Carnegie Hall and Boston Pops, has been reviewed as combining both body and beauty. Currently, she is a resident artist with the Vancouver Opera.

Twin Shores Trombone Quartet presents a brass extravaganza showcasing the works of J.S. Bach, and Victoria-based contemporary composer Ian MacDougall.

For the evening performance, under the direction of violinist Karl Rainer, the Sonora String Quartet will bring the audience back to the 21st century with Phillip Glass’ otherworldly String Quartet No. 5.

Rounding out the festivities will be another headliner, Andrew Clark with the Victoria Baroque Players.

Clark who specializes in music from 1600 to 1750 has made several solo recordings and is a past principal horn with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Playing beside his wife, Katrina Russell, the Nanaimo residents, with fellow ensemble players, have created a unique and intriguing German program that includes Bach, Telemann, Pezold and Zachow.

Friday’s performance will take place at St. Andrew’s United Church beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday events will be held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets and weekend passes are available from the Port Theatre box office or online at For information on performers please visit