Lamèque International Festival of Baroque Music/Festival international de musique baroque de Lamèque

Lamèque International Festival of Baroque Music/Festival international de musique baroque de Lamèque. Annual event that began in 1976, held on June and July weekends, on the island of Lamèque, off the northeast coast of New Brunswick. The idea for the festival came from a 1971 concert in the parish church of Ste-Cécile-de-Petite-Rivière-de-l'Île (built 1913), a building with excellent acoustics where festival concerts continued to be held in 1991. The festival was founded by Matthieu Duguay (a harpsichordist and native of Lamèque) and Gérard Leduc in 1976, and Duguay continued as artistic director in 1991. The complete works for flute and harpsichord by Bach were presented in 1976, and Duguay and François Codère also gave the festival's first masterclasses that year. Other masterclasses have been given by Lorna Glover (baroque violin, 1984) and Marion Verbruggen (recorder, 1991). Guest artists in the early years of the festival included Anne Dugas Horsman (harpsichord) and René Noël (soprano) in 1977, and the US musicians Elijah Potash (gamba) and Robert Hill (harpsichord) in 1978. Due to financial problems, the festival did not take place in 1979, but it reappeared with new energy in 1980, featuring Scott Ross, the Ensemble Forlane de Paris, the Ensemble polyphonique de Québec, organists Pierre and Louise Bouchard, lutenist Sylvain Bergeron, and soprano Vivian LeBlanc. During the 1980s the festival continued to flourish, featuring Canadian and international groups (from Holland, Belgium, France, England, Germany, USA) generally performing on period instruments. Support has come from the Canada Council, the CBC, and local residents. A 1990 gala concert 'Vienna 1820: The Advent of Romanticism' was televised on 'Les Beaux Dimanches' to celebrate the festival's 15th year, with Malcolm Bilson fortepiano, Stanley Ritchie violin, David Miller viola, Myron Lutzke cello, and Michael Willens contrabass. Other noted performers and groups who have appeared include the Toronto Consort, the Eisenstadt Baryton Trio, Musica Antiqua Köln, the Ensemble Nouvelle-France, the Ensemble Claude-Gervaise, the harpsichordists Colin Tilney, Hank Knox, and Blandine Verlet, the singers Suzie LeBlanc, Nigel Rogers, and Danièle Forget, and the Acadian Theatre at Caraquet. The Mission St-Charles Choir, named for the Jesuit mission on the neighbouring island of Miscou, was formed by combining singers from district parishes to respond to the festival's needs. It was directed 1987-90 by Andrew Parrott, and Homero Ribeiro de Magalhaes of France was guest conductor in 1991. The works of Bach have figured prominently at the festival, and the works of other baroque composers - Buxtehude, Couperin, Handel, Purcell, Rameau, and Vivaldi - are regularly performed.