Les Voix Humaines – Consort of viols
Margaret Little, Mélisande Corriveau, Felix Deak, Susie Napper – violas da gamba
Suzie Leblanc - soprano
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Les Voix humaines and renowned soprano Suzie Leblanc revisit immortal standards by Henry Purcell, Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Passionate poems of life, love and loss put to music by the stars of the 17th – 20th centuries speak to today’s audiences inspiring both laughter and tears! This hit-parade of popular songs is melded together by the magic of Susie Napper and Margaret Little and the sumptuous sound of four viols.
Susie Napper and Margaret Little, the founders of Les Voix Humaines are regularly joined by some of Montreal’s finest young gambists to form Les Voix humaines Consort of Viols, specializing in the vast 17th-century repertoire for viol consort. The regular quartet consists of Margaret Little, Mélisande Corriveau, Felix Deak and Susie Napper. Their recent recording of J. S. Bach's Art of the Fugue will be available in stores in May 2013. The Voix humaines Consort of Viols got together for the first time for a performance of John Dowland’s famous “Lachrimae” in 2004. Since then the consort has given some fifty concerts in Quebec and Canada and made its first appearance in France at the prestigious Festival de Sablé in 2010. The Consort is invited to play three different programs at the Poznan Baroque Festival (Poland) in November 2013. Les Voix humaines Consort of Viols is the only permanent viol consort in Canada.
Suzie LeBlanc - soprano
Acadian-born Suzie LeBlanc has established an international career specializing in 17th and 18th century repertoire, French mélodies and Acadian traditional music. Critically acclaimed by the international press for her luminous presence, vocal magic and impeccable phrasing, she enjoys performing a wide range of musical styles and her discography of over 50 CDs ranges from the 12th to the 21st century.
She can be seen in the music documentaries More than a Thousand Kisses and Suzie LeBlanc and a Man named Quantz, both for Prometheus Productions, and more recently in Suzie LeBlanc: A Musical Quest, directed by Donald Winkler. She also played the lead character in the feature film Lost Song, directed by Rodrigue Jean, which won the City TV’s Best Canadian Feature Film Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008.
Artistic director and co-founder of Le nouvel Opéra (Montréal) with music director Alexander Weimann, she now lives in Montreal and teaches baroque singing at the Faculty of Music of the University of Montreal.
In May 2008, Suzie LeBlanc was awarded an honorary doctorate from King’s College University in Halifax for her artistic achievements.
Les Voix Humaines - The musical complicity of Susie Napper and Margaret Little has been compared to the skill of two trapeze artists or the telepathic communion of a pair of jazz saxophonists! Susie Napper and Margaret Little, the two gambists of Les Voix humaines, have been thrilling audiences worldwide with dashing performances of early and contemporary music for viols since 1985. They are renowned for their spectacular arrangements of a wide variety of music for two viols and have become a world reference for the music of Sainte-Colombe. They received the Opus Award 2007 for PERFORMERS OF THE YEAR from the Conseil québécois de la musique.
They have recorded some forty discs which have received critical acclaim and prestigious awards. They include the complete Poeticall Musicke of Tobias Hume, The 4 Seasons of Christopher Simpson, the complete Le Nymphe di Rheno of Johannes Schenck, several discs with soprano Suzie LeBlanc and countertenor Daniel Taylor, a Telemann disc with renowned Belgian flutist Barthold Kuijken, a Marais disc with world famous gambist Wieland Kuijken and Purcell's complete Fantasias for viols. Their recording of the complete Concerts a deux violes esgales by Sainte-Colombe (4 double CDs) is a world premiere, and the fourth volume was awarded a DIAPASON D'OR. Les Voix humaines record for the ATMA label.
The duo has toured in North America, Mexico, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, China and Japan, performing in prestigious festivals such as Early Music Vancouver, the Festival Internacional Cervantino, the Brighton International Music Festival, the Festival Oude Musiek, Holland, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Summer Festivities of Early Music in Prague and the Israel Festival.
Margaret Little was born and raised in Montreal in a musical family, playing violin, piano, recorder and guitar as a child. She discovered the viola da gamba at the age of eleven at the CAMMAC Music Centre and fell in love instantly with the instrument and early music repertoire. After studying science and then visual arts, she came back to music and the viol in her early twenties.
Margaret has been performing since 1975 as a soloist and a chamber musician on the viola da gamba and baroque viola with various groups including the Studio de Musique ancienne de Montréal, Les Idées Heureuses, Arion, Musica Divina, and she founded the viola da gamba duo "Les Voix humaines" with Susie Napper in 1985. She also loves to perform as a duo with Sylvain Bergeron, lutenist.
She has been invited to play with many early music groups as a gambist and baroque violist and has toured in North America, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. She has recorded over 90 CDs and her first solo CD “Senza Continuo” was nominated for an Opus Award.
Margaret Little has been teaching the viola da gamba and baroque ensembles at the Université de Montréal since 1992 and has taught many young talented professional viol players.
Instrument – Bernard Prunier and Judith Kraft, Paris, 1982, after Colichon
Susie Napper - Cellist and gambist
Susie Napper is known for her colourful, even controversial performances of both solo and chamber repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. Having spent her childhood in an artistic milieu in London, in her late teens she moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School, then to the Paris Conservatoire. San Francisco followed, where, after a foray into contemporary music, she co-founded and directed the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Since then she has spent two decades with a foot on either side of the Atlantic as principal cellist with several groups including Stradivaria in France, the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal and Les Boréades in Montreal, and the Trinity Consort of Portland. Her concert tours have taken her as far afield as the Far East, the Middle East, as well as most European countries. Susie Napper teaches at McGill University, and founded the Festival international Montréal Baroque which is presented in Montreal in June since 2001. She was awarded the «Prix Opus» 2002 for «Personality of the year» by the Conseil québécois de la musique.
Her recordings, which include most of the known repertoire for two viols, can be heard on Harmonia Mundi, EMI, Erato, ADDA, CBC Records, Naxos, and most notably on the ATMA label. But her true vocation is not on the concert stage or the recording studio. The kitchen is the center of her domain, where she creates dishes both colorful and controversial for her own pleasure as well as that of her guests
Instrument : Barak Norman, London, 1703
Having brilliantly completed an undergraduate degree in recorder in the Faculty of Music at the University of Montreal, in the class of Francis Colpron, Mélisande Corriveau is now establishing a solid reputation on the viola da gamba, an instrument she plays with as much intelligence as virtuosity. She also studied modern cello with Denis Brott (CMM), plays baroque cello, and is currently doing a Masters degree in viola da gamba with Margaret Little at UdeM. Originally from the Montérégie region of Quebec, she has performed locally and internationally with well-known groups such as Les Voix humaines, the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Les Idées heureuses, Les Boréades, Les Voix baroques, La Chapelle de Montréal, Masques (of which she is a regular member), and Capriccio Stravagante (Paris). She performed for the 2003 and 2004 editions of Festival Montréal baroque, can be heard on Radio-Canada / CBC, and has recorded several CDs.
An alert and sensitive musician, Mélisande Corriveau plays with intelligence and enthusiasm, sharing her passion of music with her appreciative audience.
As well as being a founding member of I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble, cellist/gambist Felix Deak showcases his career as a freelance musician with orchestras and chamber ensembles, including Toronto's Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and Montreal's Les Voix Humaines. Felix instructs orchestral classes and private students in and around Toronto. He can be heard on CBC Radio Two in performances, and has made recordings for various labels at home and abroad.