The Age of Lutes - August 2017

This summer, the Lute Society of America came to Victoria!

In a highly successful event, the Ancient Music Society of Victoria and the Lute Society of America co-sponsored a week-long workshop, which included two public concerts, featuring the faculty for the workshop. 

This was the first time this event has been hosted in Victoria. It drew lute players from all over North America, and as far away as Australia, and featured a faculty of some of the most accomplished lutenists of our time. 

The workshop was located on the campus at UVic, and the concerts held in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. 

We heard very positive comments from the participants of the workshop, and the LSA have decided to return to Victoria for their next West Coast Workshop in two years' time!

The concert was brilliant, featuring different lutes, vihuela and theorbo, performed by four distinguished artists (see below).

Thanks to the CRD Arts Development office for helping to make the concerts possible. Also, thanks to AMSV volunteers who kept things running smoothly, and especially thanks to the Lute Society of America, for bringing their event to Victoria, and making the event a great pleasure for all. 
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of our sponsor, the CRD Arts Development and participating municipalities.


Thursday, August 10

  • Phillip Rukavina performed "Dutch Light", late-Renaissance/early-Baroque Dutch music for the 10-course lute by Nicolas Vallet (1583-1642) from the "Secret of the Muses" (1615-16)
  • Robert Barto performed music on the vihuela da mano by Renaissance composers Luis Milan (c.1500 - c.1561) and Hans Gerle (1552)

Friday, August 11

  • Sylvain Bergeron performed late-Renaissance/early-French Baroque music by Jean-Baptiste Besard from the "Thesaurus Harmonicus" (1603) on an 8-course lute.
  •  Elizabeth Kenny performed "Music Old and New for the Theorbo", featuring music by Piccinini (1566-1638), Robert de Visée (fl. late c17), James Macmillan (b.1959) and Benjamin Olver (b.1981)


Robert Barto

Robert Barto graduated from the University of California, San Diego, having specialised in historical lute performance. A Fulbright scholarship brought him to Europe, where he continued his studies with Michael Schaeffer in Cologne and Eugen Dombois in Basle.

In 1984, he was awarded first prize at the International Lute Competition in Toronto, as well as top prize in a competition of all the instrumental soloists at the Musica Antiqua Competition in Bruges, Belgium.

Robert Barto has performed throughout Europe and North America, including solo recitals in the Festival of Flanders, London's Purcell Room, the Utrecht Festival and 
the "Music Before 1800" event in New York City. In 2000 he gave solo performances at the Lufthansa Baroque Festival in London, Bavarian Radio's Bach Night in Munich and presented a special tribute to Silvius Leopold Weiss for the city of Dresden.

Robert Barto's five volumes of baroque lute sonatas by Silvius Leopold Weiss and 2 CDs of the complete solo works of Joachim Bernhard Hagen have met with great enthusiasm from critics and the public alike.

Sylvain Bergeron

Described as “a supremely refined, elegant, cerebral musician” (Ottawa Citizen), Sylvain Bergeron is a master of the lute and plucked strings family of instruments including theorbo, archlute and baroque guitar. He is in high demand on the North American music scene as a soloist and continuo player.Wholenote Magazine declared, “Sylvain Bergeron is a brilliant musician who weaves an unforgettable aural tapestry.” Bergeron is the co-founder and co- artistic director of La Nef and has been at the helm of many of the Montréal-based ensemble’s award-winning presentations, including Joan the Mad, Perceval, andMontségur.

A native of Québec, Sylvain Bergeron gives almost 100 concerts each season, playing with such high profile companies and ensembles as Les Violons du Roy, the Canadian Opera Company, and Apollo’s Fire. He has also played with such internationally renowned early music icons as Dame Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, and Jordi Savall.

He teaches lute, baroque guitar, theorbo and continuo at McGill University and the University of Montréal.

Elizabeth Kenny

Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (The Independent on Sunday) and “indecently beautiful” (Toronto Post). In twenty years of touring she has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups and experienced many different approaches to music making. She played with Les Arts Florissants 1992-2007 and with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment  Her research interests have led to critically acclaimed recordings of Lawes, Purcell and Dowland, and to the formation of her ensemble Theatre of the Ayre . She regularly collaborates with singers such as Robin Blaze, Ian Bostridge and Nicholas Mulroy, and she has a great fondness for the viol consort repertory. 

As a soloist she is committed to a diverse range of repertoire, from the ML Lutebook (a much-praised CD released on Hyperion records)to new music for lute and theorbo: she has premiered works by James MacMillan and Benjamin Oliver. 

Liz Kenny is a Professor of Musical Performance at the University of Southampton, and professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music. She guest-edited a Dowland themed issue of Early Music, bringing performers and scholars together in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the composer’s birth, in 2013. She was an artistic advisor to the York Early Music Festival from 2011 to 2014.

Phillip Rukavina

Phillip Rukavina performs nationally and internationally as a lute and vihuela soloist, ensemble performer, and as a continuo lutenist. He has appeared at many early music festivals including the Utrecht Early Music Festival (2013) and the Boston Early Music Festival (2015).  Phillip is a founding member of the Venere Lute Quartet and has performed with many prominent ensembles and individuals, including the Newberry Consort, the Rose Ensemble, the Texas Early Music Project, sopranos Dame Emma Kirkby and Ellen Hargis, and many others. 

Phillip has served on the faculty of the Lute Society of America's Summer Seminars  and the Lute Program at the Amherst Early Music Festival. Phillip studied lute with Hopkinson Smith at the Academie Musical in Villecroze, France and in Basel Switzerland.  

In addition to his many ensemble recordings, Phillip has three highly acclaimed solo recordings to his credit, including  his most recent Studio395 release Italian Lute Music 1508-1517 (2015).