Concert Postponed Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

Benefit Concert for the Music Programs of Notre-Dame de Paris
Presented by the Ancient Music Society of Victoria and 
Christ Church Cathedral of Victoria
April 15, 2020 7:30pm
at Christ Church Cathedral
Admission by donation ($20 suggested donation)


Clayton Jevne


Male Chorus of the St. Christopher Singers

Duo Corvi: Julie Ryning and Katelyn Clark

Solo sopranos: Elizabeth MacIsaac, Gwendolyn Jamieson

Instrumental ensemble: 

Arian Aminalroaya, percussion

Douglas Hensley, lute and gittern

Patricia Unruh, vielle

Stacey Boal, recorder

William Jamieson, shawm and bagpipes

The year is 1179. A young English monk has arrived in Paris to begin his musical studies at the most important centre of learning in Europe. Two edifices are under construction, one of stone, the other of musical scholarship: the great Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and the famous School of Notre-Dame.

The School of Notre-Dame, led by the celebrated figures of Leonin and Pérotin is credited with the early development of polyphony, a musical form that dominated western music for hundreds of years, and continues to influence music of all genres today. This school survives in the form of the Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, a masters program that has carried on without interruption for over 800 years.

Sadly, both the cathedral and its famous music programs are threatened in the aftermath of the catastrophic fire of April 15, 2019. Without the funding that the active cathedral provided, the Maîtrise program is struggling to survive.

As an expression of solidarity with this great musical institution, the Ancient Music Society of Victoria and Christ Church Cathedral are staging a benefit concert on the anniversary of the fire to honor the musical heritage of Notre-Dame de Paris and raise funds to support the cathedral’s threatened music programs.

Interspersed with music from Paris from the 12th and 13th Centuries, the concert will relate the story of our young music scholar as he witnesses the building of the Cathedral while participating in the revolutionary changes to European music taking place in Paris during that time.

The concert will take place in the magnificent setting of Victoria’s own Gothic-inspired cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, on April 15, 2020, at 7:30 pm. Admission is by donation ($20 suggested donation).

More about the Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris

The Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris goes back to the time of the building of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Any first-year university music student instantly recognizes the term "School of Notre Dame" as describing one of the foundational cornerstones of western music. In the late 12th and early 13th Centuries, it was a centre for innovation that transformed the way music was written, notated and performed in the all-important sacred sphere. It marked the beginnings of polyphony, the form of music that combines multiple independent voices simultaneously, that arguably found its apotheosis in the work of J. S. Bach, and that still echoes in modern forms of music like jazz. 

Today, the school serves as a training ground for singers, and provides the musical accompaniment to the activities and services in the Cathedral. . . . or did until the fire. 

Without the revenues that the cathedral generated, the program is fighting for its survival, forced to find alternate facilities, struggling to be able to provide the same high level of instruction and experience to its students. We hope that we can raise some funds and perhaps inspire other organizations to do the same, to help protect this important piece of the musical heritage of the world. Watch the videos below to learn more about the Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris (produced before last year's fire).