IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT WE’RE 20 YEARS OLD!
Camerata Nova started with a few former choirboys from All Saints’ Anglican Church gathered informally around a bowl of pretzels to share a bottle of red wine and sing the Renaissance music of their youth. Who would have thought that the group would eventually morph into a semi-professional mixed chamber ensemble that has become one of the top choirs of Winnipeg? Camerata Nova is now known as the most eclectic and innovative classical vocal group in the city.
1996 – Founded as an a cappella early music group. Started the tradition of free holiday concerts that have since become an integral part of Christmas in Winnipeg.
2003 – Issued our first CD, called Camerata Nova. Since then the group has recorded four CDs (the latest in fall 2013) and a DVD.
2004 – Sold our first subscriptions for the 2014-2015 season.
2005 – Introduced contemporary music programming, performing premieres of two works by Manitoba composers commissioned by Camerata Nova. Since 2006, Camerata Nova has commissioned and premiered more than 40 new works.
2005 – Created the first early music string quartet in Winnipeg, funding the acquisition of gut strings to use with baroque bows. We have subsequently acquired a sackbut and cornetto for loan to encourage local musicians to develop period instrument skills.
2006 – Premièred Wa Wa Tey Wak (Northern Lights), an Aboriginal work by Cree Andrew Balfour, our Artistic Director, with video art by Brian Besant. This was also the first Camerata Nova concert recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio 2. CBC has subsequently broadcast six of our concerts.
2007 – Invited to perform Wa Wa Tey Wak at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival. We are frequently invited to perform at prestigious local events such as the New Music Festival, the WSO’s Indigenous Festival and the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival.
2008 – Assembled three choirs, 8 soloists and 12 period instrumentalists to perform the Praetorius Christmas Mass. This was our first major early music concert with instruments. We have since performed one such concert almost each year, including the full Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 in 2013.
2009 – Andrew Balfour created Falls the Shadow, the first of his “concept concerts.” This takes choral programming to a new level using a rich theme that is expressed through commissioned music, arrangements, rare repertoire and artistic partners. Andrew has created six such concerts to great reviews. Partners have included dancers, actors and ethnic musicians from Winnipeg’s and Canada’s Inuit, Cree, Ojibwa, French, Ukrainian, Chinese, Persian, Icelandic and Jewish communities.
2010 – Camerata Nova was the only choir invited to perform at the gala concert to celebrate Winnipeg as the Cultural Capital of Canada.
2011 – Camerata Nova was the only choir from Manitoba and Saskatchewan invited to perform at the National Art Centre’s Prairie Scene Festival in Ottawa.
2014 – Published Camerata Nova e-Carols 1.0, featuring scores for 14 carol arrangements commissioned by Camerata Nova. Available here.
2015-2016 – Camerata Nova presents its 20th anniversary season!
Over the years, Camerata Nova has collaborated with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Virtuosi Concerts, Canzona, La Nef, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, The Skye Consort and Festival du Voyageur, among others. We have also reached out to other genres including folk, jazz, rock and ethnic artists, Inuit throat singers and electronica composers.