Montreal’s Ensemble Les Boréades performs at this year's Vancouver Bach Festival. Photo by Hugo B Lefort.
Montreal’s Ensemble Les Boréades performs at this year's Vancouver Bach Festival. Photo by Hugo B Lefort.

Early Music Vancouver (EMV) turns fifty and they are celebrating with the return of the Vancouver Bach Festival.

To celebrate its golden anniversary, EMV has assembled a 14-concert festival running July 30 through August 9 at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC.

More than just Bach though, this year’s festival features music from a wide range of composers. Here are five concerts we think are worth checking out:

1. Brandenburg Concertos Part I (Jul 30)

Under the baton of music director Francis Colpron, Montreal’s Ensemble Les Boréades performs the complete Bach concertos over two nights. Considered by many as some of the greatest musical works ever written, in the first of the two performances the ensemble performs concertos No. 2, 4, and 6.

2. Brandenburg Concertos Part II (Jul 31)

In the second of two-parts, Ensemble Les Boréades returns to the Chan Centre to perform concertos No. 1, 3, and 5. The evenings will also include lesser-known orchestral works from the Baroque era.

3. Requiem (Aug 1)

EMV collaborates with the Vancouver Bach Choir for the first time alongside twenty professional choral singers from the Pacific Northwest for a performance of Faure’s Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine. The performance will also feature unaccompanied performances of works by other important French composers.

4. Early Cantatas (Aug 7)

Pacific MusicWorks’ Amanda Forsythe returns to Vancouver under the direction of Stephen Stubbs for a performance of Handel’s Armida Abbandonata, and other works from the 18th century composer.

5. 17th Century Divas (Aug 8)

Sopranos Suzie LeBlanc and Dorothee Mields lend their voices to celebrate Barbara Strozzi’s 400th anniversary with a programme of arias and duets from this 17th century composer.

The 4th annual Vancouver Bach Festival runs July 30 through August 9. Visit earlymusic.bc.ca for tickets and information.