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Friday, June 14, 2024

20 questions with Matthew White

Meet Early Music Vancouver Artistic Director, Matthew White.

This holiday season, Early Music Vancouver (EMV) returns with J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (Dec 21) at UBC’s Chan Centre. For more than 10 years, EMV has presented cantatas each December – showcasing some 35 works in that time. This season EMV presents soloists, a 28-piece Baroque orchestra, and the Early Music Vancouver Vocal Ensemble in three of the six cantatas from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.  Visit for tickets and information.

Meet Matthew White

Before joining Early Music Vancouver as Artistic Director at the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Matthew gained international acclaim as one of Canada’s leading countertenors, and as the founding director of the Quebec-based ensemble Les Voix Baroques. Matthew White was born in 1973 and began singing as a treble with St. Matthew’s Men and Boys Choir in Ottawa. In addition to his current work with EMV, Matthew is the programming director for Montreal’s Les Voix Baroques and is an artistic consultant for the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival. He is both a Juno and Grammy nominated artist.

20 Questions with Matthew White

1. Your first job.

Rickshaw runner and tour guide in Ottawa’s Byward market.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.


3. Your pet peeve.

People whose instinct is “no”.

4. Your hero.

Ricardo Montelban – circa 1975. I am becoming obsessed with re-runs of Fantasy Island on Netflix. It is just impossible for me to believe he is really dead.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

Steak and Kidney pie in bed on a Sunday afternoon followed by two helpings of pie and ice cream.

6. One thing no one knows about you.

I am not telling. My life is otherwise an open book. I am a model of transparency – except for one thing. Did I mention I am not telling?

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.

Marmite, Bach’s St. John Passion and Elle Macpherson, frozen as she appears in “Sirens” from 1994.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.


9. If you were not artistic director of Early Music Vancouver what would you be doing right now?

Singing mid-eighteenth century opera in a well developed falsetto voice while wearing tights and a wig made of real human hair.

10. Hero or villain.


11. Your life’s motto/mantra.


12. Your favourite song.

A tough call – it is between Marvin Gaye singing anything and John Prine. J.S. Bach doesn’t count – he was from space and I am not convinced he was a human. The pyramids and Bach don’t seem plausible somehow.

13. The last book you read.

Music in the Castle of Heaven – John Eliot Gardiner

14. If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be?

Foghorn Leghorn.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

Am I the only one who hates that song “I Did It My Way”?

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

My mom.

17. Your idea of happiness.

Singing the third in the opening chord of the Monteverdi Vespers with a group of musicians who don’t have to talk about tuning.

18.  If you could go back in time, what would you tell your twenty year old self?

Persistence is more important than talent – get over it.

19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.

My daughters – except when they are blowing it.

20. To be or not to be?

Most emphatically – to be.

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