Lute player Nigel North is the guest performer on Oct. 30 at a concert in Abbotsford with the ensemble Les Voix humaines. Photo by Shannon Zahnle

Valley Concert Society opens season with ensemble of viol players

Concert on Oct. 30 in Abbotsford features instrument similar to a cello

The Valley Concert Society opens its 37th season on Wednesday, Oct. 30 with the award-winning ensemble Les Voix humaines and their guest, British lutenist Nigel North.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way. A pre-concert talk in the lobby begins at 6:50 p.m.

Les Voix humaines, a consort of viols from Montreal, was founded by Margaret Little and Susie Napper, both legendary in the early-music scene.

Les Voix humaines

The group has grown to five performers for this program, each of whom plays the viol, also known as a viola da gamba, an instrument that resembles a cello but has some key differences.

The program features John Dowland’s greatest work Lachrimae, also known as Seaven Teares. It consists of music for pavans and other early dances such as galiards and allemands.

Dowland, a contemporary of Shakespeare, was considered the greatest lutenist of his day. He composed this work after having left England while serving in the court of King Christian of Denmark.

Nigel North is a professor and performer on the lute. He is an international authority on plucked instruments and has written what is considered to be the standard text on continuo playing on the lute.

The ensemble of players will pair this very early work with a new composition for early instruments. Stacey Brown, a native of Kamloops, was commissioned to write an original work for this program.

Tickets are $28 for adults and $15 for students. They are available online at valleyconcertsociety.com. Call 604-289-3377 for more information.

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