The Grand Tour Ensemble Masques & Julien Campani, comédien
Olivier Fortin, un portrait - le cosmopolite baroque
Sophie Gent & Tuomo Suni - violins
Kathleen Kajioka - viola
Mélisande Corriveau - violoncello/viola da gamba
Benoît Vanden Bemden- - violone
Olivier Fortin - harpsichord/organ
The international slate of early-music specialists known as Masques is acclaimed for their expressiveness, the eloquence of their interpretations, and the dynamic musical involvement of each member. From the outset, Masques received instant international attention, winning the Grand Prize in the Dorian/Early Music America Competition in 2000, and being selected finalist at the York Early Music Competition in 2001.
The name of the ensemble is inspired by the masques of Elizabethan England — mystical performances that fused poetry, music, dance and drama. The six members of Masques, who hail from Canada, France, Australia, Finland and Belgium, work as a chamber ensemble without conductor. Their uncommon chemistry combines razor sharp ensemble with a spontaneity and freedom that brings to life the inherent theatricality of 17th and 18th century repertoire.
Recent tours have taken Masques across Europe, where appearances have included in Belgium, France (a.o. Saintes), Spain, the Netherlands (Utrecht Festival), Austria, Germany, and in the UK at London’s Wigmore Hall.
Masques latest album (2016) is dedicated to celebrate G PH Telemann next year and has again been received with raving press quotes in the international press. Previously, they had recorded an unknown Austrian composer, Romanus Weichlein, which received the Diapason D'or, a Choc from Classica and FFFF Telerama. In 2014, another recording devoted to the instrumental music of Johann Heinrich Schmelzer has been released on Zig-Zag Territoires and has been awarded the “CHOC Classica” in France, Critics Choice in the “Gramophone Magazine” and was named “CD de la Semaine” on Belgium’s Musiq3. Other critically acclaimed releases on the ATMA, Dorian and Analekta labels include Johann Rosenmüller – Sonatas in 2, 3, 4 and 5 parts; Mensa Sonora – Biber and his Contemporaries; Bach: Concerti and Sonatas (which was again awarded a Diapason d’Or and included in the “indispensable de l’été 2016” by Diapason 10 years after their first release !) and Rameau Complètes Pièces de clavecin en Concerts.
Their next CD project will be released by ALPHA in 2018 and will feature music by J.S. Bach and N. Bernier and their coffee cantatas.
Olivier Fortin graduated with distinction from the Québec Conservatory in 1995. He continued his training with Dom André Laberge, obtained a Master Degree from University of Montreal under the direction of Réjean Poirier, and received several scholarships for studies in Paris with Pierre Hantai and in Amsterdam with Bob van Asperen. In 1997 he was awarded top prizes at the Montreal Bach Competition and the Bruges Festival. He is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician, touring and recording throughout Europe, China and South Korea, the United States and Canada with Masques, Capriccio Stravagante and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.
He also performs with Skip Sempé and Pierre Hantaï in programs of music for two and three harpsichords. Olivier Fortin has appeared in the Festivals of Berkeley, La Roque d’Antheron, Utrecht, Aldeburgh, Regensburg, Zermatt, Montreal Baroque; Music Before 1800 and the Frick Collection in New York, the Cite de Musique in Paris, the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, BOZAR Music in Brussels, the Folle Journée in Nantes, Bilbao and Lisbon and the Festival Bach de Lausanne. As both solo harpsichordist and featured collaborative artist, he has recorded more than twenty CDs for Alpha, ZZT, Analekta, Atma, Paradizo, Alpha and Teldec.
Olivier Fortin is the founder and director of the Montreal-based ensemble Masques. Since 1998, the ensemble has become a strategic meeting point for young Canadian and European musicians. From 2004-2008 he taught harpsichord and chamber music at the Conservatoire de Musique de Quebec, and he currently teaches at the Tafelmusik Summer Institute in Toronto.