Masques is a Montreal–based early music ensemble acclaimed for its expressiveness, the eloquence of its musical interpretations, and the dynamic musical involvement of its members. The name of the ensemble is inspired by the masques of Elizabethan England – mystical performances that fused poetry, music, dance and drama.
The ensemble works as a chamber ensemble without a conductor, enabling each individual member of the group to contribute actively to the final musical result. With repertoire requiring larger forces, founder and artistic director Olivier Fortin directs performances from the harpsichord.
In the 2012/2013 season, Masques tours France and makes its United Kingdom debut in a concert at Wigmore Hall, performing works rooted in the stylus fantasticus, described by the 17th-century polymath Athanasius Kircher as ‘the most free and unrestrained method of composing.’ They perform works by J.S. Bach, Buxtehude et Schenk at the Festival Bach de Montréal, appear at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal playing Rameau's Pieces en concerts and return the U.S. appearing at Milwaukee's Early Music Now in a program centered around Louis the XV.
The members of Masques also engage in educational outreach projects that convey their passion for early music to young audiences around the world. Recent tours have included performances in Canada, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Mexico and the U.S., where they appeared at the University of Chicago, The Frick Collection, the San Diego Early Music Society, and the National Gallery.
Masques has just released a new CD devoted to the instrumental music of Johann Rosenmüller on ATMA Classique. Other critically acclaimed releases on the ATMA and Analekta labels include English Fancy – Music of Henry Purcell; Baroque Christmas; Mensa Sonora – Biber and his Contemporaries; Bach: Concerti and Sonatas and A Baroque Odyssey.
The ensemble has risen rapidly to international attention, winning the Grand Prize in the Dorian/Early Music America Competition in 2000, and was selected as finalist at the York Early Music Competition in 2001. Masques is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Montreal Arts Council, the Council of the Arts and Letters of Quebec and the Quebec Council of Music.
(April 2013. Please discard previously dated materials and contact firstname.lastname@example.org before making any alterations or cuts.)