about musica intima

Internationally renowned for their warm and engaging stage presence, impeccable musicianship, and unique perspective on ensemble singing, musica intima has earned a reputation as Canada’s most exciting vocal ensemble.

“The flexibility and agility that are a function of their small size is partly what makes them so exciting,” says Lloyd Dykk of Vancouver’s Georgia Straight. But what makes musica intima truly unique is that the singers rehearse, perform and function as a collective. In rehearsal they self-direct, exchanging ideas freely while exploring their own musical creativity. In performance, they engage the audience with a spontaneity and directness all their own.

Founded in 1992, musica intima has become an integral part of Vancouver’s cultural fabric. In addition to an annual series of self-produced concerts, musica intima collaborates with other arts organizations and artists such as Coastal Sound Music Academy, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, cellist Steven Isserlis, pianist/composer Uri Caine, and writer/broadcaster Bill Richardson. The ensemble has also been involved in recording projects with artists as diverse as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, composer Owen Underhill, and rock musician Matthew Good.

A distinctly Canadian ensemble, musica intima regularly commissions and premieres works by Canada’s leading composers, including José Evangelista, Peter Hannan, Jocelyn Morlock, Jordan Nobles, and Jeffrey Ryan. The ensemble has graced the stages of some of Canada’s best known festivals and concert halls including BC Scene, Orford Festival, Festival Vancouver, Elora Festival, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Festival de Lanaudière, Palais Montcalm, Domaine Forget International Festival, and Indian River Festival. Also an international presence, musica intima has performed twice at the American Choral Directors Association Conference, and has appeared at Polyfollia Festival in France, Cork International Choral Festival in Ireland, and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Denmark.

musica intima is frequently heard on national and international radio broadcasts and has released seven commercial recordings, five of which can be found on the ATMA Classique label: 20 (2012), into light (2010), o nata lux (2008), forgotten peoples (2006), invocation (2004), and clear (2002). In addition, they recorded the CBC-produced nativite (2002), which was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award, and the ensemble’s Juno award-nominated debut album musica intima (1998).

The ensemble’s all-Canadian album into light (2010) won a Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Album of the Year, garnered two Juno nominations, and received a 10-star review in BBC Music Magazine. Their most recent recording, 20, celebrates their 20th anniversary- acting as a “greatest hits” compilation. musica intima has been voted Best Local Classical Vocal Ensemble in The Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver Awards in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and has taken home awards for Best Choral Group in WE Vancouver’s Best of the City Awards, as well as the Vancouver Courier’s Stars of the City. 

"It is believed that Claudio Monteverdi wrote most of his operas and sacred choral music for singers of great virtuosity. If this is so, it is difficult to imagine that he had at his command singers any more virtuosic than the 12 members of the Vancouver-based and conductorless choral ensemble known as musica intima.”

        Douglas Hughes | Georgia Straight