Founded in 1989, the Montreal Baroque
Orchestra (MBO), which is specialized in the
performance of repertoires dating from the seventeenth century
to the beginning of the nineteenth, offers through its varied
programming a panorama of orchestral and vocal music from
the Baroque, Classical and pre-Romantic periods.
Conducted from the keyboard (harpsichord, organ or fortepiano)
by Joël Thiffault and able to
expand up to fifty musicians depending on the works performed,
the MBO plays on period instruments (baroque and
classical). Since its inception, the MBO has
developed into an orchestra of "classical"
proportions, able to perform the entire 18th-century repertoire.
Several of the MBO's musicians have received national
and international awards, and their endeavours have been
recognized by scholarships and the mention of their work
in specialized magazines and the Encyclopaedia of Music
In addition to many appearances in Quebec, the MBO
has met with great success during their tours: France (1989
and 1990), Festival International de Lanaudière
(1992), CACUM "Jouer dans l'Île"
(1993), "Guest Artists" series in
Ontario universities (1995-1997), Maritimes (Spring
2001), Turkey (1998, 2000), Mexico (regularly
since 1997), and recently, at the prestigious Fine Arts
Palace in Mexico City (November 2000). Since its
inception, the MBO has played for over 150 000 people
and has given over 400 performances throughout the world.
The MBO has often played
on Radio-Canada and the CBC. The MBO's first CD,
devoted to Geminiani's opus 3 concertos (1997), which
continues to garner praise from buyers and critics worldwide,
is distributed internationally (US, Europe and Asia)
by Harmonia Mundi. The MBO's second CD, devoted to
Overtures by Handel (Atma), was released in November
1999. Music critic Alain Bénard recently wrote: "A
feeling of grandeur is implicit in each of the Overtures;
one gets the impression they are performed by great numbers
thanks to the sustained and energetic phrasing Joël
Thiffault conveys and draws from his musicians."
Soon to be released, a recording featuring the chamber music
of Henry Purcell.
During the 2001-2004 seasons,
tours are planned to Mexico (Festival International Cervantino),
USA and Canada, as well as the premières, the recording
and the performance on tour of contemporary works written
specially for the MBO's period instruments.