Masques is a Montreal-based early music ensemble founded in 1998, performing vocal and instrumental music of the 17th and 18th centuries. The name of the ensemble is inspired by the masques of the Elizabethan England—mystical performances which fused poetry, music, dance and drama. The ensemble has become a meeting point for Canada’s young musicians. Masques also collaborates regularly with up and coming European talents, thereby maintaining close ties with musicians of diverse backgrounds. All the musicians of Masques have enviable performing experience, and regularly concertize as soloists and chamber musicians throughout Canada, the United States and Europe with such ensembles as Capriccio Stravagante, Tafelmusik, La Petite Bande and Les Voix Humaines. While maintaining a core ensemble, Masques varies in size according to the demands of the projects it presents.
The ensemble has risen rapidly to international attention, winning the Grand Prize in the Dorian/Early Music America Competition in 2000, and being selected as finalist at the York Early Music Competition in 2001. Following the release of the ensemble’s first recording, devoted to the Consorts in Two Parts by the English composer Matthew Locke, Masques has been heard coast to coast in various festivals including Lamèque, Lanaudière and Vancouver. Masques was also heard in France and in the United States. The ensemble’s performances are regularly broadcast on CBC/Radio-Canada.
Recipient of grants from several levels of government, Masques presents its own concert series in Montréal, and since 2004, records
exclusively for the Analekta label.