About Us

The Pacific Song Collective is a group of musicians and music-lovers, based on Vancouver Island, who are united by their love of song.

Led by artistic director Kathryn Whitney, the Pacific Song Collective runs events around Canada’s West Coast that are designed to promote song-making in all its forms.

We bring musicians together, help them build skills, promote understanding of the song repertoire, and we help new songs come into being.

Inspired by Franz Schubert, who wrote most of his over 400 songs for amateur musicians, we welcome amateurs as equal participants in all our events.

Join us!

We hope that we will see you at one of our events. We invite collaborations from around our beautiful coast. We are classical musicians, but reach out to all songsters, whether classical, folk, or popular. 

Art Song Project

Our Art Song Project

offers amateur musicians aged 30+ to take part in an intensive project on the songs for voice & piano associated with a particular composer, repertoire, or theme.

Based at the Victoria Conservatory of Music on Vancouver Island, the project takes place on weekend afternoons between March and May, with our final concerts at the beginning of June.

All are welcome to join our Art Song Project, which has separate student categories for advanced (RCM Gr7 to BMus) and intermediate (beginner to RCM Gr6) performers, and for non-performing observers.

To learn more about our French Song Project in spring 2020, click on the poster.

Summer song-making in the Gulf Islands Archipelago

We are currently working with community groups to develop weekend and week-long song courses for adult amateur singers on the Gulf Islands, beginning in summer 2020.

Please check back to this page to learn more about these upcoming offerings.

If you would like to take part in one of these events, or collaborate with us on running a course in your community, please be in touch via our contact page.

Summer Song Courses

Workshops

Why does song play on our heart strings?

Why does some music – and not other music – make us so want to sing?

Beginning in summer 2020, we will be collaborating with performers and scholars to offer afternoon workshops on themes exploring the history, performance, and composition of song.

We hope you will join us!

Please check back to this page to learn more about your chance to join in our convivial puzzling over this especially mysterious thing.

Bring & Sing “open mics”

Alongside our 2020 spring Art Song Project, we will be piloting an ‘open mic’ casual public song gatherings in a local cafe in Victoria at which amateurs and professionals alike can sing for each other over evening drinks and food.

These events will be the first trial of our cross-over song events – sessions that aim to bring together singers and players of classical song with singer-songwriters from other genres, such as folk and popular music. We have so much in common, we should really spend more time together…

Check back to this page to learn more about these sessions, which will begin in April on Friday and Saturday nights.

Open Mic Salons

Song Shapes for new music

Bringing new song to light for composers, performers, and audiences.

Beginning in summer 2020, we will be holding special evenings during which song composers can discuss their ongoing song compositions and can hear their music performed.

Composers and song-lovers will have a chance to discuss the emerging works together, and to explore their themes, structures, and text.

Our goal is to encourage composers to write small scale works on short texts, thus to encourage the expansion of the song repertoire in Canada.

We also aim to create important connections between composers, listeners, commissioners, and artists, whether amateur or professional.

In 2025, we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary!

The Pacific Song Collective got its beginnings in an art song project on Schubert’s song cycle Winter Journey in spring 2015.

To mark our 10 year anniversary, we are commissioning a large-scale song cycle, which will form the repertoire for our 2025 Art Song Project.

In the coming years, we will be undertaking a number of fund-raising projects to help us realise this project.

We will also be commissioning a Canadian composer to set poems by a Canadian author on a Canadian theme…

Watch this space for our announcement, coming in 2021, of who both author and composer will be!

10th Anniversary Commission 2025

     Artistic Director

Kathryn Whitney is a performer, teacher, and performance studies researcher based on Vancouver Island on the West Coast of Canada. She is an all-round musician with a specialisms in early music, choral singing, and a very special love of song for voice and piano.

Past performances include concerts with Emma Kirkby, John Eliot Gardiner, Stephen Darlington, New Chamber Opera, Christian Curnyn, the Budapest Chamber Opera, the Victoria Baroque Players, the Victoria Choral Society, Opera Anywhere, the Sooke Philharmonic, and the Tafelmusik and Munich Bach Choirs. She has given recitals for the Oxford Lieder Festival, the Rolston Recital Hall, the Regina Musical Club, the Walton series at La Mortella, Ischia, and at St John’s Smith Square, London,

Her performance, touring, and research work has received support from the BC Arts Council, BC Touring Council, Organisation of Saskatchewan Arts Councils, Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Council of England, and the Worshipful Company of Drapers’ of London. A champion of new music, she has sung the world or national première of more than 50 songs in the UK and Canada, the majority written for her voice. Composers who have written for Kathryn include John Caldwell, Susan Wollenberg, Lorna Paterson, David L. McIntyre, and John McCabe.

Kathryn is the artistic director of the Pacific Song Collective, co-director (with Verica Grmusa) of the SongArt Performance Research Group in London, England, and a member of the voice faculty at the Victoria Conservatory of Music in Canada. A clinician for the British Columbia Choral Federation, she is also co-artistic director (with Brian Wismath) of the VCM Summer Academy Choral Program. In 2010, Kathryn joined the Institute of Musical Research (IMR), an arm of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, where she was an Associate Fellow for five years. In 2012, she was a Visiting Fellow at the AHRC Centre for Music Performance as Creative Practice at King’s College, London. She was artist in residence at Oxford University (Wolfson Creative Arts Fellow, 2002-2005) and at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (Walton Fellow, 2009-2011).

Trained initially at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Kathryn studied at the University of Toronto (BA), Oxford University (DPhil), and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (PGDip Performance), where her teachers were Emma Kirkby and Susan McCulloch. Prior to beginning work as a performer, she taught music history and aesthetics as a college lecturer at Oxford for 12 years, with concurrent teaching at Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music.

Above all, Kathryn loves collaborating, whether it be with students, ensembles, composers, teachers, choristers, or amateur or professional singers. She hopes to see you on a future project, and wishes you well in your music-making!