From its beginnings in 2005, Scaramella has presented an annual 3-concert chamber music music series in Toronto using period instruments. The changing roster enables programs of many musical styles and periods, with artists chosen both for their individual areas of expertise and for the personality each brings to the collaboration. In an age when much classical music is seen as conservative, elitist, or simply ‘over-played,’ Scaramella breaks down these stereotypes by focusing on the beguiling character and immediacy of period instruments, and by reveling in the exploration and interpretation of little-known, but sumptuous music, that speaks to a broad public, regardless of each individual’s level of personal education or previous experience with classical music as a genre. With the idea that people listen to and experience music more deeply when they don’t know exactly what to expect, Scaramella incorporates some unusual elements, starting with repertoire that is off the beaten path, and occasionally juxtaposing it with art, literature, dance or other kinds of media, or simply by changing up the manner in which the presentation is staged. The result is fresh and vivacious performance that is accessible, relevant and appealing.
Scaramella's Artistic Director, Joëlle Morton is a widely sought performer and teacher, specializing in Renaissance and Baroque violas da gamba, violoni and double basses. Active primarily as a soloist and free-lance chamber musician, she performs as soloist and continuo player all over North America, in addition to having a large studio of private students and teaching viola da gamba and period double bass at the University of Toronto. She is the official Viol Consultant for the Hart House collection of antique viols, and is also author of a number of scholarly articles and performing editions of music for the viola bastarda and lyra viol.