“Completely addictive……. this is perfect chill-out music whose subtle atmospherics and unashamed quest for beauty make it far more compelling than such a description normally implies” – The Indepedent on Sunday, UK
Sanctuary is a musical trio based in Halifax, NS Canada. They have established a unique form of contemporary music that is rich, intense and lyrical. Much of their music is based on Gregorian chant but that is merely a point of departure –they transcend these ancient materials using improvisation, contemporary music atonality and extended techniques, to create a new form of contemplative plainsong for the 21st century.
Sanctuary: “Antiphon” from their CD “The Heart has its Reasons”
The past fifteen years have seen the core ensemble of bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly cellist Christoph Both (pronounced Boat) and organist Peter Togni (pronounced Tawnyee) develop and refine a unique sound of immense dynamic and tonal range. Their many performances in St Mary’s Basilica in Halifax, Canada attract hundreds of listeners, and it is clear that the soaring, rich acoustics of the church have contributed massively to the ensemble’s characteristic sound.The members of Sanctuary are dedicated to live performance and the trio re-defines accepted traditions of presentation. A Sanctuary concert is a unique contemplative experience, more of a personal sonic journey than any form of conventional concert.
Sanctuary started in 1998 as an informal series of concerts at St. Mary’s Basilica in Halifax.Since then the three members have performed over 100 concerts playing in every type of music festival across Canada, the USA and Europe.
Sanctuary has performed with a wide range of choirs across Canada, Germany and Latvia. They have presented concerts with the world-renowned trombonist Alain Trudel, the Electro Acoustic percussionist Jerry Granelli, the violin/bass duo of Maya Homburger and Barry Guy, and the Evergreen Club contemporary Gamelan orchestra. In 2003 the ensemble formed its own string orchestra.
Great emphasis has always been placed on creating new works from within the trio and commissioning works for its extended collaborations. Over the past five years the group has created or commissioned over 25 new works.
In a time where the classical music world has become saturated with unoriginal ‘cross-over’ recordings, Sanctuary’s work is more than just a breath of fresh air. In terms of both concept and execution it is almost entirely unprecedented.
“Days Last Glow” – SANCTUARY, in conjunction with the Halifax based Atlantic Jazz Festival presented a 4 part series of concerts with Canadian jazz musicians in July of 2006. “The Days Last Glow” featured concerts with cellist Matt Brubeck, guitarist John Gzowski, percussionist Jerry Granelli, violist Jean Rene, vocalist Tena Palmer and bari sax player David Mott.
Sanctuary Choir – A series of concerts with the 12 voice SANCTUARY choir, featuring Peter Togni’s “Litany”, a 20 minute commission from the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture.
Sanctuary Strings – a 12 piece string orchestra, first presented in May of 2004, focusing on another commissioned work by Peter Togni – “Illuminations” for string orchestra and solo Bass Clarinet.
Sanctuary: “Illuminations”, from “The heart has its reasons”
Gamelan Orchestra – SANCTUARY with the Toronto based Evergreen Club Gamelan group, an 11 piece ensemble that premiered newly commissioned full scale works by Mark Duggan and Jeff Reilly. First presented in May of 2005
Sanctuary Trio with the Evergreen Club Gamelan
Mott and Petric · SANCTUARY with the Bari Sax player David Mott and Accordionist Joseph Petric.
Guy and Homburger · SANCTUARY with the British bassist Barry Guy and violinist Maya Homburger – featuring newly commissioned works by Barry Guy and Peter Togni. Presented on June 14th, 2006
· Sanctuary has toured Russia, China, Europe and Canada. In future years we expect to continue to present at least one major tour each year, along with other smaller national and international projects.
· SANCTUARY has released 4 CD’s. Their first self titled project was released in October of 2000 on 21 records based in Montreal. The second international release entitled “Refuge” was released on the German Label Haenssler Classic on October 15, 2003. The third CD entitled “The heart has its reasons” was released on Warner Classics UK in May of 2005. SANCTUARY’s fourth CD “Estuary” was released in the fall of 2015.