A versatile performing musician, instrument maker and researcher in historical music, Ray Nurse was a founding member of Early Music Vancouver, The New World Consort, the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Pacific Baroque Orchestra. He has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia and appeared on many broadcasts and recordings. His research has led him to museums and libraries around the world, and he is in constant demand as a teacher at workshops.
Ray originally studied voice and musicology at the Department of Music at the University of British Columbia and attended UBC’s Opera Workshop for five seasons, which led to work in Stage Management with Vancouver Opera Association. In 1972 he won the Vancouver Met auditions, subsequently performing as soloist and chorus member with the Vancouver Opera and appearing as a soloist with Edmonton Opera, The Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver New Music, most of the choirs in Vancouver, and Opera in the Schools. During the 1970s he took a break to pursue other interests, studying lute performance with Dianna Poulton in London and Eugen Dombois in Basel, and lute-making with Harwood and Isaacs in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Since the 1980s he has concentrated on early music performance and research, with special interest in early singing and opera, directing The New World Consort (1982-1989) and singing with The Vancouver Chamber Choir (between 1970 and 2000 for 15 seasons). In 2001 he founded La Cetra, an ensemble that specializes in seventeenth century music. He coordinated notable productions of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the 1610 Vespers for Festival Vancouver 2000, and in 2002 was appointed as Artistic Director of the Vancouver Early Opera Project. In the current season he directs La Cetra in programmes for Early Music Vancouver, the Early Music Society of the Islands, Vancouver Cantata Singers and the Laudate Singers, and coordinated the production Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea for Festival Vancouver in the Summer of 2003. He currently co-directs the Baroque Vocal Programme in the Vancouver Early Music Programme at UBC, and is professionally active as a lutenist, accompanist, continuo player and singer, and continues to build instruments for selected customers.