bio, press

Pneuma Ensemble is a trio focusing on 11th-14th C. medieval monophony (such as troubadour song and minnesang) as well as "jongleuresque" performance of narrative poems in their original languages. As far as possible, we use a historically informed approach to create our performances, including reconstructions of medieval instruments.

The name Pneuma comes from the ancient Greek word πνεῦμα meaning"breath," "spirit," or "soul" with various meanings for philosophical and medical writers in antiquity. A neume (/ˈnjuːm/) is the basic element of musical notation before the invention of the multi-lined staff: 

Review: Bisclaveret

"It is thrilling to hear the sounds of Anglo-Norman with its mix of the familiar and unfamiliar, and Postle is so expressive that we know immediately what a strange word like “garulf” (“werewolf’) means when she says it.  Surtitles are really rendered unnecessary by the fine acting and detailed mime.... the Ensemble exits the stage through the audience as if we have had a magical visit from a seer from another world. With Bisclaveret the Pneuma Ensemble makes the best possible case for presenting the Lais of Marie de France as works to be performed rather than read."

"Very often pieces mixed Eastern and Western instruments and influences with the old and the new, particularly when members of the Toronto-based Medieval trio Pneuma Ensemble took part in most of the works, adding a special timbre to the evening’s sound. Inviting Pneuma was a nice touch and I appreciated the added sounds of vielle and gittern."

"I was quite blown away by something unexpected. Pneuma Ensemble is "a Toronto-based early music group focused on 11th-14th C. medieval monophony (such as troubadour song and minnesang) using historically informed performance and medieval instruments". We tend to think of medieval music and culture in monochromatic terms, so it's quite exciting to see it brought to life."

Review: Fulgens and Lucres, Stage Door

"early music trio Pneuma.... provide vibrant accompaniment to the songs, dances and some speeches and play interludes."