The Deep Cove Chamber Soloists' Society was founded in 1983 by a group of chamber music enthusiasts from the North Shore. This group was anxious to increase public exposure to the finest chamber music from the past and present and to focus on North Shore venues. Principal among this group were Vivian Waters, Robert Carey, Karl Kobylansky, and Hoshang Shroff.
The Society made its debut in 1985 with a series called "Music in the Gallery". This series took place at Presentation House in North Vancouver, and became an annual event. It's four concerts were held in Presentation House's 'Gallery', and were originally given to complement photographic exhibitions with which they coincided. The quartet at that time consisted of Vivian Waters, violin; Jennifer MacLeod, viola; Anne Cramer, second violin; and Diane Berthelsdorff, cello. All were professional musicians, Waters with the Vancouver Opera and the other three with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Later, the quartet was given the name "Pro Nova String Quartet" to place a clear differentiation between the musicians of the quartet and the Board of the Deep Cove Chamber Soloists' Society. In 1990 arrangements were made for the four concert series to be repeated in the Ferry Building, West Vancouver. Through the quartet, the musical activities of the Deep Cove Chamber Soloists' Society continued to flourish. During the 1990-91 season, the quartet played in 24 other concerts, besides the two North Shore series. These concerts were held in such various locations as the Alliance Française, Brock House, Galiano Island, and Whistler Village.
The quartet's original principal violinist, Vivian Waters, took a leave of absence for the 1991-93 seasons, and eventually decided to settle in Toronto where she currently teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music. The name "Pro Nova String Ensemble" was adopted at that time, with different guest musicians supplementing the remaining trio for each concert. Direction of the ensemble was taken over by Hans-Karl Piltz, and in 1993 Aurora Felde became the permanent principal violinist of the quartet. Aurora took over the Music Direction when Hans-Karl decided to retire in 2008. Hans-Karl continues to provide intriguing introductions to our concerts.
From 1991-92 season, the original series was moved to the Mount Seymour United Church, where the ambience and acoustics are particularly suitable to the performance of chamber music. Once again, concerts in this series were repeated at the Ferry Building. More recently, in 1999, the West Vancouver performances were relocated to the North Shore Unitarian Church on Mathers Avenue, a charming and appropriate setting in which to present chamber music. For the last three seasons the Ensemble has performed its West Vancouver Concerts at the Kay Meek Studio Theatre.
Although none of the original four musicians remain, the heart of the Pro Nova Ensemble is still a string quartet. The ensemble has also performed string quintets, sextets, and octets; chamber pieces for strings with flute, horn, bassoon, oboe, harp, shakuhachi, clarinet and even harpsichord. In keeping with the original aims of the Society, guest artists are added to the ensemble for almost every performance. Ranging from the Baroque to the 20th century, programs are chosen by the ensemble with the audience and location in mind, often fitting a particular seasonal, religious or ethnic theme to the occasion. Pro Nova's concerts are noted for their relaxed, informal and spontaneous quality as well as their high calibre of musicianship.