Canadian ensemble Viveza appreciates a particular type of music that many other musicians only perform as encores or when they want to be temporarily less serious than usual. This type of music is commonly referred to as "salon" or "palm court" music. Viveza likes to point out that this music originated around the turn of the twentieth century in hazy establishments that provided refreshments to a less-than-completely polite segment of society, so that it frequently consists of sensual dances like the tango, early Dixieland jazz, Gypsy airs, and other equally exotic fare. The group's programs also include operetta arias and "light" music by composers such as Brahms, Dvorák, and Ravel who share stylistic elements with those other works.
Viveza was founded in 1988 by five Vancouver musicians: Gwen Thompson, violin; Mark Koenig, violin and melodion; Lee Duckles, cello, Wilmer Fawcett, double bass, and Linda Lee Thomas, piano. Percussionist Salvador Ferreras joined the group for several of its recordings. By 1996, Duckles and Thomas had left and Robert Holliston had become its pianist. It was faced with another challenge of changing personnel when Koenig passed away in late 2006.
Viveza tours throughout Canada and the United States, giving recitals and appearing at chamber music festivals. It also performs programs of the music of Astor Piazzolla with Ballet BC, and it won Emmy and Gemini awards for the 1998 CBC television program Dancing in the Moment. In 2007 the ensemble was preparing a new CD release.