By Bertrand Doucet
In its 20-year history, the JUNO award-winning Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC) has performed throughout the world and been acclaimed at both the national and international level. It has performed at many concerts and many renowned venues including Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, Notre-Dame-Cathedral in Paris, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the Peterskirche in Vienna and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.
This June, the professional choir travels back to Leipzig, Germany, where it has been invited to the world’s most prestigious international Bach festival, Bachfest Leipzig 2022, as one of a select number of ensembles worldwide – and the only Canadian one – to present the entire chorale cantata cycle of Bach, performing with the Leipzig Pauliner Baroque Ensemble.
As part of its fifth European tour, the choir will embark on “A Bach Pilgrimage” after its two performances in Leipzig. It will visit places where Bach lived and worked, including Eisenach, Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Weimar and other influential venues in Wittenberg (where Martin Luther posted his 95 theses), then head to Handel’s birthplace of Halle with a final stop in Berlin. Canadian soloists soprano Jana Miller, countertenor Nicholas Burns, tenor Nils Brown and baritone David John Pike, along with Canadian organist Jonathan Oldengarm, join the choir on this historic tour.
In preparation for the tour, the OBC will present its repertoire to Ottawa audiences on Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m. in “Prelude-Europe 2022” at St. Matthew’s Church in the Glebe under the direction of its founder and artistic director, Lisette Canton. The music will include works by German baroque masters Bach, Schütz, Telemann and Pachelbel, by Renaissance masters Tallis and Richafort and contemporary gems by Mealor, Ottawa composer Kelly-Marie Murphy, a spiritual and more. Jonathan Oldengarm will join the choir for this concert.
The Ottawa Bach Choir offers a wide range of choral music from all historical periods. With the combination of a scholarly and emotional approach, the OBC provides an unforgettable experience of choral music at its best. The OBC won the 2020 JUNO Award for its album, Handel: Dixit Dominus; Bach & Schütz: Motets, in the category “Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral.”
In-person concert tickets are available on the choir’s website and at the door: Reserved $50, Adults $40, Seniors (65+) $35, Students $20, Children under 12 free. Digital concert tickets are also available in the OBC’s Digital Concert Hall. For more information, visit the OBC website at ottawabachchoir.ca, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 613-270-1015.
The OBC is thrilled to return to in-person performances while continuing to offer concerts through its Digital Concert Hall and sharing our love of choral music with all patrons. On behalf of the Ottawa Bach Choir, I invite you to support this extraordinary ensemble and join us for a spectacular evening of music.
Bertrand Doucet is the interim chair of the Ottawa Bach Choir board of directors.