The Ottawa Bach Choir’s ‘Magnificat’ Will Get You in the Holiday Spirit

As the winter winds whisper through the streets of Ottawa, a symphony of anticipation builds, heralding the arrival of the JUNO award-winning Ottawa Bach Choir’s (OBC) first concert of its 22nd season—Magnificat. The resplendent strains of Baroque music are set to fill the sacred halls of St. Matthew’s Church on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at 8:00 p.m., promising an evening of enchantment and musical splendour.

The centrepiece of the night is the Magnificat, a tapestry woven by the hands of maestros from different corners of Europe. The journey includes the original setting by the venerable Johann Sebastian Bach, crafted for his inaugural Christmas in Leipzig in 1723. Joining this historic composition are interpretations by the Czech virtuosos Jan Dismas Zelenka and Heinrich Biber, alongside the luminous contributions of the Italian Maestra Isabella Leonarda.

A highlight that promises to steal the breath of the audience is Bach’s virtuosic cantata, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51, a jubilant composition for solo soprano and trumpet. The Theatre of Early Music baroque orchestra, a virtuoso ensemble in its own right, will join forces with the Ottawa Bach Choir to bring this masterpiece to life. Spectacular guest soloists—soprano Myriam Leblanc, countertenor Daniel Taylor, tenor Owen McCausland, and bass Alex Dobson—complete this constellation of musical brilliance.

The Founder and Artistic Director of the Ottawa Bach Choir, Dr. Lisette Canton’s excitement is palpable as she describes the upcoming concert. “We are thrilled to open our 22nd season with an array of spectacular and rarely heard settings of the Magnificat, culminating in the original music Bach composed as Thomaskantor in Leipzig in 1723, along with virtuosic music for solo soprano and trumpet. Come share our passion as we celebrate this festive season with magnificent works from the Baroque period with some of today’s leading musicians in this style—you won’t want to miss it!”

The Ottawa Bach Choir, established in 2002 under Dr. Canton’s guidance, has become a beacon of musical excellence. Offering audiences a diverse repertoire spanning all historical periods, the choir places Bach’s choral oeuvre at the heart of its musical tapestry. With a unique blend of scholarly rigour and emotional depth, the OBC creates unforgettable choral music experiences.

The choir’s illustrious journey includes winning the 2020 JUNO Award for their album, Handel: Dixit Dominus; Bach & Schütz: Motets, in the Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral category. Their triumphs extend beyond national borders, with a return from the prestigious Bachfest Leipzig in June 2022, marking their place on the international stage.

Reflecting on the choir’s accomplishments, Dr. Canton shares, “The Ottawa Bach Choir has toured extensively in Canada, Europe, the United States, and China and had the honor of being the first Canadian choir ever to be among the performers in Bachfest Leipzig 2014. Our eighth album, Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Motets, on the ATMA Classique label, described as “one of the finest on record” by The WholeNote, is available on all streaming platforms as well as on the choir’s website.”

Prepare to immerse yourselves in the sonic tapestry of Magnificat. The Ottawa Bach Choir invites everyone to join them on this journey through the ages. With the convergence of historical masterpieces and contemporary virtuosos, this musical odyssey promises to be an unforgettable celebration of the holiday season—an invitation to step into the embrace of the sublime world of Baroque music.

The performance will take place at the acoustically marvellous St. Matthews Church in the Glebe on December 2, 2023, at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are available online at