Click here for the full Anniversary Season Program

In its Bach Cantata Program, St Johns Southgate presents an ongoing series of services incorporating the choral music of J.S. Bach. The cantatas are presented in their intended context, liturgical Lutheran church services. The services include congregational liturgy and chorales, and organ music on the 1992 Knud Smenge pipe organ.

The program was founded in 1997 and 2017 is its 20th liturgical year.  The series has presented over 110 different cantatas and most of Bach’s major choral works in over 160 events.

The series features the St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra directed by St Johns’ Director of Music, Graham Lieschke. The St Johns Bach Orchestra plays on period instruments.  St Johns has a collection of period instruments including a chamber organ, harpsichord, pair of oboes da caccia, set of baroque timpani, two cornetti and a specialised recorder.

Some works are presented in collaboration with other groups. A long-standing collaboration with the University of Melbourne involves students of the Early Music Studio of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Within the cantata program, the St Johns Visiting Music Director program has brought prominent international church musicians to Melbourne:

  • 2004 Thomas Schmidt (St Peter’s Lutheran Church, New York, USA)
  • 2006 Georg Christoph Biller (Thomaskantor, Leipzig, Germany)
  • 2010 Albrecht Koch (Dom St Marien, Freiberg, Germany)
  • 2013 Rick Erickson (Trinity Lutheran Church, New York, USA)

The program located below is organised on a rolling basis.

Translations and notes on Bach cantatas are available here.

Services include an opportunity to make offerings and donations to support the St Johns Bach Program, or you can make a tax-deductible donation through the St Johns Southgate Bach Foundation.

Free parking (up to a limit) is available at all service times.

St Johns Bach Choir 

The St Johns Bach Choir is a selected/auditioned semi-professional choir formed in 1998 for the Bach Cantata Program.  Many of its members participate in other fine vocal ensembles in Melbourne. To express interest in joining the choir, contact the church office.

SJBachChoir1

St Johns Bach Orchestra

The St Johns Bach Orchestra draws on the pool of highly skilled period instrument players in Melbourne and Australia. It was formed under the directorship of Dr Graham Lieschke to support the Bach cantata program, and is now one of the most established period baroque instrumental orchestras in Melbourne.  Its core of regular players is joined from time-to-time by local and international visiting artists.

SJBachOrch1

 

Upcoming Events

Sun 03 Dec - 9:00 AM

First Sunday of Advent

Southern Cantata (Opus 102, 2017) by Andrew Schultz, libretto by Katherine Firth for 2 soloists, chorus and period instrument orchestra of strings, trumpet, theorbo, timpani, harpsichord and organ World premiere of a new cantata commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of St Johns Cantata Program St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra Kate Macfarlane (soprano), Robert […]

Sun 07 Jan - 9:00 AM

Epiphany

Herr Christ, der einge Gottesohn (BWV 96) for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, sopranino recorder, flute and continuo St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra dir. Graham Lieschke Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel

Wed 14 Feb - 7:30 PM

Ash Wednesday

Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder (BWV 135) for 3 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, cornetto, bass trombone and continuo St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra dir. Graham Lieschke Cantata in Context 7:00pm in the Chapel

Fri 30 Mar - 10:00 AM

Good Friday

Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn (BWV 23) for 3 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, 4 trombones and continuo St Johns Bach Orchestra Graz Kappellknaben, visiting from Austria dir. Matthias Unterkolfer Also Crucifixus (from Credo of the Mass in B Minor, BWV 232) Christus factus est (Anton Bruckner) The final chorale of BWV23 “Christe du […]

Thu 10 May - 7:30 PM

Ascension Day

A cantata, TBA Cantata in Context 7:00pm in the Chapel

Sun 03 Dec - 9:00 AM

First Sunday of Advent

Southern Cantata (Opus 102, 2017)
by Andrew Schultz, libretto by Katherine Firth

for 2 soloists, chorus and period instrument orchestra of strings, trumpet, theorbo, timpani, harpsichord and organ

World premiere of a new cantata commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of St Johns Cantata Program

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
Kate Macfarlane (soprano), Robert Macfarlane (tenor)
dir. Graham Lieschke

Guest Preacher: Tom Peitsch
Pastor of Outer Eastern Lutheran Church & former pastor of St Johns Southgate

Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel
Discussion with the composer and poet about the  new cantata

Sun 07 Jan - 9:00 AM

Epiphany

Herr Christ, der einge Gottesohn (BWV 96)

for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, sopranino recorder, flute and continuo

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
dir. Graham Lieschke

Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel

Wed 14 Feb - 7:30 PM

Ash Wednesday

Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder (BWV 135)

for 3 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, cornetto, bass trombone and continuo

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
dir. Graham Lieschke

Cantata in Context 7:00pm in the Chapel

Fri 30 Mar - 10:00 AM

Good Friday

Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn (BWV 23)

for 3 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, 4 trombones and continuo

St Johns Bach Orchestra
Graz Kappellknaben, visiting from Austria
dir. Matthias Unterkolfer

Also

Crucifixus (from Credo of the Mass in B Minor, BWV 232)
Christus factus est (Anton Bruckner)

The final chorale of BWV23 “Christe du Lamm Gottes”, a setting of Luther’s Agnus Dei, concluded the 1725 version of Bach’s Johannespassion.

Thu 10 May - 7:30 PM

Ascension Day

A cantata, TBA

Cantata in Context 7:00pm in the Chapel