Click here to read about the Anniversary Season that was presented in 2016-2017

(For information on upcoming cantata services – scroll down)

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 2018 is its 21st liturgical year.  The series has presented over 120 different cantatas and most of Bach’s major choral works in over 180 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 28 Oct - 9:00 AM

Reformation Festival Eucharist

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (BWV 9) for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, oboe d’amore, flute and continuo St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra dir. Albrecht Koch, 2018 St Johns Visiting Music Director visiting from Freiberg, Saxony, Germany Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel a pre-service talk about the cantata and its liturgical […]

Sun 18 Nov - 9:00 AM

Eucharist (26th Sunday after Pentecost)

Mass in G Major (BWV 236)* for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, and continuo Consort of Melbourne and St Johns Bach Orchestra dir. Graham Lieschke presented in collaboration with the Australian Bach Society as part of the mini-Festival “BACH-LUTHER. Father and Son of the Reformation” Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel a pre-service […]

Sun 23 Dec - 9:00 AM

Eucharist (4th Sunday of Advent)

Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (BWV 110)* for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 3 oboes, bassoon, 2 flutes, 3 trumpets, timpani and continuo A festive Christmas Day cantata St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra dir. Graham Lieschke Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel a pre-service talk about the cantata and its liturgical context

Sun 28 Oct - 9:00 AM

Reformation Festival Eucharist

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (BWV 9)
for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, oboe d’amore, flute and continuo

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
dir. Albrecht Koch,
2018 St Johns Visiting Music Director
visiting from Freiberg, Saxony, Germany

Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel
a pre-service talk about the cantata and its liturgical context

Sun 18 Nov - 9:00 AM

Eucharist (26th Sunday after Pentecost)

Mass in G Major (BWV 236)*
for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, and continuo

Consort of Melbourne and St Johns Bach Orchestra
dir. Graham Lieschke
presented in collaboration with the Australian Bach Society as part of the mini-Festival “BACH-LUTHER. Father and Son of the Reformation”

Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel
a pre-service talk about the cantata and its liturgical context

This liturgical presentation partners a concert of Bach’s four “Missa Brevis” Lutheran masses as follows:
Friday 16th November 7:30pm
Toorak Uniting Church
“Bach’s Lutheran Masses”
dir. Graham Abbott

Sun 23 Dec - 9:00 AM

Eucharist (4th Sunday of Advent)

Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (BWV 110)*
for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 3 oboes, bassoon, 2 flutes, 3 trumpets, timpani and continuo
A festive Christmas Day cantata

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
dir. Graham Lieschke

Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel
a pre-service talk about the cantata and its liturgical context