20 City Rd, Southbank
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 2016 is its 19th 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:
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.
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.
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.
Sun 20 Aug - 9:00 AM
Eucharist (11th Sunday after Pentecost)
Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir (BWV 38) for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, 4 trombones and continuo Sally Wilson (soprano) Sally-Anne Russell (mezzosoprano) Robert Macfarlane (tenor) Christopher Tonkin (bass) St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra directed by Graham Lieschke with Guest Ensemble La Compañia (directed by Danny Lucin) Guest Preacher: Stephen Pietsch […]
Sun 01 Oct - 9:00 AM
Eucharist (St Michael and all Angels)
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (BWV 69) & Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft (BWV 50) for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 3 oboes, 3 trumpets, timpani and continuo St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra directed by Graham Lieschke Guest Preacher: Mark Whitfield Bishop of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand
Sun 29 Oct - 9:00 AM
Eucharist (Commemoration of the Reformation – 500 years)
O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe (BWV 34) for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 trumpets, timpani and continuo St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra directed by Graham Lieschke Preacher: Tom Hoffmann Pastor of St Johns Southgate
Sun 03 Dec - 9:00 AM
First Sunday of Advent
New Advent Cantata commissioned by St Johns, composed by Andrew Schultz to a libretto by Katherine Firth St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra directed by Graham Lieschke Guest Preacher: Tom Peitsch Pastor of Outer Eastern Lutheran Church