The Cantata Singers of Ottawa, founded in 1964, is dedicated to excellence in the performance of choral music from Canada and around the world. In June 2005, Michael Zaugg took over the baton of the choir as Music Director and is now leading the choir in new and exciting directions.
The choir produces its own concert series every year and makes numerous guest appearances with other organizations. Its repertoire encompasses a broad variety of music, both classical and contemporary, from around the world. As part of its series, the choir supports local and national composers by commissioning and performing their works.
Since the opening of the National Arts Centre (NAC) in 1969, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa has performed every year with the NAC Orchestra under the baton of the NAC's artistic directors, from Mario Bernardi to Trevor Pinnock and Pinchas Zukerman, as well as internationally renowned guest conductors.
In 1998, it united with the NAC Orchestra under Mario Bernardi in recording (Shattered Night, Shivering Stars), a CD of music of Canadian composer Alexina Louie. The choir has recorded programmes for CBC Radio, CBC Television and Radio Canada, and it has won top honours in the CBC Radio competition for amateur choirs
Along with numerous tours within Canada, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa performs internationally. Over the past 20 years or so, along with touring in southern Manitoba, the Maritimes, and southwestern Ontario, the choir has been nearly around the world. In 1988, it represented the City of Ottawa in a cultural exchange with The Hague in The Netherlands. The summer of 1994 saw the choir in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In June, 1998, the choir toured Austria and Hungary, performing in Innsbruck, Salzburg, Graz, Budapest and Vienna. The choir sang Brückner's Ave Maria in St. Florian's Abbey, where it had been written. Most recently, in June, 2001, the choir toured Italy, participating in the Third International Festival of Choirs in Siena (arranged by the Associazione Musicale Coro Vico Alto di Siena) and performing in Perugia and Rome.