Since its inaugural concert in 1941, the Ottawa Choral Society (OCS)’s focus on choral excellence and meaningful presentation has made it one of Canada’s most ambitious and accomplished large choruses. OCS performances feature over 120 auditioned voices, creating a rich tapestry of sacred and secular masterpieces. Led by internationally recognized conductor, scholar, and pedagogue, Jean-Sébastien Vallée, OCS proudly shares the stage with world-class concert artists, distinguished National Arts Centre Orchestra conductors, and Ottawa’s leading instrumentalists.
In addition to its self-produced subscription series, the Choir regularly appears as the guest of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and has partnered with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and with the Ottawa International Chamber Music Society.
Celebrating community through music.
The Ottawa Choral Society’s mission is to bring the joy of great choral masterworks and contemporary repertoire to a diverse community of talented singers and broad audiences.
OCS is a member-driven, member-governed, and member-supported non-profit organization open to choristers from the Ottawa region and beyond. We are an inclusive organization that welcomes adult singers of all ages, faiths, and racial and gender identification, and strives to meet the needs of singers with disabilities. OCS is also committed to ensuring economic circumstances are not a factor in becoming a member of the choir.
The choir is honoured to have been invited to perform under the baton of many distinguished conductors such as Alexander Shelley, Pinchas Zukerman, Helmuth Rilling, Mario Bernardi, Franz-Paul Decker, Franco Mannino, Trevor Pinnock, Jiri Belohlavek, Charles Dutoit, Nicholas McGegan, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Since 2001, the OCS has also had the privilege of working with Duain Wolfe, the distinguished chorus master of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in the preparation of performances with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Over its many years of sharing choral music, the Ottawa Choral Society is proud to have shared its stage with such legendary artists as Maureen Forrester, Lois Marshall, Jon Vickers, Catherine Robbin, Ben Heppner, Richard Margison, Gary Relyea, and Joseph Rouleau. We’ve also introduced our audiences to the thrilling artistry of such artists as Nathalie Paulin, Donna Brown, Monica Whicher, Measha Brueggergosman, Shannon Mercer, Krisztina Szabo, Julie Nesrallah, Wallis Giunta, Daniel Taylor, Isaiah Bell, Gerald Finley, Russell Braun, and Philippe Sly.
The Ottawa Choral Society’s New Discoveries Auditions are held in alternating years to provide emerging vocal artists with a professional platform, broad audience exposure, and career development opportunities. The Choral Society is proud to have encouraged many of Canada’s most accomplished concert artists to find success with audiences across the country through this initiative. Many of our past laureates are now appearing on opera and concert stages across North America and Europe. Find out more.
The Ottawa Choral Society has sponsored OCS Open Vocal Class (Operatic Voice) class at the Ottawa Kiwanis Music Festival from its very early days. The trophy that is awarded today was made by Mr. Art Price in 1960 to replace the original trophy. After OCS President Ivan C. Hardy died suddenly in August 1960, the trophy was dedicated to his memory, and presented for the first time the following year. Many Ivan C. Hardy laureates enjoy illustrious singing careers today, including Gerald Finley, Julie Nesrallah, and Wallis Giunta. View Ivan C. Hardy laureates here.