Lisette Canton

Lisette Canton, cheffe de chœur

Pleins feux

Lisette Canton is a choral and orchestral conductor, vocal coach and technician, guest conductor, adjudicator, workshop leader and early music specialist. She is the founder and artistic director of the Juno Award-winning Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC), and is also associate professor and head of choral music at York University in Toronto, where she conducts the Chamber Choir and Concert Choir and is in charge of the graduate program in choral music.

Prior to her appointment at York, Dr. Canton taught and conducted at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and McGill University. She has been a guest conductor at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, and, in addition to directing a large concert series in Ottawa, has taken the Ottawa Bach Choir on five successful European tours (2022, 2014, 2009, 2007 and 2005), including two invitations as the first Canadian choir to perform at the prestigious Bachfest Leipzig, in 2014 and again in 2022. Dr. Canton has conducted numerous concerts in London, Paris, Venice, Leipzig, Lübeck, Stuttgart, Bayreuth, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Amsterdam, Groningen, Ypres, Passendale, Mexico City, at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, the Winspear Centre in Edmonton and across Canada, and has prepared choirs for Franz-Paul Decker, Johannes Ullrich, Pinchas Zukerman, Helmuth Rilling and John Rutter. She was also invited to perform at the International Choral Festival at the University of Caen, France, in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004. She has taken the York University Chamber Choir on two international tours (2015, 2012) and has conducted performances with the Ottawa Bach Choir, Ensemble Caprice and the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra at the prestigious Meet in Beijing international festival in Beijing and Shanghai, China, in 2016. Dr. Canton was named the artistic director of the Canada International Choral Festival, partnering with the China International Chorus Festival for concerts, tours and collaborations in Canada and China. She was invited to conduct at Carnegie Hall in New York City in May 2019 with the New England Symphonic Ensemble, as well as to represent Canada at the III International Symposium for Women Conductors 2020, based in Brazil, and to conduct at Bachfest Leipzig 2022, with the Ottawa Bach Choir and the Pauliner Baroque Ensemble, in Leipzig, Germany.

Dr. Canton has recorded for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Radio‑Canada radio and television, and has appeared as guest conductor with numerous ensembles worldwide. Her recording with the Ottawa Bach Choir Handel: Dixit Dominus; Bach & Schütz: Motets on the ATMA Classique label, with Ensemble Caprice and countertenor Daniel Taylor, won the 2020 Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance, as well as the Choral Canada 2020 Outstanding Choral Recording award. She is a strong advocate of music education and has undertaken a number of outreach initiatives, bringing choral music to children and students from diverse backgrounds in the Ottawa–Carleton region and beyond in several communities. These have included concerts and workshops in over 55 schools.

Lisette Canton has a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Music in choral conducting from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Music in performance from McGill University. She has studied conducting with Donald Neuen, Don Moses, Fred Stoltzfus, Ann Howard Jones, Chet Alwes and Paul Vermel; voice with Jan Simons, Lorie Gratis and James Bailey; and piano with Esther Master and Dorothy Morton. She is a member of numerous professional associations and has collaborated with several musicians and arts organizations worldwide.

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