On Nov. 15, 1964, a new choral ensemble gave its first performance. The Cantata Singers took their name from the cantatas of J.S. Bach, and it was the ensemble’s mission to “perform and preserve” those works, which at the time were played far less often than today. And so three cantatas were presented under the direction of Leo Collins at that first concert: BWV 131 “Aus der Tiefen,” BWV 82 “Ich habe genug,” and BWV 72 “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen.”
Now a pillar of the Boston music scene, the Cantata Singers will perform those same three cantatas on Sept. 20, the first concert in the group’s 50th-anniversary season. The four-concert season, announced on Friday , shows the ensemble both revisiting its history and exploring new horizons.