Founded in 1989, the Montreal Baroque Orchestra (MBO), which is specialized in the performance of repertoires dating from the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth, offers through its varied programming a panorama of orchestral and vocal music from the Baroque, Classical and pre-Romantic periods.

Conducted from the keyboard (harpsichord, organ or fortepiano) by Joël Thiffault and able to expand up to fifty musicians depending on the works performed, the MBO plays on period instruments (baroque and classical). Since its inception, the MBO has developed into an orchestra of "classical" proportions, able to perform the entire 18th-century repertoire. Several of the MBO's musicians have received national and international awards, and their endeavours have been recognized by scholarships and the mention of their work in specialized magazines and the Encyclopaedia of Music in Canada.

In addition to many appearances in Quebec, the MBO has met with great success during their tours: France (1989 and 1990), Festival International de Lanaudière (1992), CACUM "Jouer dans l'Île" (1993), "Guest Artists" series in Ontario universities (1995-1997), Maritimes (Spring 2001), Turkey (1998, 2000), Mexico (regularly since 1997), and recently, at the prestigious Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City (November 2000). Since its inception, the MBO has played for over 150 000 people and has given over 400 performances throughout the world.

The MBO has often played on Radio-Canada and the CBC. The MBO's first CD, devoted to Geminiani's opus 3 concertos (1997), which continues to garner praise from buyers and critics worldwide, is distributed internationally (US, Europe and Asia) by Harmonia Mundi. The MBO's second CD, devoted to Overtures by Handel (Atma), was released in November 1999. Music critic Alain Bénard recently wrote: "A feeling of grandeur is implicit in each of the Overtures; one gets the impression they are performed by great numbers thanks to the sustained and energetic phrasing Joël Thiffault conveys and draws from his musicians." Soon to be released, a recording featuring the chamber music of Henry Purcell.

During the 2001-2004 seasons, tours are planned to Mexico (Festival International Cervantino), USA and Canada, as well as the premières, the recording and the performance on tour of contemporary works written specially for the MBO's period instruments.