Grammy-Winning Vocal Ensemble’s 32nd Season Includes More Than 100 Concerts in U.S., Europe and at Shanghai’s Expo 2010, including Return Engagements at Vienna’s Famed Musikverein, New York’s Metropolitan Museum, and Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall
“The reigning gods of the men’s chorus world.” – Washington Post
SAN FRANCISCO, August 10, 2009 – Called “stunningly expert” by the New Yorker, and named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, Chanticleer will give more than 100 concerts in the United States, Europe and China during its 32nd season. In addition to its far-ranging touring activities, Chanticleer’s ongoing and extensive education program will be especially prominent this season, reaching new heights with Chanticleer’s first National Youth Choral Festival™. The climactic event in the four-day festival will be “The Singing Life” at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall on March 29, 2010. At this extraordinary event, Chanticleer will perform with a dozen invited high school choirs comprising more than 300 students from the Bay Area and across the country. “The Singing Life” is part of Chanticleer’s expanded season in its home territory, where it will present three other new programs: “In Time Of... Songs of Love & Loss, War & Peace,” “A Chanticleer Christmas,” and “For Thy Soul's Salvation: Music for England 's Monarchs.”
In addition to Chanticleer Youth Choral Festivals™ in the Bay Area and around the country, the ensemble regularly gives in-school clinics and workshops, master-classes for university students nationwide, and the Chanticleer in Sonoma summer workshop for adult choral singers. This season, the group will preside over eleven interactive educational events beginning on September 30 in Rockford, Illinois; one such event in Vienna, Austria, in January precedes a third return performance by the ensemble at the renowned Musikverein. Regional Youth Choral Festivals™ will also be held in San Francisco , CA (October 23), Darien , CT (March 9) and Lima , Ohio (April 23). Chanticleer will also participate in and perform at two meetings of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA): the Central Division conference in Cincinnati , OH (February 25, 26) and the Western Division conference in Tucson , AZ (March 4 and 5).
Chanticleer’s mission and remarkable ability to inspire young singers from across America was documented last season in The Singing Life, which has aired extensively on public television stations and is now available on DVD. The ensemble began its education program (originally called “Singing in the Schools”) in 1986, and with the help of individual contributions and foundation and corporate support, the program has evolved and grown substantially.
As well as giving concerts in and around San Francisco ’s Bay area, Chanticleer will continue its far-ranging touring activities throughout the new season. Criss-crossing America from coast to coast, Chanticleer will perform in cities and venues both large and small, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall during its annual holiday tour, as well as spring concerts in Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall and Boston’s Jordan Hall. Chanticleer’s first concerts in the New Year will be in Europe, where the ensemble will perform in 16 cities from Paris (January 22) and Amsterdam’s famed Concertgebouw (February 3) to Bohemia (January 27, 28, 29) and the Baltics (Riga, Latvia, on February 8 and Vilnius, Lithuania on February 10). For the second season running, Chanticleer will perform in China , this year giving multiple performances at the Shanghai’s Expo 2010 (June 11-14).
In the Bay Area, where the group is based, Chanticleer expands its offerings, presenting four unique programs this season. The 24 ‘home’ concerts will bring the ensemble to five new local venues. The first program, “In Time Of... Songs of Love & Loss, War & Peace”, showcases Chanticleer’s trademark versatility in an exploration of music through the centuries inspired by the most profound human experiences, from Renaissance masters such Palestrina, Dufay and Janequin to modern works by composers such as Ligeti, Chen Yi, Sametz, McGlynn, Bates, Gershwin and others. “In time of…” will be Chanticleer’s main touring program this season.
“A Chanticleer Christmas”, always the group’s most popular program, returns with 25 performances beginning in Fairfax , VA on November 28. With its beautiful blend of traditional carols, medieval and Renaissance sacred works, and lively spirituals, the program has become a holiday classic across the country, documented on a number of best-selling recordings and a DVD recorded at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and broadcast widely on public television. A writer for the New Yorker summed it up succinctly: “No one does a better choral Christmas than the virtuoso male voices of Chanticleer.”
Spring offerings include “The Singing Life”, the National Youth Choral Festival™ performance at Davies Symphony Hall (March 29), and “For Thy Soul's Salvation: Music for England's Monarchs”, surveying 16th- and 17th-century music by William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Robert Parsons, Henry Purcell and others, written at the time of the Tudor and Stuart monarchies.
After 15 years under exclusive contract to Warner Records, Chanticleer will start in 2009 to release recordings in collaboration with several distributors. In October, Best of Chanticleer, a compilation featuring three new tracks, will be released by Rhino. Chanticleer’s discography currently boasts 26 titles. Its most recent recording for Warner, a CD+DVD release entitled The Mission Road, explored California’s vibrant mission period two centuries ago and was, like so many of its recordings, a Billboard bestseller. The Mission Road DVD aired on a number of public television stations. Colors of Love (2000) and the world-premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises (2002) were Grammy® Award-winners.
Chanticleer’s long-standing commitment to commissioning and performing new music was recognized in 2008 by the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming for the 2006-07 season, in which the group premiered ten new works. To date, the group has commissioned 70 composers; past commissions include works by Mark Adamo, Chen Yi, Régis Campo, David Conte, Douglas J. Cuomo, Brent Michael Davids, Anthony Davis, Kamran Ince, Guido López-Gavilán, William Hawley, Jake Heggie, Jackson Hill, Jeeyoung Kim, Tania León, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Michael McGlynn, John Musto, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Steven Sametz, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierez, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Stucky, John Tavener, Augusta Read Thomas, and Janika Vandervelde.
Chanticleer’s previous season had many highlights, including the group’s induction, in October 2008, into the Classical Music Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, OH. In December, while on tour across the country with its beloved “A Chanticleer Christmas” program, the group made its fourth consecutive yearly appearance on NBC’s Today show. In March, to celebrate its 31st season, Chanticleer performed the world premieres of works by Mason Bates, Shawn Crouch and Tarik O’Regan (three composers in their thirties) to great acclaim. The group’s debut tour of China followed in May, with Chanticleer giving performances in five cities. A summer tour featured the group’s debut in Ireland and return engagements in Germany and France .
Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis A. Botto, who sang with the group until 1989 and served as Artistic Director until his death in 1997. In 1999, Christine Bullin joined Chanticleer as President and General Director. In 2008, Matthew Oltman, a tenor who sang for ten years with the ensemble, was named Music Director. Long-time Music Director Joseph Jennings, who joined the ensemble as a countertenor in 1983, and shortly thereafter assumed the title of Music Director, retired at the end of the 2008-09 season and was named Music Director Emeritus.
Chanticleer is the recipient of major grants from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, The Hearst Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Chanticleer’s activities as a not-for-profit corporation are supported by its administrative staff and Board of Trustees.