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Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker magazine, the Grammy-winning ensemble CHANTICLEER embarks upon its 37th season in 2014/15, performing in 25 of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for their “tonal luxuriance and crisply etched clarity,” Chanticleer – based in San Francisco – is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for the seamless blend of its twelve male voices ranging from countertenor to bass and its original interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music.
Chanticleer’s 25-concert 2014/15 Bay Area season opened in September with The Gypsy in My Soul, featuring music by Gabrieli, Palestrina, Victoria, Poulenc, Villa-Lobos, Ligeti, Falla, Ellington, Gershwin, Jobim, and Weill. A Chanticleer Christmas is in high demand at the Christmas season with performances from coast to coast in venues including New York’s St. Ignatius Loyola, Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and churches and missions in the San Francisco Bay Area. A Chanticleer Christmas is broadcast annually on over 300 affiliated public radio stations nationwide. June sees Chanticleer return to its early music roots with music of Spain’s brilliant golden age in Spanish Gold.
Chanticleer’s National Youth Choral Festival – at which 300 high school choral singers from across the country will join Chanticleer for five days of learning and singing – will have its finale in Ralph K. Davies Symphony Hall on March 30, 2015. Inaugurated in 2010, the National Youth Choral Festival is part of Chanticleer’s extensive nation-wide outreach to students. With the help of individual contributions, foundation, and corporate support, the Ensemble involves over 5,000 young people annually. The Louis A. Botto (LAB) Choir – an after-school honors program for high school and college students – is now in its fifth year, adding to the ongoing program of in-school clinics and workshops, Chanticleer Youth Choral Festivals™ in the Bay Area and around the country, master classes for university students nationwide, and the biannual Chanticleer in Sonoma summer workshop for adult choral singers. The Singing Life – a documentary about Chanticleer’s work with young people – was released in 2008. In 2010, Chanticleer’s education program was recognized by the Chorus America Education Outreach Award.
Since Chanticleer began releasing recordings in 1981, the group has sold well over a million and won two Grammys. Chanticleer’s recordings are distributed by Chanticleer, Naxos, Rhino Records, Arkiv, and iTunes among others, and are available on Chanticleer’s website, chanticleer.org. Chanticleer will release a live recording of The Gypsy in My Soul on its Chanticleer Live in Concert (CLIC) series.
Chanticleer’s long-standing commitment to commissioning and performing new works was honored in 2008 by the inaugural Dale Warland/Chorus America Commissioning Award and the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. Among the over 80 composers commissioned in Chanticleer’s history are Mark Adamo, Mason Bates, Régis Campo, Chen Yi, David Conte, Shawn Crouch, Douglas J. Cuomo, Brent Michael Davids, Anthony Davis, Gabriela Lena Frank, Guido López-Gavilán, Stacy Garrop, William Hawley, Jake Heggie, Jackson Hill, Kamran Ince, Jeeyoung Kim, Tania León, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Michael McGlynn, Peter Michaelides, John Musto, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Stephen Paulus, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Steven Sametz, Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez, Jan Sandström, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Stucky, John Tavener, Augusta Read Thomas, and Janike Vandervelde.
In 2014 Chorus America conferred the inaugural Brazeal Wayne Dennard Award on Chanticleer’s Music Director Emeritus Joseph H. Jennings to acknowledge his contribution to the African American choral tradition during his 25 year (1983-2009) tenure as a singer and music director with Chanticleer. The hundred-plus arrangements of African American gospel, spirituals, and jazz made by Jenning for Chanticleer have been given thousands of performances worldwide live and on broadcast, and recorded for Warner Classics and Chanticleer Records. Jennings retired from Chanticleer in 2009; his gospel and spiritual arrangements continue to be a signature part of Chanticleer’s repertoire.
Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis A. Botto, who sang in the ensemble until 1989 and served as Artistic Director until his death in 1997. Chanticleer was named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America in 2008, and installed in the American Classical Music Hall of Fame the same year.
Chanticleer, a 501-c-3 non-profit corporation, is the current recipient of major grants from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Dunard Fund/USA, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, The Wallis Foundation, The Bob Ross Foundation, Chevron, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation/USArtists International, 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.