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Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker and named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America in 2008, the Grammy-winning ensemble CHANTICLEER celebrates its 35th anniversary in the 2012/13 season, during which it will perform more than 100 concerts in 29 of the United States, in Europe, and in the Asia/Pacific region. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “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, gospel to venturesome new music.
Chanticleer’s 30-concert 2012/13 Bay Area season opened in September with “The Siren’s Call.” New works by Chen Yi and Michael McGlynn added exotic flavor to a program about the lure and danger of the unknown, which also featured a Vince Peterson arrangement of Tom Waits’ “Temptation.” Chanticleer Christmas is in high demand at the Christmas season, and is performed from coast to coast in venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and churches and missions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chanticleer’s most recent addition to its catalog of best-selling Christmas CDs is Our Favorite Carols. “A Chanticleer Christmas” is broadcast annually on over 300 affiliated public radio stations nationwide.
The 2012/13 season highlight will be a concert celebrating Chanticleer’s 35th anniversary. Singer and songwriter Nellie Mckay will join the ensemble for an evening of jazz of the 1930s. Chanticleer’s traditional year-end early music concert – taking the group back to its roots – will be “La Serenissima,” the glorious music of the Venetian Renaissance.
Since Chanticleer began releasing recordings in 1981, the group has sold well over a million copies and won two Grammys. Chanticleer’s recordings are distributed by Chanticleer, Rhino Records, and iTunes, among others, and are available on Chanticleer’s website, chanticleer.org. New this season is a new studio recording, By Request, an eclectic selection of music requested by audiences, from Byrd to indie-pop. Chanticleer also releases a live recording of its current tour program on its Chanticleer Live in Concert (CLIC) series; this year, The Siren’s Call.
With the help of individual contributions and foundation and corporate support, the ensemble involves over 5000 young people annually in its extensive education program. The 2010/11 season saw the creation of the Louis A. Botto (LAB) Choir – an after-school honors program for high school and college students which was added to the ongoing program of in-school clinics and workshops, Chanticleer Youth Choral Festivals™ in the Bay Area and around the country, including the National Youth Choral Festival every four years, master classes for university students nationwide, and the 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.
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 for the 2006/07 season, in which ten new works were premiered. Among the 70 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, Guido López-Gavilán, 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, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Steven Sametz, Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez, Jan Sandstrom, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Stucky, John Tavener, Augusta Read Thomas, and Janike Vandervelde.
Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang in the ensemble until 1989 and served as Artistic Director until his death in 1997.
Chanticleer is a current recipient of major grants from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the E. Nakamichi Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Bob Ross 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.