Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker magazine, the Grammy® award winning ensemble Chanticleer embarks upon its 39th season in 2016-17. Chanticleer performs over 100 concerts in the U.S. and around the world annually. The Boston Globe said of Chanticleer “(Their singing) is breathtaking in its accuracy of intonation, purity of blend, variety of color and swagger of style.” Chanticleer – based in San Francisco – is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for the seamless blend of its 12 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.
Under the direction of Music Director William Fred Scott, Chanticleer will perform this season in 52 cities in 22 of the United States, with 26 performances in the San Francisco Bay Area, its home. A winter tour of Europe will feature returns to a number of Europe's great concert halls such as Vienna's Musikverein, Prague’s Rudolfinum, Budapest's Lizst Academy, and Dublin's National Theater, as well as a debut in Berlin's Konzerthaus. Other cities included in the tour are Paris, St. Petersburg, Pécs, Veszprém, Szeged, Somborn, Siegen, Friedrichshafen and Dachau.
The 2016-17 season in the Bay Area features a return collaboration with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra in a program called Americans in Paris. My Secret Heart, which includes a new commission by Finnish composer Jaako Mantyjärvi, opened the Bay Area season in September, and A Chanticleer Christmas will have its usual 23 performances across the United States as well as the Bay Area; it will be broadcast by American Public Media. A new program of sacred music, Psalm, featuring Pulitzer prize winner John Harbison's first work for the ensemble, will premiere in June.
With the help of individual contributions, foundation and corporate support, the Ensemble reaches over 5,000 young people each year. 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 Grammy® awards. Chanticleer’s recordings are distributed by Chanticleer, Naxos, Rhino Records, Arkiv, and iTunes among others, and are available on Chanticleer’s website, www.chanticleer.org.
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, John Harbison, 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 this 25 year (l983-2009) tenure as a singer and music director with Chanticleer. The 100-plus arrangements of African American gospel, spiritual and jazz made by Jennings for Chanticleer have been given thousands of performances worldwide live and on broadcast, and have been 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 recipient of major grants from the Amphion Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Dunard Fund/USA, The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, the Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, The Bob Ross Foundation, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and The National Endowment for the Arts.