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Called “the world’s reigning male chorus,” by the New Yorker magazine, and named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America in 2008, Chanticleer will perform more than 100 concerts in 2010-11, the GRAMMY Award-winning ensemble’s 33rd Season. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for their “tonal luxuriance and crisply etched clarity,” Chanticleer will tour to Canada and 22 of the United States, including appearances at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National American Choral Directors Association Conference in Chicago. In early 2010, Chanticleer gave 14 concerts in 11 European countries, appearing at many of Europe’s legendary concert halls. In June, Chanticleer returned to Shanghai (after its May 2009 China debut tour) as part of the San Francisco delegation to Expo 2010. Other highlights of the 2009-10 season were Chanticleer’s first National Youth Choral Festival in San Francisco in March, residencies at two American Choral Directors Association conferences, the release of a new recording – “Best of Chanticleer,” and an appearance on “Prairie Home Companion.”
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 30-concert 2010-11 Bay Area Season opens in September with Out of This World!…songs exploring our eternal fascination with the beyond, including a new composition by Mason Bates, and a new arrangement of Little Grey Girlfriend’s “Cells Planets.” Chanticleer’s busy Christmas season will include the release of a new CD of Christmas music, performances of its beloved A Chanticleer Christmas around the country and the Bay Area, and the program’s broadcast on over 225 national public radio stations. This seasons’ program will feature the world premiere performances of Jan Sandstrom’s “And the word became flesh” commissioned by Chanticleer for Christmas. The season continues with The Boy whose Father was God a biography in music of Jesus of Nazareth including newly commissioned works by Roxanna Panufnik and Peter Michaelides, and many pieces new to Chanticleer’s repertoire. The season will end with Romantic Chanticleer featuring often-requested music by Eric Whitacre, Gustav Mahler, Francis Poulenc and others.
Chanticleer’s recordings are distributed by Chanticleer, Rhino Records, I-tunes among others, and are available on Chanticleer’s website, www.chanticleer.org. New this season will be A Chanticleer Christmas – favorite Christmas music from live performances as broadcast on American Public Media. Let it Snow, a collection of Christmas music released in 2007, was on the Billboard charts for twelve weeks. Colors of Love won the GRAMMY® Award in 2000 for Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor) and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for Best Classical Album. The world-premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises was released in January 2002 to critical acclaim and garnered two GRAMMY® awards for Classical Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor) and for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The DVD Mission Road: Our Journey Back has been extensively broadcast on public television. 2009 saw the release of the DVD Fireside Christmas with Chanticleer – a ‘burning log’ accompanied by favorite Chanticleer Christmas songs as well as Best of Chanticleer, a compilation with three new tracks including Mahler’s “Ich bin der welt” and Gershwin’s “Summertime.”
With the help of individual contributions and foundation and corporate support, the Ensemble involves over 5000 young people annually in its extensive education program which includes 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 seventy 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. In 1999, Christine Bullin joined Chanticleer as President & General Director. Music Director Emeritus Joseph Jennings joined the ensemble as a countertenor in 1983, and shortly thereafter assumed the title of Music Director which he held until his retirement in 2008. Mr. Jennings has arranged some of Chanticleer’s most popular repertoire, most notably spirituals, gospel music, and jazz standards. In 2008, tenor Matthew D. Oltman was named Music Director.
Chanticleer is the current recipient of major grants from The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine 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.