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 2011-12, the GRAMMY Award-winning ensemble’s 34th season. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for their “tonal luxuriance and crisply etched clarity,” Chanticleer will tour to 21 of the United States, appearing in a wide variety of venues including Walt Disney Concert Hall, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. A summer trip to Europe encompasses prestigious festivals such as Edinburgh, La Chaise Dieu, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein and Rheingau in August. On a 10-country tour in early 2012 the ensemble will return to Europe’s most renowned concert halls, including the Musikverein (Vienna,) Bela Bartok Concert Hall (Budapest,) Concertgebouw (Amsterdam,) Philharmonic Hall (Vilnius.) Exciting events this season will include Chanticleer's performance on the soundtrack of the 10th anniversary release by Microsoft of its legendary video game HALO, the ensemble's first live film score performance, and a return visit to six California missions with more newly discovered music of the period.
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 2011-12 Bay Area Season opened in September with Love Story-songs exploring man’s most profound and fascinating emotion- including a new composition by Stephen Paulus and a new Vince Peterson arrangement of “Somebody to Love” by Freddy Mercury. Chanticleer’s busy Christmas season includes the release of “Our Favorite Carols” on CD and download, 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. The season continues with “What do you think I fought for” a multi-media program of music about conflict, including Brent Michael David’s score for DW Griffith’s silent “Leatherstocking.” The season-ending tour includes six of California’s beautiful and beloved missions.
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 is Our Favorite Carols– popular 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. A selection from this CD is featured in Terence Malik’s “The Tree of Life.” The “Chanticleer Live in Concert” series now includes six releases of live recordings.
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 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. 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. Tenor Matthew D. Oltman succeeded Jennings in 2008, and retired in 2011.
Chanticleer is the current recipient of major grants from The Carol Franc Buck Foundation, 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, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Rabo Bank, and U.S. Artists International. Chanticleer’s activities as a not-for-profit corporation are supported by its administrative staff and Board of Trustees.