Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by the New Yorker, the San Francisco based Grammy® award-winning ensemble Chanticleer celebrates its 39th season in 2016-17, performing 52 concerts in 24 of the United States, 27 in the San Francisco Bay Area, and 15 in Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for their “tonal luxuriance and crisply etched clarity,” Chanticleer is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for the seamless blend of its twelve male voices ranging from soprano to bass and its original interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz and popular genres, as well as contemporary composition.
Chanticleer’s 2016-17 Bay Area Season is the second under the direction of Music Director William Fred Scott, and opened in September with My Secret Heart featuring a world premiere by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, music by Palestrina, Guerrero, L’Heritier, de Monte, Glinka, Taneyev, Rachmaninoff, Augusta Read Thomas and others. John Musto, Evan Price, and Adam Ward contribute new arrangements of popular songs. Chanticleer’s popular A Chanticleer Christmas will be heard in New York, Chicago, and New Jersey before coming home for 14 performances in the Bay Area and Southern California. A Chanticleer Christmas is broadcast annually on over 300 affiliated public radio stations nationwide. The Bay Area season in March reunites Chanticleer with Nadia Salerno Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra in Americans in Paris; a sequel to their much-admired first collaboration Atlantic Crossing in 2014. The Bay Area season concludes with Psalm; a reflective collection of sacred works featuring Pulitzer Prize winner John Harbison’s first composition for the group.
With the help of individual contributions, government, foundation and corporate support, Chanticleer’s education programs engage 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 seventh year, adding to the ongoing program of in-school clinics and workshops; Youth Choral Festivals™ in the Bay Area and around the country; Skills/LAB–an intensive summer workshop for 100 high school students; master classes for university students nationwide; and the Chanticleer in Sonoma summer workshop for adult choral singers in June 2016. The Singing Life—a documentary about Chanticleer’s work with young people—was released in 2008. Chanticleer’s education program was recognized with the 2010 Chorus America Education Outreach Award.
Since Chanticleer began releasing recordings in 1981, the group has sold well over a million albums and won two Grammy® awards. Chanticleer’s recordings are distributed by Chanticleer Records, Naxos, ArkivMusic, Amazon, and iTunes among others, and are available on Chanticleer’s website: www.chanticleer.org. Chanticleer will release a live recording of My Secret Heart on its Chanticleer Live in Concert (CLIC) series.
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 Jennings for Chanticleer have been given thousands of performances worldwide—live and on broadcast—and have been recorded by Chanticleer for Warner Classics and Chanticleer Records.
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 eighty 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, John Harbison, 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.
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 inducted in the American Classical Music Hall of Fame the same year. William Fred Scott begins his tenure as Chanticleer’s fifth Music Director in 2015. A native of Georgia, Scott is the former Assistant Conductor to Robert Shaw at the Atlanta Symphony, former Artistic Director of the Atlanta Opera, an organist and choir director.
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. Chanticleer’s activities as a not-for-profit corporation are supported by its administrative staff and Board of Trustees.