Hailed by the New Yorker magazine as "America's favorite choral ensemble" and praised by the Los Angeles Times for its "luxurious perfection," the GRAMMY® Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer in 2005-06 performs over 80 concerts in 16 states across the U.S., a fall tour to Japan, and a seven-country European tour in early 2006. The ensemble's 29th CD debuts in September 2005: Sound in Spirit is a powerful and unusual exploration of transcendent chant and other primal vocal expression.
Chanticleer has developed a remarkable reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music. With its seamless blend of twelve male voices, ranging from countertenor to bass, the ensemble has earned international renown as "an orchestra of voices."
Chanticleer's 26-concert Bay Area season includes EarthSongs, a program of music inspired by the beauty and power of nature; this also serves as Chanticleer's national touring program. The beloved Christmas concerts follow in December. In March 2006, Chanticleer returns to its roots in early music with concerts of a rarely-performed Renaissance marvel, Antoine Brumel's Earthquake Mass. The Bay Area season closes in June with a program by Spanish Golden Age masters Victoria and Guerrero.
A prestigious European tour in winter 2006 encompasses the ensemble's debut in Vienna's Musikverein and return appearances at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Paris' St. Roch along with concerts in the three Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Vilnius, and Riga and a premiere visit to mainland Spain.
Since 1994, Chanticleer has recorded exclusively for Warner Classics, making the group's recordings available worldwide. In 2004, the ensemble released How Sweet the Sound: Spirituals and Traditional Gospel Music featuring guest artist Bishop Yvette Flunder. 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 high praise, and garnered two GRAMMY® awards, for Classical Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor) and for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Chanticleer's three Christmas recordings are especially popular, as is the DVD of the 2002 Christmas concert at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, which is broadcast nationally on public television.
With the help of individual contributions and foundation and corporate support, the group brings the gift of singing to young people by conducting artist-in-the-schools residencies and Chanticleer Youth Choral FestivalsTM. In addition to extensive Bay Area educational activities, the ensemble conducts master classes while on tour, and in 2005-06 will conduct Chanticleer Youth Choral Festivals in San Francisco, Fresno, Minneapolis, and New Canaan, CT.
Chanticleer's long-standing commitment to developing the choral repertoire has led the group to commission works from an ever-growing list of important composers. Past commissions include works by Mark Adamo, Chen Yi, Régis Campo, David Conte, Brent Michael Davids, Anthony Davis, Guido López-Gavilán, William Hawley, Jake Heggie, Jackson Hill, Jeeyoung Kim, Tania León, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, John Musto, Bernard Rands, Steven Sametz, Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Stucky, John Tavener, and Augusta Read Thomas. Named for the "clear-singing" rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang with the group until 1989 and served as Artistic Director until his death in 1997. In 1999, Christine Bullin joined Chanticleer as President & General Director. Music Director Joseph Jennings joined the ensemble as a countertenor in 1983, and shortly thereafter assumed his current title. A prolific composer and arranger, Mr. Jennings has provided the group with some of its most popular repertoire, most notably spirituals, gospel music, and jazz standards.
Chanticleer is the recipient of major grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The Jordan Family Fund, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Chanticleer's activities as a not-for-profit corporation are supported by its administrative staff and Board of Trustees.