Press & Blog

Ben Johns works with Stanford Chamber Chorale

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Chanticleer has a two part master class with the Stanford Chamber Chorale this season.  Last night Ben Johns, Chanticleer’s Education Director went to work with the chorale and reported that lots of fun was had.  The singers were excellent musicians, he said,  versatile and technically on point.  They worked on four pieces:  Hawley’s arrangement of “Beautiful River,” the first moment of Howell’s “Requiem, Stacey Gibb’s “Get Away Jordan,” and Antognini’s “There will come soft rains.”  The second installment of our
work with Stanford this year will be when the ensemble visits in May.unnamedunnamed-1

Cortez and Nate meet a mentor before heading out to Kansas City

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Yes, wrong direction, World Series-wise, but duty calls and we head out today for Kansas City and a performance at St. Joseph Church tomorrow night.  Seems like only yesterday we were in Sweden -and in fact it was only last Friday when we came back from that two weeks trip. After KC, there’s St. Louis, Holdrege, Nebraska and Morrow, GA for our appearance at the fantastic Spivey Hall  which is a long time Chanticleer presenter.  In Nate Pence’s rather unusual first few months as a member of Chanticleer, he has only appeared in Europe.  This will be his first ‘domestic’ tour.

The night before departure Cortez and Nate had dinner with famed countertenor David Daniels who is in SF appearing in Partenope at the Opera.  Cortez said of Davd:   “He has been an inspiration to us all, and a recording of his gave me hope and helped me switch to study as a counter tenor some 14 years ago.


LAB XII Meets some young composers

Monday, October 20th, 2014
Chanticleer is currently running it’s biannual composing competition. First prize will be the performance of the winning composition at our National Youth Choral Festival March 30, 2015. As part of the project, Education Director Ben Johns is introducing LAB XII to a number of finalist composers in workshops in which LAB XII reads the new work for the composer. Pictured below is last Saturday’s get -together with Spencer Robelen. Ben reports: This Saturday marked the second rehearsal during which a student composer visited LAB XII. On Oct. 11, Jihyun Kim from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University flew out to work with us on her piece, “Lullaby for Sleepless Nights.” This Saturday, Oct. 18, Spencer Robelen from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami worked on his piece, “Like an Eagle.” Both workshops yielded great insight into the composing process in general and into the inspiration for these works in particular. Each composer also pointed out important details in the score to observe, to which the singers adapted quickly! For Spencer, a 21 year old senior who grew up in Florida, this was his first time in California and the flight over was the longest he had ever experienced. He started composing in high school with a desire to write scores for film and musical theater. He now has his sights on a graduate composition program at NYU. LAB XII will premiere “Like an Eagle” this weekend (Oct. 14 and 15 at 7pm) as a part of Miramonte High School’s Performers for Progress show ( The show features new performances produced by students. Proceeds from the concert go to the Calli House in Richmond, a shelter for young adults facing adversity. Work with student composers will continue this Saturday, when Kari Betton of Columbia College Chicago visits to work with LAB XII on her piece, “Morning Psalm.” All of the new works for LAB XII are finalists in Chanticleer’s Student Composer Competition. The competition remains open for submissions until Nov. 1. The next LAB session will continue work with student composers, more finalists from the competition. The top composition will be performed at Chanticleer’s National Youth Choral Festival in March by 350 high schoolers and Chanticleer on the stage of Davies Symphony Hall. All finalists and the top winner will be announced on Dec. 1.



Last evening in Sweden at the Lund Choral Festival

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
The weather turned rainy and cold this morning, as if to suggest we go home to San Francisco. We pulled out of our chateau after a luxurious night – as you have in places like that, and drove down to Lund where we appeared in the Cathedral as part of the Lund Choral Festival. Great place to sing, packed hall, big finish. Ragnar Bohlin was in Lund and came to our concert. Good to have a few post-concert beers with him; we start working together shortly on Christmas of which he is the music director this year. Thanks to Mats Brostrom and the International Chamber Music Alliance of Sweden for organizing this tour; we had a great time.





Alan’s birthday in Vara

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Vara is very beautiful and bucolic; a five hour bus ride from Stockholm. The population of Vara itself is less than 4,000, so the 250 odd people we had in the Vara Concert Hall were over 5% of the population! We’re staying in a Chateau called Bjertorp slott in Kvanum which is very grand, and provided the unexpectedly perfect location for Alan’s birthday treat of some very very fancy scotch. ( He’s not sad in the picture, just overcome by emotion at the very whiff of his drink.)