Press & Blog

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.)







So much to do in beautiful Stockholm

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
The sun shone on most of our free day in Stockholm which came just at the right moment to rest us up for the last two days of this jam-packed tour. Those three indefatigable tourists Matthew, Cortez, and Michael headed out early for the Vasa Museum which is fantastic – a gorgeous ship from the era of some of our earliest music ( 17th century) which was launched with great fanfare, sailed for 20 minutes then capsized and sank. It was dredged up in l961, meticulously preserved, and amazing to see. The ABBA museum is nearby, and who could resist. The Royal Palace is another great attraction, where Marques spent most of his day being sure to see everything which will be thoroughly documented on Facebook. . The culinary thrill seekers ( e.g. Ben and Eric) had a memorable dinner in a starry restaurant with six courses, but no wine, since the price of alcohol in Sweden is something you wouldn’t believe. It’s a fascinating city and we’re glad we had some time to see it before shoving off for Vara where apparently we are going to stay in a castle.









Two concerts in the Musikaliska Concert Hall

Monday, October 13th, 2014
We had a 3pm program for students scheduled today. Apparently the students couldn’t come, but about 50 other interested people did, and we gave a 45 minute lecture-demo for them. Barbro Osher, Consul General of Sweden in San Francisco who foundation supported us for this tour, is in Stockholm now and came along. It’s always great to see somebody from home. Back to the hotel then back to the hall for the 7pm concert in this warm and comfortable hall which is the oldest concert hall in Stockholm and which contained the most demonstrative audience we’ve seen in Sweden, rivaling demonstrative audiences anywhere in the world. There were quite a few choral people there, as well as students, for example from the Sodra Latin gymnasium. Whooping and hollering broke out almost immediately and followed every number we did. A nice way to head into our free day here tomorrow. There’s so much to see and we’ll be trying to pack it all in.