Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by the New Yorker, the San Francisco-based GRAMMY® award-winning ensemble Chanticleer has just celebrated the 40th anniversary of its 1978 founding. During the 2019-20 season Chanticleer will perform 57 concerts in 28 of the United States and Puerto Rico, 21 concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area, and 10 on a European tour to Germany, France, Poland, and Italy. At the end of the 2019-20 season, Chanticleer will return to Australia for the first time since 1997 for 10 concerts in 8 cities, and make its debut in New Zealand
Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “tonal luxuriance and crisply etched clarity,” Chanticleer is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for its seamless blend of 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 2019-20 season is the fifth under the direction of Music Director William Fred Scott. Trade Winds features songs from exotic climes and the music of seagoing peoples. Chanticleer’s popular A Chanticleer Christmas is heard this season in Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Illinois before coming home for performances in the Bay Area and Southern California. A Chanticleer Christmas is broadcast annually on over 300 affiliated public radio stations nationwide. Paradise, exploring the many facets of heaven, ends the season with a world premiere by composer Steven Sametz.
Inaugurated last season in the Bay Area, Chanticleer’s Salon Series has offered intimate experiences in unusual locations. The 2019-20 seasons opens with a Salon Series performance of Trade Winds at the Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito, and continues with Inside Chanticleer, a 5-part, one of a kind look behind Chanticleer’s music.
With the help of individual contributions, government, foundation and corporate support, Chanticleer’s education programs engaged over 8,000 last season. Primary and middle school students have received special attention, and Chanticleer’s Louis A. Botto (LAB) Choir activities reach hundreds of high schoolers each year. Other activities of Chanticleer’s award winning education program include workshops given around the country as the ensemble tours, : Youth Choral Festivals™ in the Bay Area and around the country; Skills/LAB–an intensive summer workshop for 50 high school students; master classes for university students nationwide. Chanticleer’s educational programs were recognized with the 2010 Chorus America Education Outreach Award.
Since the group began releasing recordings in 1981, it has sold well over a million albums and won two GRAMMY® awards. Chanticleer’s recordings are distributed by Warner Classics, Chanticleer Records, Naxos, ArkivMusic, Amazon, and iTunes among others, and are available on Chanticleer’s website: www.chanticleer.org. “Then and There, Here and Now” Chanticleer’s most recent studio recording, was recorded for Warner Classics.
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 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 sixty composers commissioned are Mark Adamo, Matthew Aucoin, 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, Nico Muhly, John Musto, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Stephen Paulus, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Steven Sametz, Carlos Sanchez-Guttierez, Jan Sandström, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Sametz, Steven Stucky, John Tavener, Augusta Read Thomas, Janike Vandervelde and Zhou Tian.
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 became known first for its interpretations of Renaissance music, and was later a pioneer in the revival of the South American baroque, recording several award-winning titles in that repertoire. Chanticleer was named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America in 2008, and inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame the same year. William Fred Scott was named Music Director in 2014. 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 educator.
Chanticleer—a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation—is the current recipient of major grants from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Dunard Fund/USA, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 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.