For Immediate Release


“Few groups of vocal or instrumental persuasion could equal the cohesive precision, stylistic acuity and sheer tonal beauty that these dozen gents achieve as a matter of musical course.” – Cleveland Plain Dealer


SAN FRANCISCO – August 18, 2008 – Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by New Yorker magazine, and named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, Chanticleer will perform more than 100 concerts in 27 states across America in 2008-09, the Grammy Award-winning ensemble’s 31st season. Chanticleer’s debut in the People’s Republic of China will take place in three mainland cities in May of 2009.

Chanticleer launches its new season with the release of The Mission Road. The CD + DVD release, available from Warner Classics on August 26, explores California’s vibrant mission period, showcasing music that would have been heard in and around the historic mission churches two centuries ago. The mission churches were the centers of religious, social and cultural activity in the region at that time, and the music from that period and place is only now being discovered and appreciated. Included on the album is music of “America’s Handel,” the Mexican-born Manuel de Sumaya, who is responsible for introducing many of the most up-to-date trends of the High Baroque to the New World. Chanticleer performed the music heard on the new album on a tour of nine California missions last season. The Los Angeles Times called the program “a revelation of the West Coast spirit.” The new recording joins the ensemble’s acclaimed discography for a total of 26 CD and video titles.

Chanticleer’s first concerts in the new season will be given in their home market, San Francisco’s Bay Area, where the group will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the first American song with a program entitled “Wondrous Free.” Francis Hopkinson penned the song “My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free” in 1759 and Chanticleer’s program will present a rich panorama of American song. Highlights include works by William Billings, Juan de Lienas, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Stephen Foster, Samuel Barber, Eric Whitacre and a newly commissioned work by David Conte, The Homecoming, in memory of Martin Luther King. The first performance of “Wondrous Free” will be given in Berkeley on September 25, and it will be Chanticleer’s primary tour program throughout the season including a concert on April 15 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

One of the group’s most beloved programs, “A Chanticleer Christmas,” returns on November 29, and will feature 25 performances across the country including multiple performances in the Medieval Sculpture Hall at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (December 3 – 7) as well as Chicago (December 1, presented by the Chicago Symphony) and at Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall (December 16). With its beautiful blend of traditional carols, medieval and Renaissance sacred works, and moving spirituals, the program has become a holiday classic from coast to coast. Last season, Chanticleer’s latest holiday album, Let It Snow, was a Top 5 Billboard bestseller, and Chanticleer performed selections from the album on the Today show, the nation’s top-rated morning television program. A writer for the New Yorker summed it up succinctly: “No one does a better choral Christmas than the virtuoso male voices of Chanticleer.”

Composers/Our Age,” the second program of Chanticleer’s 28-concert Bay Area season, will be premiered in March and features new compositions commissioned from three prodigious young composers: Shawn Crouch, Tarik O’Regan, and Mason Bates. Chanticleer’s finale Bay Area season program, “The Divine Orlando,” showcases exquisitely expressive music of the Franco-Flemish Renaissance master Orlando di Lasso (1532? – 1594).

With the help of individual contributions, and foundation and corporate support, the group brings the gift of singing to young people by conducting an extensive education program, including in-school clinics and workshops. Chanticleer’s Youth Choral Festival™ will take place in San Francisco on October 24. Other programs include master classes for university students nationwide and the Chanticleer in Sonoma summer workshop for adult choral singers. 2008 saw the release of The Singing Life, a DVD focusing on Chanticleer’s Youth Choral Festival™.

Chanticleer’s long-standing commitment to commissioning and performing new music was recognized in 2008 by the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming for the 2006-07 Season, in which the group premiered ten new works. To date, the group has commissioned 70 composers – past commissions include works by Mark Adamo, Chen Yi, Régis Campo, David Conte, Douglas J. Cuomo, Brent Michael Davids, Anthony Davis, Kamran Ince, Guido López-Gavilán, William Hawley, Jake Heggie, Jackson Hill, Jeeyoung Kim, Tania León, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Michael McGlynn, John Musto, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Steven Sametz, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierez, Paul Schoenfield, Steven Stucky, John Tavener, Augusta Read Thomas, and Janika Vandervelde.

The 2007-08 season also brought Chanticleer three other prestigious awards. In December, Chanticleer received the 2008 Musical America Award for Ensemble of the Year. The award was especially notable because it marked the first time a vocal ensemble had been so recognized. In May, Chanticleer’s long-time Music Director, Joseph Jennings, was recognized as one of ASCAP’s four 2008 Concert Music Honorees. In June, in addition to the Adventurous Programming Award, Chanticleer was also honored at the National Performing Arts Conference in Denver with the inaugural Dale Warland Commissioning Award. Other highlights of Chanticleer’s previous season included two extensive and highly successful European tours, which included a return to Vienna’s legendary Musikverein, and the world-premiere of Chen Yi’s From the Path of Beauty, commissioned by Chanticleer and the Shanghai Quartet for their respective 30th and 25th anniversaries. Following the work’s first performance the San Francisco Chronicle ran an enthusiastic review under the headline,“Chen Yi woos with a seductive and distinctive Beauty.”

Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis A. 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 and General Director. Artistic Advisor Joseph Jennings joined the ensemble as a countertenor in 1983, and shortly thereafter assumed the title of Music Director, which he held until 2008. 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. In 2008, Matthew Oltman was named Music Director.

Chanticleer is the recipient of major grants from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, Meet The Composer, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, 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.

A list of Chanticleer’s fall 2008 engagements follow below. Chanticleer’s full season calendar and other information is available at