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SAN FRANCISCO, January 20, 2011 - Chanticleer, the renowned 12-member a cappella ensemble described by The New Yorker as “the world’s reigning male chorus,” presents a provocative look at The Boy Whose Father was God, in a musical re-telling of the life of one of the most influential figures in history, Jesus of Nazareth. It will be presented at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light on March 26; St. Francis Church in Sacramento on March 27; St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica in San Jose on March 31; and at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on April 1.
Dramatic new works have been commissioned to supplement profound and evocative reflections by Henryk Gorecki, Zoltán Kodály, Arvo Pärt, Ivan Moody, Jan Gilbert and Mason Bates. They are by Roxanna Panufnik on the childhood of Jesus (“Let me in,” poetry by Jessica Duchen) based on an Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a non-canonic gospel that circulated in the early Christian Church; Peter Michaelides on his actual death (“Force IX-Collage”); and a new setting of “The Lord’s Prayer” in Aramaic by San Francisco-based composer Ilyas Iliya.  
“Over the years composers wrote primarily for the church, and naturally focused on the divine figurehead of Christianity,” stated Chanticleer’s Music Director, Matthew Oltman. “Little was written about the flesh and blood man -- the focus of this program. Almost all the works to be performed are in English, and most are new to Chanticleer.”
Roxanna Panufnik is one of the UK's most popular composers whose works have struck a deep emotional chord with audiences everywhere. Since studying composition at London's Royal Academy of Music, she has written a wide range of pieces including opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, chamber compositions and music for film and television. Her credits include Westminster Mass, commissioned for Westminster Cathedral Choir; The Music Programme, an opera for Polish National Opera's millennium season; and settings for solo voices and orchestra of Vikram Seth's Beastly Tales. Other recent compositions include her critically acclaimed harp concerto Powers & Dominions; Letters from Burma for oboist Douglas Boyd and the Vellinger String Quartet; and Abraham - a violin concerto incorporating Christian, Islamic and Jewish music. This last work was converted into an overture, commissioned by the World Orchestra for Peace and premiered in Jerusalem under the baton of Valery Gergiev. She is currently writing a new Four Seasons for violinist Tasmin Little, and her fourth mass setting for the amassed youth choirs of Tallinn & Tallinn Philharmonic.  
Greek-born American composer Peter Michaelides is now based in New Mexico after retiring from a tenured position on the faculty of music at the University of Northern Iowa. There he began to compose utilizing serial techniques, which he applied in Perspectives (1967) a song cycle for soprano and piano. He also enjoyed the availability of excellent musicians and singers, and composed Lamentations of Jeremiah for double wind band, double symphonic chorus, soloists, expanded percussion section, and speaking chorus, followed by a series of works named Forces for a large number of musicians and singers. More recent works include Forces VII – Collage, for 21-voice choir, commissioned b the Santa Fe Desert Chorale; Four Nocturnes for Harpsichord; Planet Forces for soprano and chamber orchestra; and The Marriage of Color and Sound for solo piano inspired by a set of paintings by French artist Jean-Claude Gaudy. He completed a setting of “Gospodi pomilui” (the 40-fold Lord have Mercy) for the Konovets Vocal Quartet from St. Petersburg, Russia, and was commissioned to write a setting of “O angelos evoa” by the choir of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Portland for its 2007 centenary celebration.
Lebanese-born Ilyas Iliya studied classical guitar, piano and cello and has been particularly drawn to writing choral, vocal and chamber music.  His choral works have been performed in San Francisco, New York and Hawaii (ACDA).  The most recent commission by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Safeer el-Layl, debuted at Davies Symphony Hall; the premiere received overwhelming audience response and garnered critical acclaim. Performers of his choral works have included San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Robert Geary’s Ancora, Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, The Brearley School Chorus and Absalon.  He collaborated with choreographer Lea Wolf to create a score for productions at San Francisco’s ODC Theater. June 2008, his first film score contribution debuted in All My Life, a pioneering Egyptian film premiering at the Frameline International San Francisco LGBT Film Festival.  More recent works include explorations of chant and sacred liturgy recorded in historic acoustic environments. 
Chanticleer has developed a worldwide reputation for its impeccable musicianship, beauty of sound, and wide-ranging repertoire from Renaissance and Mexican Baroque to jazz, gospel, folk, and adventurous new music. Chanticleer Records releases, live and studio recordings on CD and in downloads, may be found through the organization’s website:
Tickets ($20 - $44) to all concerts may be obtained through City Box Office, 415/392-4400 or 800/407-1400 and online at Additional information may also be found on the website:
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Calendar Editors, please note:

Chanticleer presents a provocative look at
The Boy Whose Father Was God
A musical re-telling of the life of Jesus
Saturday, March 26, 2011, 8:15 pm
Cathedral of Christ in the Light, Oakland
Sunday, March 27, 5 pm
St. Francis Church, Sacramento
Thursday, March 31, 8 pm
St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica, San Jose
Friday, April 1, 8 pm
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Tkts: $20 - $44
Box Office: 415/392-4400 or 800/407-1400
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