SAN FRANCISCO, February 14, 2011—For its next Bay Area concert series, the Grammy award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer breaks new ground with What Do You Think I Fought For?, the story of painful conflict in American history:  five compositions offering very personal reflections from combatants, observers, and victims. The program includes Chanticleer's first-ever film score written by composer Brent Michael Davids, a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican nation, for the 16-minute D.W. Griffith silent film Leatherstocking, expanding upon the ensemble’s reputation as an “orchestra of voices."  Performances run March 31 – April 4 in San Francisco, Berkeley and Atherton.
 Jerusalem, by noted Norwegian composer Egil Hovland, will serve to unite the other four pieces with an overarching commentary on humanity's ongoing inability to live in peace.   Each composition will be preceded by compelling and relevant spoken testimony.   
Leatherstocking is a 16-minute 1909 film by Birth of a Nation director, D.W. Griffith, based on James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans.  The vocal soundtrack for voices and hand drums was composed for Chanticleer by American Indian composer Brent Michael-Davids, who deliberately focuses on his indigenous heritage, blending Eurocentric techniques of classical music with native musical traditions. Leatherstocking was commissioned for Chanticleer with the assistance of the "Common Ground Grant Program" of the First Nations Composer Initiative, the American Indian virtual chapter of the American Composers Forum. Davids' prior work for Chanticleer includes "Night Chant" and "The Uncovered Wagon."   Leatherstocking is part of the Library of Congress paper film collection and was released to Davids for this purpose.
Credo/ani ma’amin was commissioned by Chanticleer by the Pulitzer prize- winning American composer Shulamit Ran in 2006 for inclusion in Chanticleer's ecumenical, multi-movement work of new compositions entitled And on Earth, Peace: a Chanticleer Mass. The mass was conceived by Joseph Jennings as a celebration of the life of Chanticleer's founder, Louis Botto, and recorded on an album of the same name.  Ran's work on the album was abridged; this will be the premier of the work in its entirety, as it was originally intended by the composer, and features texts that recall the Holocaust of WWII and the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. 
The Garden of Paradise by the award-winning composer Shawn Crouch was composed for Chanticleer in 2008 for a concert series entitled Composers/Our Age. It is set to the poetry of Brian Turner, a U.S. Army veteran of several wars, including the Iraq War in the early 2000s. His experiences there have been chronicled in a collection of poems entitled Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award.   Turner’smoving accounts of the war are set alongside the poetry of the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi as translated and selected by Dr. Majid Naini.
What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach? – Chanticleer presents the West Coast Premiere of Australian composer Melissa Dunphy’s powerful work based on the moving speech made by World War II veteran, 86-year-old Philip Spooner, on the senate floor of the Maine statehouse in 2009, when he appeared at a hearing on the Marriage Equality Bill.  Composer Dunphy has composed in a wide variety of styles and mediums, particularly in the realm of theatre.  Her nationally acclaimed large-scale choral work The Gonzales Cantata received rave reviews when it premiered in 2009. In 2010, What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?" won in the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Competition and was released on their  album, Go Song of Mine.
Called “America’s favorite choral ensemble,” by the New Yorker magazine, Chanticleer has just returned from a 14 city European tour which included appearances at such legendary concert halls as Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein, Budapest's Bela Bartok Concert Hall, the Prague State Opera House, and the Slovak National Theater. 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, and both may be found through the organization’s website:
What Do You Think I Fought For is presented at the Koret Auditorium at the De Young Museum in San Francisco on March 31 at 8 pm and April 1 at 2 pm; at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley on April 3 at 8 pm, and at Menlo-Atherton High School Pac Theater in Atherton on April 4 at 8 pm.  Tickets ($20 - $44) may be purchased through the box office at 415/392-4400 or online at  Discounts are available for students and seniors.
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For Calendar Editors:
March 31 April 4, 2012
Koret Auditorium, De Young Museum, San Francisco, March 31, 8 pm
Koret Auditorium, De Young Museum, San Francisco, April 1, 2 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, April 3, 8 pm
Menlo-Atherton High School Pac Theater, Atherton, April 4, 8 pm
Tickets:  $20 - $44  (Discounts available for students and seniors)
Box Office:  415/392-4400 or 800/407-1400 Online at