For Immediate Release


“A revelation of the West Coast spirit.” – Los Angeles Times

SAN FRANCISCO – July 21, 2008 – Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by the New Yorker, and named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, Chanticleer launches its 31st season with the release of Mission Road. The CD + DVD release, available on Warner Classics, explores California’s vibrant mission period, showcasing music that would have been heard in and around the historic mission churches two centuries ago. These 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, then part of Mexico, continues to be discovered and appreciated. That voyage of discovery began ten years ago, when Chanticleer released its enormously popular recording Mexican Baroque, followed by its sequel Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe, 1764. Like its predecessors, Mission Road transports listeners to a far-away time and place that is nonetheless an integral part of Californian and American history.

A fascinating contemporary realization of early music from “El Camino Real” (the “King’s Road,” which connected the missions), the audio CD includes: Friar Juan Bautista Sancho's Misa en sol (Mass in G); premieres of selected works by Mexican Baroque master Manuel de Sumaya (“ America's Handel”) that were only recently discovered in the archives of the Mexico City Cathedral; and various vocal compositions by anonymous Spanish/Mexican composers of the late 18th century, including pieces that were originally part of the pageantry for feast days. On a number of selections, Chanticleer is accompanied by instrumentalists, including violins, cello, harp and guitar, blending folk and traditional idioms to delightful effect.

The DVD presents the 34-minute film Mission Road – Our Journey Back, a behind-the-scenes chronicling of Chanticleer's mission era-inspired journey with concert footage, interviews, and a stunning collection of mission landscapes.

Chanticleer performed the music heard on the new album to great acclaim on a tour of nine California missions last season as part of its 30th anniversary season celebrations. The Los Angeles Times was on hand for the performance in the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission and called the program “a revelation of the West Coast spirit,” noting, “The mission music of two centuries ago sounds fresh and pure California.”

The new album was recorded at Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco. The group’s debut concert in 1978 took place in the Mission Dolores, and Chanticleer continues to perform at six Bay Area missions each season. With Chanticleer’s deep connections to these missions and their music, the ensemble also sees Mission Road as part of an important public service: bringing public attention to the missions when a number of them are greatly in need of repair. Last season, United States Senator Barbara Boxer wrote a letter of thanks and support to the ensemble that included these comments:

I commend Chanticleer…for bringing attention to all of California’s missions during its 30th anniversary season. I am a strong supporter of preserving California’s missions. They are an integral part of California’s – and the nation’s – history, and I applaud Chanticleer’s efforts to focus on the importance of this history.

California’s mission churches are, in fact, the state’s second most popular tourist attraction. As Dr. Craig H. Russell of California Polytechnic State University has observed, “The Missions are the founding institutions on our West Coast. They are equivalent to Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims, Williamsburg, etc. all rolled into one.” Russell, an expert in the music of the Mexican Baroque, has long collaborated with Chanticleer and provides the fascinating notes that accompany Mission Road.

Chanticleer’s previous album, Let It Snow, an album of holiday favorites, was released last fall and quickly became a Top 5 bestseller on Billboard’s crossover chart. This season, Chanticleer will give more than 100 concerts across North America and in China, including return engagements at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. In October Chanticleer will be inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chanticleer’s full season calendar and other information is available at