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San Francisco/Shanghai Sister City Relationship celebrates 30 Years

SAN FRANCISCO, May 20, 2010—Chanticleer, the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble, will make several appearances during “San Francisco Week” from June 17 - 25 at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.  Chanticleer is part of the official San Francisco delegation of political, business, tourism and cultural leaders representing the 30-year Sister City relationship between Shanghai and San Francisco.  The delegation will be led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Sister City Committee Chairman James Fang.

Chanticleer appeared in the People’s Republic of China for the first time last year, when the ensemble was invited to give six concerts in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, and Shenzen, two of them with The Shanghai Quartet. That tour also included a return to Hong Kong. In Shanghai the ensemble visited the choral department at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.  Chanticleer was awarded two of the Best Concerts in Shanghai Awards in fall 2009:  Best Choral Concert, and Most Innovative Concert for the joint concert with Shanghai Quartet.

“Chanticleer’s involvement with China has its roots in the l993-96 residency with the ensemble of now internationally acclaimed composer Chen Yi.  She taught us how to pronounce Chinese and left us with a number of arrangements of Chinese Folks Songs as well as original works, which are a permanent part of our repertoire. She also gave us the desire to go to China,” stated General Director Christine Bullin,  “and was instrumental in last year’s tour finally becoming a reality.”

As a member of the Sister City Committee during its early days, Bullin visited China many times, organizing exchanges between the San Francisco Opera Center and the Shanghai Conservatory and Opera Company.  She was quick to point out that cultural exchanges helped paved the way for the huge commercial relationship that now exists between China and the U.S. “The visits of artists and musicians were a big part of the “opening” of China where cultural exchange is a vital accompaniment to diplomatic communication,” she said.

The Chanticleer tour in June includes participation in the Expo’s Gala banquet on June 19, a return to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music for additional exchange, and a return to the Shenzen Concert Hall in Shenzen, sponsored by China Merchant Bank.

The Shanghai World Expo with its theme “Better City, Better Life” opened on May 1 and continues through October 31, 2010.  Some 60 million Chinese and 10 million international travelers are expected to visit the pavilions and presentations of more than 170 participating nations.

Prior to the trip to China, Chanticleer returns to the Bay Area for the final four concerts of the current season.  For Thy Soul’s Salvation: Music for England’s Monarchs featuring the magnificent liturgical music of 16th and 17th century England, will by performed in Berkeley, Sacramento, San Jose, and San Francisco from Wednesday, June 2 through Saturday June 5.

Memorable highlights of the current season include the ensemble’s fifth appearance in as many years on NBC TV’s popular Today show and on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and Frederica von Stade; a European tour taking in many of the continent’s legendary halls; and, most recently, the group’s first National Youth Choral Festival.  The festival featured Chanticleer hosting twelve high school choirs – 416 students in all – from across the country in a four-day choral immersion, including master classes, language coaching, and a host of interactive educational activities, culminating in a gala concert with the massed choirs, an orchestra comprised of Bay Area student instrumentalists, and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade.  Chanticleer was recently awarded Chorus America’s prestigious Education and Outreach Award for 2010.  

Called “America’s favorite choral ensemble,” by the New Yorker magazine, 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.

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