Chanticleer (ensemble)

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Chanticleer: An Orchestra of Voices
OriginSan Francisco, California
FoundedJune 27, 1978 (1978-06-27)
  • Andy Berry
  • Brian Hinman
  • Kory Reid
  • Matthew Mazzola
  • Alan Reinhardt
  • Cortez Mitchell
  • Adam Ward
  • Gerrod Pagenkopf
  • Matthew Knickman
  • Logan Shields
  • Andrew Van Allsburg
  • Zachary Burgess
Music directorWilliam Fred Scott
HeadquartersSan Francisco
AwardsList of awards and honors

Chanticleer (/ˈʃæntɪklir/) is a full-time male classical vocal ensemble based in San Francisco, California. Over the last three decades, it has developed a major reputation for its interpretations of Renaissance music, but it also performs a wide repertoire of jazz, gospel, and other venturesome new music and is widely known as an "Orchestra of Voices". It was named for the "clear singing rooster" in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.


Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang with the group until 1989, and served as Artistic Director until his death from AIDS in 1997.[1] As a graduate student of musicology, Botto found that much of the medieval and Renaissance music he was studying was not being performed, and, because of this, he formed the group to perform this music with an all-male ensemble, as it was traditionally sung during the Renaissance.

Originally, the group contained ten singers, but its size has varied from eight to twelve. Currently, Chanticleer comprises twelve men, including two basses, one baritone, three tenors, and six countertenors (three altos and three sopranos).

The original members included Jim Armington (tenor), Ted Bakkila (baritone), Rob Bell (countertenor), Louis Botto (who sang alto as well as tenor), Sanford Dole (tenor), Kevin Freeman (bass), Tom Hart (baritone), Jonathan Klein (baritone), Neal Rogers (tenor), Marc Smith (bass), Randall Wong (countertenor), and Doug Wyatt (bass). However, only ten of the singers were available to go on tour.

When the ensemble first became full-time in 1991, its members included Eric Alatorre (bass, and currently the longest standing member), Frank Albinder (baritone), Kevin Baum (tenor), Mark Daniel (tenor), Kenneth Fitch (countertenor), Jonathan Goodman (tenor), Tim Gibler (bass), Joseph Jennings (countertenor and Music Director), Chad Runyon (baritone), Foster Sommerlad (countertenor), Matthew Thompson (tenor), and Philip Wilder (countertenor).


  • 1987 - Byrd: Music for a Hidden Chapel
  • 1988 - The Anniversary Album, 1978-1988
  • 1990 - Our Heart's Joy: A Chanticleer Christmas (Remastered in 2004)
  • 1991 - Psallite! A Renaissance Christmas
  • 1992 - Josquin: Missa Mater Patris; Agricola: Magnificat and motets
  • 1993 - Byrd: Missa In Tempore Paschali
  • 1993 - Cristóbal de Morales: Missa Mille Regretz and Motets
  • 1993 - Mysteria: Gregorian Chants
  • 1994 - Where the Sun Will Never Go Down
  • 1994 - I Have Had Singing: A Chanticleer Portrait
  • 1994 - Mexican Baroque
  • 1994 - Out of This World
  • 1995 - Sing We Christmas
  • 1996 - Lost in the Stars
  • 1998 - Wondrous Love: A World Folk Song Collection
  • 1997 - Reflections
  • 1998 - Jerusalem: Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe, 1764
  • 1999 - Colors of Love
  • 2000 - Magnificat
  • 2001 - Christmas with Chanticleer
  • 2002 - John Tavener: Lamentations and Praises
  • 2002 - Our American Journey
  • 2003 - Evening Prayer: Purcell Anthems and Sacred Songs
  • 2003 - A Portrait
  • 2004 - How Sweet the Sound: Spirituals and Traditional Gospel Music
  • 2005 - Sound in Spirit
  • 2006 - Palestrina: Missa pro defunctis; Motets
  • 2007 - And on Earth, Peace: A Chanticleer Mass
  • 2007 - Let it Snow
  • 2008 - Mission Road
  • 2010 - A Chanticleer Christmas
  • 2011 - Our Favorite Carols
  • 2011 - Between Two Wars
  • 2011 - Chanticleer Takes You Out of this World!
  • 2011 - For Thy Soul's Salvation
  • 2011 - Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur: Annunciation
  • 2011 - Ludus Paschalis: Resurrection Play of Tours
  • 2011 - My Chanticleer: A Collection for Chanticleer
  • 2011 - The Boy Whose Father was God
  • 2011 - With a Poet's Eye
  • 2012 - Love Story
  • 2012 - By Request
  • 2013 - The Siren's Call
  • 2013 - Someone New
  • 2014 - She Said/He Said

In May 2007, Chanticleer released "And On Earth, Peace: A Chanticleer Mass" (Warner Classics) a new mass written by five contemporary composers. Israeli-born composer Shulamit Ran wrote the Credo to the Hebrew text "Ani Ma'amin"; US composer Douglas Cuomo contributed the Kyrie; Turkish-American composer Kamran Ince composed the Gloria section to a sufi text; English composer Ivan Moody composed the Sanctus; and Irish composer Michael McGlynn (director of Anúna) composed the Agnus Dei. The Mass was premiered in performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and was followed by six performances throughout the San Francisco Bay area.[2]

On October 16, 2007, Chanticleer released "Let it Snow," the group's 29th recording. A portion of the album is accompanied by orchestra and/or big band; as such, the album brings a new sound to Chanticleer's almost exclusively a cappella repertoire.[3]

Notable past members[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2000, Joseph Jennings (Artistic Director) and Chanticleer won a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance for their work Colors of Love — Works of Thomas, Stucky, Tavener and Rands.

In 2003, Chanticleer won two Grammy Awards (Best Small Ensemble Performance and Best Classical Contemporary Composition) for Lamentations and Praises by John Tavener.

In November 2007, while in its 30th Anniversary Season, Chanticleer was named Musical America's 2008 Ensemble of the year. This marks the first time a vocal ensemble has received this award. Additionally, on October 9, 2008, Chanticleer became the first vocal ensemble to be inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, Ohio.


  1. ^ "Louis Botto, 45, Choir Founder - The New York Times". March 1, 1997. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  2. ^ The New York Times has more on the repertoire here Archived May 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ The Chanticleer website has more information, including a listing of tracks, here Archived October 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]