The Kennedy Center

Cantus



Biography

The “engaging” (New Yorker) men’s vocal ensemble Cantus is widely known for its trademark warmth and blend, innovative programming, and engaging performances of music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century. The Washington Post has hailed the Cantus sound as having both “exalting finesse” and “expressive power” and refers to the “spontaneous grace” of its music making.

As one of the nation’s few full-time vocal ensembles, Cantus has grown in prominence with its distinctive approach to creating music. Working without a conductor, the members of Cantus rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing to the entirety of the artistic process.

Cantus performs more than 60 concerts each year both in national and international touring, and in its home of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Cantus has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, UCLA, San Francisco Performances, Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

In their 2017–18 touring program Discovery of Sight, Cantus explores the essence of light and vision, reveling in the mystery, science, and poetry of what it means to truly “see” with music by Richard Strauss, Franz Schubert, Eric Whitacre, and Einojuhani Rautavaara alongside a world premiere by Gabriel Kahane. Cantus debuts Discovery of Sight on tour in Asia and will present it in 25 cities nationwide throughout 2017–18 including stops in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Nashville, Denver, and throughout Minneapolis-St. Paul. In December, Cantus will perform Three Tales of Christmas, their new holiday program reimagining A Christmas Carol, Gift of the Magi, and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas through arrangements of familiar carols and contemporary works. Three Tales of Christmas will bring Cantus back to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC for the third time and to Dallas, Burlington, VT, and Washington state as well.

Committed to the expansion of the vocal music repertoire, Cantus actively commissions new music and seeks to unearth rarely performed repertoire for men’s voices. Cantus has received commissioning grants from New Music USA, the National Endowment for the Arts, Chorus America, American Composers Forum, and Chamber Music America. Additionally, Cantus has a rich history of collaborations with other performing arts organizations, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops, Chanticleer, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Theater Latté Da and the James Sewell Ballet. The ensemble is heard frequently on classical and public radio nationwide as regular guests on A Prairie Home Companion and on Performance Today. Cantus has released 17 full-length recordings, as well as the recent EP Anthem on the group’s self-titled label.

Cantus is the recipient of three prestigious Chorus America awards, including the 2016 Dale Warland Singers Commission Award (Presented in partnership with the American Composers Forum), the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence (2009) and the Education Outreach Award (2011). Cantus was also the 2010–2011 Artist in Residence on Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Integral to the Cantus mission is its commitment to preserve and deepen music education in the schools. Cantus works with more than 5,000 students each year in master class and workshop settings across the country. Now in its eighth year, the award-winning High School Residency program brings Cantus into Minnesota schools several times a year for mentoring with a culminating public concert in the spring.
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