Cantus
Cantus

Cantus

About Cantus

Cantus is the term that was used in Europe for a student organization dedicated to singing, similar to the English glee club. Cantus, the men's vocal ensemble based in the Twin Cities, grew out of just such a group in the late 1990s at St. Olaf College, a school with a distinguished music program. The original nine-member group left campus for a tour to other parts of the U.S. and met with such success that it decided to go professional in 2000. It is a full-time ensemble, heard in 60 to 70 performances, and 30 or more educational and outreach offerings each year, with over 5,000 students attending. Cantus performs all over the country -- at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Spivey Hall, for example -- and has been heard on public radio in the U.S. and SiriusXM programs numerous times. In addition to a cappella music, Cantus has collaborated with other organizations such as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops, James Sewell Ballet, and the Minneapolis-based Theatre Latté Da. Its repertoire ranges from well-known pieces for male voices from the Renaissance, to Romantic-era part songs rarely heard outside of Europe, to arrangements of jazz and pop songs, and to new compositions written by its members or commissioned from others. Some of those commissions include music by David Lang, Libby Larsen, and Ysaye Barnwell. In all of its programs, the group strives for a unifying theme, and its artistic process is a joint effort by the members, acting as chamber musicians without a conductor. Each piece in a program is assigned to one member, who is the "producer" for that piece, overseeing its rehearsals and shaping its interpretation. Cantus produced 17 recordings on its own, including A Harvest Home (2014) and a digital EP, Anthem (2015). It began working with the U.K.'s Signum label in 2020, releasing Manifesto that year. The ensemble has won multiple awards from Chorus America, and in its 25th anniversary season, began publishing its arrangements and commissions for others to perform. ~ Patsy Morita

  • ORIGIN
    Minnesota
  • FORMED
    2000