Cantus Announces 2023-24 Season of Concerts

The acclaimed ensemble performs in their Twin Cities home of Minneapolis/St. Paul and on tour in eight North American cities.

By: Jun. 02, 2023
Cantus Announces 2023-24 Season of Concerts

Today, Cantus announces its 29th season of concerts in Minnesota and throughout the country, on tour.

The group will take to concert stages throughout the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and visit eight cities in the United States and Canada to present three programs in addition to their annual Christmas with Cantus and popular Covers series. Also slated for the season are a special collaboration with the Canadian Brass (February 25) and the annual Cantus Idol competition and fundraiser (May 6).   
To complement their live concerts, Cantus will continue to make performances available online to audiences worldwide. New this season is a digital subscription package for purchase that includes access to all livestreamed and on-demand content throughout the season.  Cantus also will expand their pay-what-you-can program, offering single tickets to online performances and single tickets to select subscription concerts in a pay-what-you-can format, starting at $5.
Cantus opens the season October 13-22 with five performances of Brave in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Stillwater, Edina and Plymouth. With works by composers as varied as Fanny Mendelssohn to Sara Bareilles, Brave takes a nuanced look at evolving ideas of masculinity. Next, they perform Christmas with Cantus: Three Tales of Christmas in nine venues throughout the Twin Cities from December 8-22. A special family-friendly presentation of Christmas with Cantus – a shorter program with no intermission and flexible seating geared at accommodating little ones – will occur on Saturday, December 16th at Westminster Hall in Minneapolis.  
Cantus' new program Mountain Nights – presenting works by Zoltán Kodály, Chen Yi, and Gabriela Lena Frank that explore far-ranging music of expansive skies and breathtaking summits – runs March 15-24. Cantus' annual Covers series: Covers Like It's 1999 (June 1-9) takes audiences back to the cusp of the new millennium, with re-imagined pop hits from artists like Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, and the Backstreet Boys; they close out the season July 16-19 with the debut of their program, The Queen's Songbook, featuring works by Queen Lili'uokalani and other artists from the Pacific Rim.
Continuing their tradition of collaborative concerts, Cantus will partner with the acclaimed Canadian Brass for a special performance of low-voice and brass repertoire on Sunday, February 25 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. They will also hold their popular annual competition, Cantus Idol, at the Metropolitan Ballroom and Clubroom in Golden Valley, MN on May 6, 2024, which raises funds for the ensemble's robust educational outreach efforts.
Cantus on Tour
Cantus will present programs on tour from August – April in eight North American cities this season, including stops in Ottowa, ON; Yellow Springs, OH; Pittsburg, Kansas; Barrington, Illinois; Grand Rapids, MI; Phoenix, AZ; Morrow, GA; and Birmingham, AL.  
Educational Programs
Building on the success of its High School Residency program, Cantus also launches its new High School Mentorship Program, which offers sustained, in-depth, and highly tailored support throughout the season to students at the FAIR School in Minneapolis. The ensemble will also work with the Minnesota chapter of ACDA to create a low-voice festival for high school students from across the state in spring of 2024.
Cantus 2023-24 Season Ticket information
Three-, four-, and five-concert subscription packages go on sale to the public on Friday, June 2 at Click Here.
Single tickets go on sale September 5. Tickets may also be purchased by calling the Cantus box office at 612-435-0055.

  • Five-concert package: $155 each
  • Four-concert package: $130 each
  • Three-concert package: $102 each

Cantus 2023-24 Twin Cities Concert Season

Brave (October 13-22)

It takes strength to be vulnerable. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes confidence to reach out and connect. In Brave, Cantus examines what it means to identify as a man in a society that prizes conformity over personal authenticity. With works by composers from Fanny Mendelssohn to Sara Bareilles, Brave takes a nuanced look at evolving ideas of masculinity. The program also includes works by contemporary innovators like Mari Esabel Valverde and Sydney Guillaume, as well as a new multi-movement work by Griffin Candey. Cantus' Brave is a powerful program that asks: Are you strong enough to be sensitive?
Friday, October 13 at 7:30 pm – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis*
Sunday, October 15 at 3 pm – St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Plymouth**
Thursday, October 19 at 11 am – Meetinghouse Church, Edina
Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm – Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University, St. Paul**
Sunday, October 22 at 3 pm – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater
Repertoire to include: Leland Sateren's Do You Fear the Wind; Mari Esabel Valverde's Darest, O Soul; and Sara Bareilles' Brave

Christmas with Cantus: Three Tales of Christmas


Cantus weaves together three holiday stories with time-honored carols and new classics. Blending narration and song, the program features Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” and Christine Lê's “The Hawai'i Snowman,” alongside Mark Twain's “A Letter from Santa Claus,” offering an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and joy of the holiday season. Join Cantus for a beloved holiday tradition that the Star Tribune has deemed "as joyful a celebration of the season's spirit as any caroling party you're likely to attend this year."   

Friday, Dec. 8 at 11 am   – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis*
Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 pm – Zumbro Lutheran Church, Rochester
Sunday, Dec. 10 at 3:00 pm – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater
Thursday, Dec. 14 at 11 am – Meetinghouse Church, Edina
Friday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 pm – St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Plymouth
Saturday, Dec. 16 at 3:30 pm – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis (Special Family Concert)**
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3:00 pm – Hamline United Methodist Church, Saint Paul
Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 pm – Capri Theater, Minneapolis**
Thursday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 pm – Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, Saint Paul
Friday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 pm – Ordway Concert Hall, Saint Paul
Repertoire to include: Abbie Betinis' The Mirthful Heart; G.F. Handel's Joy to the World arranged by Reginald Bowens; and Na Leo Pilimehana's Kana Kaloka (Here Comes Santa Claus

Mountain Nights

As sources of inspiration, challenge, and wonder, mountains have shaped human civilization as much as they've shaped our geography. In a program that showcases works by Zoltán Kodály, Chen Yi, and Gabriela Lena Frank, Cantus explores the far-ranging music of expansive skies and breathtaking summits. Enjoy a refreshed, informal concert experience – and get a sneak-peek at some of the music slated for an upcoming Cantus recording!
Friday, March 15 at 7:30 pm – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis*
Sunday, March 17 at 3 pm – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater**
Tuesday, March 19 at 11 am – Meetinghouse Church, Edina
Friday, March 22 at 7:30 pm – Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University, St. Paul**
Sunday, March 24 at 3 pm – St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Plymouth
Repertoire to include: Movement 1 of Zoltán Kodály's Mountain Nights; Gabriela Lena Frank's “Picaflor” from Two Mountain Songs; and “Mt. Wuzhi” from Chen Yi's Chinese

Mountain Songs Covers Like It's 1999


At the cusp of a new millennium, 1999 was a banner year for pop music, with smash hits from artists like Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, TLC, and Cher. In the days of Y2K, MTV, and Napster, the Backstreet Boys topped the charts with hits like “I Want It That Way.” A quarter century later, Cantus' annual Covers series takes us back to that iconic year for a high-energy program of pop hits so that we all might – as Prince proclaimed – “party like it's 1999.”
All performances at the Luminary Arts Center, Minneapolis
Saturday, June 1 at 7:30 pm        
Sunday, June 2 at 3 pm*              
Friday, June 7 at 7:30 pm**        
Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 pm**   
Sunday, June 9 at 3:00 pm           
Repertoire to include: Baby One More Time by Max Martin; made famous by Britney Spears; Livin' La Vida Loca by Draco Rosa and Desmond Child; made famous by Ricky Martin; and Believe by Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, Paul Barry, Steven Torch, Matthew Gray, and Timothy Powell.

The Queen's Songbook


Beloved Queen Lili'uokalani was the last monarch to reign over Hawai'i – and a musical prodigy who composed, conducted, sang, and played four instruments. In The Queen's Songbook, Cantus surveys the wealth of music she created, including “Aloha 'Oe” and “He Mele Lāhui Hawai'i,” one of Hawai'i's national anthems. In addition to Queen Lili'uokalani's musical legacy, this program also celebrates works by other Pacific Rim composers.
Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 pm – Landmark Center, St. Paul
Wednesday, July 17 at 7:30 pm – The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis
Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 pm – American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis**
Friday, July 19 at 11:00 am – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis*
Repertoire to include: Lili'uokalani's Aloha 'Oe (arr. Wanda Gereben); Ahe Lau Makani; and Nani Na Pua (arr. Nola Nahulu) Cantus and the Canadian Brass

Cantus partners with the Canadian Brass for a collaborative concert that expresses the energy, warmth, and sheer versatility of chamber music. Performing both separately and together, these renowned ensembles will present a tour de force of low-voice and brass repertoire. This special collaboration continues Cantus' proud tradition of sharing the stage with such groups as Chanticleer, the Lorelei Ensemble, and Sweet Honey in the Rock, for a one-of-a-kind performance that is sure to be a memorable highlight of the season.
3 pm on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Special events are not part of subscription packages. Tickets for Cantus and the Canadian Brass go on-sale Sept. 5.

Now in its 29th season, the “engaging” (New Yorker) low-voice ensemble Cantus is widely known for its trademark warmth and blend, innovative programming and riveting 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. The Philadelphia Inquirer called the group nothing short of “exquisite.”

As one of the nation's few full-time vocal ensembles, Cantus has come to 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, creating programs that give voice to shared human experiences. As the Star Tribune has written, “The main hallmark of the Cantus sound has always been sheer quality and an unbroken belief in the special way that vocal music has of warming and invigorating the human spirit.”

Cantus enjoys a vigorous schedule of national and international touring, in addition to home concerts in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Cantus has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, UCLA, San Francisco Performances, Tanglewood and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Cantus also makes all of its home concerts available online. This pandemic-prompted innovation has brought the ensemble's programs to audiences spanning 50 states and ten countries.

Cantus records for the UK-based Signum Classics label which has released the popular COVID-19 Sessions, Manifesto, and – in the fall of 2022 – Into the Light, the first new Holiday album from Cantus in over a decade.  Cantus also has a deep catalog of recordings released on the group's eponymous label.

Committed to the expansion of the vocal music repertoire, Cantus actively commissions new music and seeks to unearth rarely performed repertoire for low 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. In line with Cantus' ongoing commitment to fostering new works for tenors, baritones, and basses, the ensemble has partnered with composer and former Cantus bass Timothy C. Takach and Graphite Publishing on the Cantus Choral Series, distributing Cantus' signature arrangements and compositions for ensembles everywhere to perform and enjoy.

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, Lorelei Ensemble, Theater Latté Da and the James Sewell Ballet. The ensemble is heard frequently on both classical public radio nationwide and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

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 masterclass and workshop settings across the country and has visited 31 Minnesota high schools throughout the 15-year history of its award-winning High School Residency program. Cantus also presents a Young and Emerging Composers' Competition, to encourage the creation of new repertoire through cash prizes, a performance, recording and potential publication of winning compositions.

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