Founded in 1984 by Phyllis Isaacson and under the artistic direction of Gisèle Becker since 1994, CANTATE CHAMBER SINGERS attracts many of the Washington, D.C., area’s finest choral musicians, selected annually by audition. The group performs a broad range of great Western choral literature spanning the past five centuries and is recognized for championing neglected masterpieces and premiering newly commissioned works. The group’s biennial Young Composers’ Contest seeks to encourage emerging composing talent from around the nation. Its virtuoso performances, often featuring acclaimed guest artists, are offered in smaller venues to create the greatest possible intimacy between performers and audience.
An hourlong broadcast on Classical WETA’s Front Row Washington was devoted to Cantate performances, and the group won the Choralis Foundation’s Ovation award for creative programming in both 2011 and 2015. Cantate launched A BRITTEN HOLIDAY (Raven), its third nationally released CD, in fall 2013. Earlier CDs of two major Cantate commissions include Andrew Earle Simpson’s visionary wedding oratorio A CROWN OF STARS (Albany Records) and Maurice Saylor’s brilliantly playful setting of Lewis Carroll’s THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK (Naxos).