Cantabile History

Our choir's history begins at the Mountain View Community School of Music and Art, where there was a program called the Peninsula Children's Chorale. While a part of the Community School, the choir grew, excelled, and participated in a variety of unique performance opportunities, including the premiere of Libby Larsen's "Missa Gaia" with Schola Cantorum. In 1994, founding Artistic Director Signe Boyer left the Community School to create Cantabile Youth Singers. Though we were still under sponsorship - now of the adult choir Baroque Choral Guild (now the Bay Choral Guild) - Cantabile was on its way.

The program began with three levels (Preparatory, Intermediate and Concert), 25 singers (who rehearsed at the same Foothill Congregational Church where our rehearsals still take place), a group of fabulously dedicated parents and families, a thoroughly committed Artistic Director, and big dreams. And those big dreams came true.

In 1996, Cantabile began its touring program, as well as continued its history of collaboration with other Bay Area arts organizations.  The summer of 1996 saw the choir in Disneyland at their first festival and in the fall they premiered "Requiem for Lost Children" by Los Altos composer Sondra Clark and commissioned by the San Jose Symphonic Choir and Orchestra. 1997 also saw two landmark performances: Cantabile sang the "Saint Matthew Passion" with the internationally recognized Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, as well as performed in Henry Mollicone's "A Rat's Tale: The Pied Piper Revisited."

The summer of 1998 added even more to the choir's rich performance record - Cantabile participated in a choir exchange with England's Farnham Youth Choir and performed in such world-renowed performance venues as Bath Cathedral. Two years later, they were back in Europe, participating in the Tuscany International Children's Choir Festival under conductor Henry Leck and performing in a huge showcase concert in Florence.

After presenting a workshop at the prestigious California Music Educators' Association Conference (2002), premiering Craig Bohmler's beautiful piece "Sisters", a work about sister cities for children's choir, adult choir, and symphony orchestra, with Mission Chamber Orchestra (2003), and yet another spectacular European tour, this time to Salsburg, Vienna, and Budapest (during which they performed both with and for the internationally recognized Vienna Boys Choir) (2004), Signe Boyer stepped down as Artistic Director.

That fall saw the beginning of Cantabile's first season with current Artistic Director Elena Sharkova, who has continued to build the artistic excellence and reputation of Cantabile. In 2005, she led the choir to its debut at Carnegie Hall during the National Children's Choir Festival.

2007/08 saw one of the most significant organizational milestones in Cantabile's history - this was the year in which Cantabile became an independent corporation focused entirely on youth programs. This allowed Cantabile to concentrate all of its energies, monies, time, and people on building the fabulous children's music program it has become! And our first independent season was a smashing success - it saw record donations, renewed excitement, and a extraordinary Baltic Tour to Finland, Estonia, and Russia during which Cantabile performed at the Tallinn SongFest alongside 25,000 other international youth singers and sang at Helsinki's world-famous Church of the Rock, among other spectacular performances and experiences.

2009/10 Cantabile expanded its repertoire further - our choirs performed with actor Ryan Gossling in his rock play "Dead Man's Bones" and sang on a rock CD recording with a local San Francisco band. In the summer of 2010, Cantabile's choirs once again performed onstage at Carnegie Hall during the National Children's Choir Festival. At home in Palo Alto, our singers performed alongside the world-famous Kronos Quartet as part of a concert at Stanford Lively Arts. 

 2010/12  Cantabile's choirs enjoyed performances with Symphony Silicon Valley, including performances of bluegrass music and Gustav Holst's The Planets.  Cantabile toured both internationally and nationally, joining together in song with choirs from all over the world in Chicago, IL and London, England.  This year, we are planning an exciting trip to Newfoundland, Canada.  Cantabile's Ensemble and Vocalise Choirs were invited to attend Canada's esteemed Festival 500.  

2013/2014 This season Cantabile has many great things planned.  We start our year with a guest appearance with composer Roberto Lange and visual artist Nene Humphrey in an experiemental piece called "Everything That Happens" performed at Montalvo Arts.  We will host our annual Winter Concert at the beautiful St. Joseph's Basilica in San Jose and perform in Ballet San Jose's Nutcracker as the choir for the lovely winter scene.  In the spring we will perform the Carmina Burana with Symphony Silicon Valley and Chorale under the direction of Maestro Carlos Vieu from Argentina.  Our Children's Choral Music Festival takes place in March in Palo Alto and we will host over 200 children from local schools to sing with us.  In May we host the All Choir Concert and the Spring Concert featuring Vocalise and Aria.  Then it's off to Italy for the Passion of Italy tour where we will sing at a music festival in Padua and at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.