Thanks for checking us out! This project is about commissioning music, but it's also about making sure it gets heard by you and anyone else who loves hearing something new and great. Our promise is that this new work and any that come from our STAGE II SEED FUND will be shared on our SoundCloud page.
Stage 1 is a new work of music by California composer Byron Adams for Cantus. We expect to premiere the 5-7 minute long work this spring, bring it with us on tour in the coming years and make it available for anyone to hear on our SoundCloud page.
Stage II (with the Adams commission funded...THANK YOU by the way) is a seed fund for future commissions. As a nonprofit we have the ability to sock away any extra funding into a restricted account to be used only for commissioning new music. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as having new music to sing. With your help, we will be adding new works to the repertoire in the years to come.
Why this project is important to Cantus
Singing music fresh off the page is so important to us. Cantus believes in commissioning new music because it keeps our work relevant. We love music from almost any century (the 15th wasn't great) but composers who are writing now are sharing thoughts and ideas that we are all thinking.
We travel all over and our music is heard on public radio. We also use SoundCloud to share. (We remember how important that is from Kindergarten.)
Here's our recording of "An Irish Airman foresees His Death," performed live last fall.
This is our first Kickstarter project but we think it’s a good fit for Cantus. Not only will the new work by Byron be toured by Cantus to audiences in the thousands, but we’ll make it available for streaming on our SoundCloud site. And for any works created through our Stage II Seed Fund, we'll share them on SoundCloud too. There are a cappella ensembles starting up all over the country who are interested in new music and who often ask us for suggestions. So, your funds will help new music happen, but you can be pretty sure it will have a long life as well.
Who are we?
Known around the world for our adventurous programming and gorgeous blend, Cantus is a professional male vocal ensemble based in Minneapolis. We are different than many vocal ensembles or choirs in that we rehearse and perform without a conductor or music director. We are also full-time employees of our organization, (with salaries and health insurance!). The Washington Post said our sound has both “exalting finesse” and “expressive power” and refers to our music-making as “spontaneous grace.” (Thanks, WP!) We perform for audiences across the country and at home in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Each year we share our own love of singing with thousands of students through workshops and master classes. We hold semi-monthly open rehearsals in Minneapolis and would love to see you there any time.
Who is Byron Adams?
Byron Adams has earned a Bachelor of Music degree, magna cum laude, from Jacksonville University, studying piano with Mary Lou Wesley Krosnick and composition with Gurney Kennedy. He received a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California, where his teachers included Halsey Stevens, Robert Linn and Morten Lauridsen. He received his doctoral degree from Cornell University, studying composition with Karel Husa and musicology with William W. Austin.
Byron says that he has loved the music of Czechoslovakia since he was a boy. He tells us: "My beloved teacher at Cornell University, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Karel Husa, grew up in Prague, and from him I learned an enormous amount about Czech music as well as the "soul" behind that music. I also played music by Dvořák as a pianist, especially the G minor Piano Trio. Indeed, my Serenade for Nine Instruments, composed in 2011 as a 90th birthday gift for Professor Husa, alludes to Czech folk music in the first two movements, and the second movement is an homage to Dvořák and Professor Husa -- I quote a theme that they both used, "Ye Warriors of God," which was the hymn of the Hussites who fought for religious freedom in the 15th century."
What will the money be used for?
The money from our goal is used for Byron’s fee as a composer with some additional funds going to his travel expenses.
Stage II Seed Fund will be put into a restricted fund (that's nonprofit lingo) that can only be used for other new works.
8.29.13 New video!
We're just a week into our project campaign and getting such a great response from you. Thank you so much for your pledges and kind words! We finally got the rest of the ensemble involved but had to do it on a "hacky-sack" break. They just keep talking about it no matter what they're doing or where they are!
Risks and challenges
Once we meet our goal, Byron will get to work on the new piece of music. He's promised to have it to us by January 1 and he has a good track record on getting works done on time.
Other risks and challenges are the good kind: The surprise of the finished product from Byron, learning a new work and making sure we are able to communicate all the goodness in his composition.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)