Northside SF
Chanticleer raises an ecclesiastical voice in
'The Boy Whose Father Was God'

photo: Lisa Kohler

Chanticleer, the world-famous 12-voice a cappella chorus, tackles a new, controversial work that reinterprets the life of Jesus: The Boy Whose Father Was God. It will be performed at Nob Hill’s Grace Cathedral on April 1. Earlier shows are scheduled for Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose.

New pieces have been commissioned to augment the music by composers like Zoltán Kodály, Arvo Pårt, Henryk Gorecki, Ivan Moody, Jan Gilbert, and Mason Bates.

The composing duties have been divided. Roxanna Panufnik lends her talent to the childhood of Jesus with poetry by Jessica Duchen. The portion that deals with the death of Jesus has been set by Peter Michaelides. There’s also a new setting of The Lord’s Prayer by San Francisco-based composer Ilyas Iliya.

“Almost all of the works are performed in English,” said Chanticleer’s music director, Matthew

In another departure from traditional church music writing, the new work focuses on man as a flesh-and-blood being. Church compositions, by tradition, have focused on the divine, on the mystical elements of the church, not the corporeal nature of humans.

Chanticleer has traveled the world, dazzling audiences everywhere with its beautiful singing versatility from Renaissance to Baroque, jazz, gospel, folk, and, as
in this case, contemporary compositions.

The Boy Whose Father Was God
: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street (at Taylor), April 1, 8 p.m., tickets $20–$40 at 415-392-4400, 800-407-1400, ; additional information at 415-252-8589.

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