Cantilena, a women's chorale, is an ensemble of approximately 40 singers, dedicated to performing music written for the treble voice. Our challenging and diverse repertoire spans the15th to the 21st centuries and includes works in many different languages and musical forms. We strive to introduce both our members and our audience to works they are unlikely to encounter in other forums, with an emphasis on music composed specifically for women's voices.
Cantilena welcomes and celebrates individual identities, including but not limited to their race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in all of our activities or operations.
Cantilena was founded in 1968 as the Cambridge Chorale, an ensemble of mixed (SATB) voices. In 1980 the group became a women's chorus, and in 2000 we changed our name to Cantilena to more appropriately reflect our identity as women's chorale. The name means, at its simplest level, a song, or a style of music where the melody is in the treble line. Cantilena is based in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Over the years, Cantilena has premiered many new works, including "Of a Sun She Can Remember" by Ellen Gilson Voth, and "Jabberwocky" by Scott Wheeler. Roger Bourland dedicated his Dickinson Madrigals (Book II) to us. California composer Brian Holmes has written several pieces for us, and former director Kenneth Seitz composed and arranged music for Cantilena on a regular basis, including Three Heartfelt Songs, commissioned by us in 2002. We have also featured the works of women composers including Amy Beach, Margaret Bonds, Mabel Daniels, and Emma Lou Diemer; noted New England composers Arthur Foote, Horatio Parker and Edward MacDowell; as well as the music of better-known composers such as Brahms, Faure, Britten, Holst and Schubert.
Cantilena is a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, a cooperative association of diverse choral groups in Boston and the surrounding areas.
Jennifer Kane has been Cantilena’s music director since the Fall 2015 season, and continues Cantilena’s tradition of celebrating choral music for women’s voices within a vibrant community. In addition to directing Cantilena, Kane is also on the education faculty of the Handel and Haydn Society as the Conductor of the H+H Singers, Youth Chorus, and Concert Choir.
Previously, Kane was the Artistic Director of the Worcester Children’s Chorus, where she built a thriving and multi-level program with an active performance schedule and frequent collaborations; the Artistic Director of PALS Children's Chorus in Brookline, where she prepared the chorus for collaborations with the Back Bay Chorale, Boston Musica Viva, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and the Artistic Director of the Spivey Hall Young Artists, the treble ensemble that serves as the training choir for the nationally renowned Spivey Hall Children's Choir.
Our Collaborative Pianist
Classically trained pianist Clera Ryu is an active collaborator in both vocal and instrumental repertoire. Clera pursued a doctoral degree in Collaborative Piano at Boston University, where she received a full scholarship and the Departmental Award, and she currently works as staff pianist serving the voice department. Previously, she was awarded a fellowship towards her Professional Artist Certificate at the North Carolina School of the Arts and her study focused on instrumental chamber music. While working as a pianist at various colleges in the area, Clera currently teaches at Lesley University and Pine Manor College and serves as an affiliated artist in the Piano Lab and voice area at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She has performed internationally in France, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and in various venues in the United States, including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the National Opera Center, NY, and Killian Hall at MIT. In the past summers, Clera worked as a repetiteur for the Metropolitan International Music Festival and as a vocal coach in the Young Artist Vocal Program at the BU Tanglewood Institute and the Franco American Vocal Academy in France. She is thrilled to be working as the pianist for Cantilena Women’s Chorale this season and is looking forward to wonderful music making with everyone!