Interim music director Fall 2021
Dr. Allegra Martin is the Director of College Choirs at Holy Cross. During the 2020-2021 academic year she also served as the Interim Orchestra Director. Previous positions have included Director of Music at First Parish Cohasset, Artistic Director of the Cantilena Women’s Chorale, Chorus Director at Lasell College, and a Choral Artist with the Urban Voices Program of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Dr. Martin holds degrees from Williams College and Westminster Choir College, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois. At the University of Illinois, she founded and conducted the University Mixed Chorus. Her research specialty is the choral music of Margaret Bonds. She presented on the topic of diversity in programming at the online Oxford University Conducting Institute in June 2021.
Dr. Martin is also an active professional singer, and was one of the founders of Anthology, a women’s vocal quartet that performed in the greater Boston area for six years and commissioned 22 works of new music in that time. She currently sings with the Schola Cantorum of Boston and in the past has sung with such ensembles as Cappella Clausura, and the Video Game Orchestra. While at the University of Illinois, she performed Julia Wolfe’s award-winning Anthracite Fields with Bang on a Can and Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans with the Venice Baroque Orchestra. While at Westminster, she sang with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as in opera productions at the U.S. Spoleto Festival. In the summer of 2016 she performed in Britten’s War Requiem with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Fall 2015-Spring 2020
In addition to directing Cantilena, Jennifer 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.
Guest music director Spring 2015
Carol Marton earned her Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting at Indiana University School of Music in 1992, where she studied with Jan Harrington and Thomas Dunn. Upon returning to Boston, she served as the assistant conductor for the Zamir Chorale of Boston and as the conductor of the Temple Emanuel Choir in Newton. Concurrently, she worked as a singer and soloist with several ensembles in the Boston area, including the Schola Cantorum of Boston, the Choir of the Church of the Advent, and the John Oliver Chorale.
Carol is known for her work in Jewish music. She has been the director the Temple Sinai Choir in Sharon, MA, for almost 20 years, and she is the Founding Artistic Director of Koleinu, Boston's Jewish Community Chorus, an 85-member chorus started in 2002, comprised of singers from all over the Greater Boston area. Carol is the Founder and Artistic Director of Pandora’s Vox, a contemporary music ensemble for women’s voices, founded in 2001. She has been on the faculty of the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College, and in other Boston locations, teaching conducting, vocal technique, and voice and piano privately. Carol is the
longtime Business Manager at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in Boston and an avid cyclist. She lives in Jamaica Plain.
Guest music director Fall 2014
Michael Barrett is active in the Boston area as a professional musician and teacher. As a singer Mr. Barrett has collaborated with the Boston Camerata, Huelgas Ensemble, Blue Heron, Vox Luminis, Netherlands Bach Society, L’Académie, Seven Times Salt, and Exsultemus. He can be heard on the harmonia mundi and Blue Heron record labels.
In Boston Mr. Barrett directs Convivium Musicum, a chamber choir for Renaissance music. He has taught courses in conducting, music history, and music theory at Boston University and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, and has served as a sabbatical replacement choral director at Bridgewater State University. With his wife Anney he is co-owner of The Green Room, a multi-purpose arts studio in Union Square, Somerville, where he teaches voice, piano, and music theory.
Mr. Barrett earned an AB in music from Harvard University, an MM in choir conducting from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and a First Phase Diploma in Baroque and Classical singing from the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Royal Conservatory) in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 2015 he completed his DMA in choral conducting at Boston University.
Cantilena was pleased to welcome Allegra Martin as Music Director in the Fall of 2009 and thoroughly enjoyed her five year tenure with us. Ms. Martin has a Masters in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, as well as a BA in Physics and Music from Williams College. While at Westminster, she studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, James Jordan, and Andrew Megill, among others. She has been the music director at First Parish Cohasset, and a Choral Artist with the Urban Voices Program at the Metropolitan Opera Guild. She has also directed the Notables, an a cappella group in the Weston area. She appeared as conductor of the MIT G&S players production of Iolanthe, and was the chorus master for the Harvard Lowell House Opera production of Otello in Spring '09. Formerly, she was the founder and conductor of New Century Voices, and taught chorus at Winchester High School.
She is also an active professional singer, and sings with Schola Cantorum of Boston and Diamonds from the Dust in Worcester. She was one of the founders of Anthology, a women's vocal quartet that performed in the greater Boston area for six years and commissioned 22 works of new music in that time. She has also sung with such ensembles as Cappella Clausura and the Video Game Orchestra. While at Westminster, she sang with the New York Philharmonic, the Dresden Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as in opera productions at the U.S. Spoleto Festival. Since leaving the directorship of Cantilena, Allegra has earned her DMA in Choral Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
On May 3, 2009, with "Touches of Sweet Harmony," Kenneth Seitz concluded over 31 years as director of Cantilena. A wonderfully large and appreciative audience turned out to experience Seitz’s farewell performance — a celebration of music, poetry, and springtime, with texts by Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, Lord Byron, Tennyson and others. The performance culminated with a unique gift to Ken Seitz — the official naming of a minor planet in his honor. Renowned British astronomer, Brian Marsden, the longtime director of the Minor Planet Center (MPC) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, presented Ken with an official plaque detailing his planet, (17156) Kennethseitz. Ken Seitz’s tenure with Cantilena may have ended, but his legacy will live on among the stars!
On behalf of all of the members of Cantilena, present and past, we thank Ken for his many years of dedicated leadership, creative musical expression, tireless research, and unfailing devotion to creating enriching musical experiences for both singers and audience. We have shared a marvelous musical journey through the years as he has guided our development and explored the repertoire of women's music by both reviving neglected compositions and by introducing and creating new compositions.
Kenneth Seitz is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a degree in piano performance. While in the United States Air Force, Mr. Seitz served as assistant director, arranger and accompanist of the 17th Air Force Men's Chorus in Germany, where his talents in these roles were regularly recognized by the German press. In 1970, Mr. Seitz was selected to be the official accompanist for the premiere season of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. From 1980 to 1983, Mr. Seitz conducted the Mystic Valley Chamber Orchestra (later known as the New England Philharmonic Orchestra) together with Allen Olsen. From 1984 to 2002, Mr. Seitz served as Music Director of First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, MA. He has also held positions as Director of the MIT Summer Music Ensemble and conductor of several musical theatre productions at Boston University. In addition, Mr. Seitz has performed as a pianist and accompanist throughout the Boston area.
Mr. Seitz is an outstanding composer of both choral and instrumental works. In 1996, he wrote Voices of Remembrance, commissioned in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the founding of the town of Andover, MA. His setting of Immortal Love was the winning entry in the 1999 Unitarian Universalist Musician's Network's General Assembly Hymn Competition.
Mr. Seitz's has written a large number works specifically for Cantilena. In May 2002, Cantilena commissioned and premiered Three Heartfelt Songs, a setting of texts by three women poets. We have also performed his Velvet Shoes, Vocalise, Alleluia, Some Keep the Sabbath, Sing We Noel, The Coventry Carol, The Golden Carol, The Grass, There is No Rose, and Brightest and Best. Mr. Seitz's talents as a composer and arranger have provided Cantilena with some of the most popular music in our repertoire.
Scott Wheeler began work with choruses in high school, where he spent two years as musical director for a 75-member pop-rock choir based on Stamford Connecticut. He returned to choral conducting as a Brandeis graduate student in 1976, when he was invited to conduct Cantilena, then known as the Cambridge Chorale, with repertoire including Pergolesi, Stravinsky, Charles Ives, Irving Fine, Darius Milhaud, and Scott Wheeler. When Scott started teaching at Emerson College in 1978, he took over the Emerson College Chorus for several years, performing masses by Mozart and Schubert, as well as a concert devoted to music of Virgil Thomson. Scott’s premieres have included those in 2012 with Boston Cecilia, in a concert he curated as their composer in residence.
Scott’s commissions have included an opera for the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theatre and a work for baritone and orchestra, premiered in Panama in July 2013 and by the Chamber Orchestra of Manitoba in January 2014. Scott’s music has been commissioned and performed by Renée Fleming, Susanna Phillips, Sanford Sylvan, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Marilyn Horne Foundation, the Mirror Visions Ensemble, Boston Cecilia, Rockport Music, and many orchestras in the US and Europe. His work has been performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, at the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonie. Scott’s opera Democracy: An American Comedy, on a libretto of Romulus Linney, was commissioned by by Plácido Domingo for the Washington National Opera, which premiered the work under the baton of Anne Manson. His chamber symphony City of Shadows was commissioned by Kent Nagano and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestra Berlin. In recent seasons, his works have appeared in concerts in Boston, Chicago, New York, Paris, Graz, Panama, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Read more at Scott’s own website (www.scottwheeler.org) and watch Allegra Martin’s interview
with Scott Wheeler about his composition Jabberwocky, which was premiered by Cantilena on
May 12, 2013.