The perfect way to enjoy the holiday season, little tree was released in 2009 and features Kantorei's favorite live recordings from several years of Christmas concerts. Featured on recording are two wonderful settings of e.e. cummings' holiday text, 'little tree.' The first, by composer Steven Heitzeg, features the choir accompanied by harp in a soft, contemplative setting. Heitzeg’s composition is contrasted by that of world-renowned composer Eric Whitacre, who sets the text for choir with piano accompaniment in a warm, joyous setting.
Also included on the CD are several heart-warming arrangements of familiar holiday carols including ‘I Saw Three Ships,’ ‘Away in a Manger,’ and audience favorite, ‘Silent Night.’ Sure to become a holiday classic, little tree will no doubt usher in the warmth and joy of the Christmas season.
Kantorei, or singers, formed in 1997 under the leadership of 6 friends who decided to form a choir capable of singing a broad range of a cappella choral music. With the addition of Richard Larson as artistic director and a handful of additional singers, the group quickly found a footing in the cultural fabric of Denver, Colorado.
Now in its 16th full season of performing, the group has expanded into an auditioned ensemble of 54 volunteer singers who meet weekly to rehearse. Many of the singers come from schools with strong choral music programs, such as Augustana, Brigham Young, Concordia, Luther, St. Olaf, Wartburg, and the University of Northern Colorado.
Kantorei established itself as one of the nation’s premier choral ensembles after performing as an auditioned choir for the 2003 National American Choral Directors Association Conference at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In June 2007, Kantorei embarked on its first-ever international tour to France and Italy. The tour culminated with the distinct honor of singing for Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
Having become a choir of national recognition, Kantorei frequently hosts composers and conductors of international renown. Kantorei has recently worked with such important choral conductors as René Clausen, Anton Armstrong, Simon Carrington, and Eric Whitacre. Kantorei has also commissioned and premiered new choral works from composers including Eric Whitacre, René Clausen, Eric William Barnum, Timothy Tharaldson, Joshua Shank, and Abbie Betinis.
More recently, Kantorei has been featured in several Regional and National conferences, including the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention and the 2010 Southwestern Regional ACDA Convention. In March 2011, Kantorei performed by invitation at its second National ACDA Convention, including a featured performance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, IL. Kantorei completed its second international tour in June 2012, with performances in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest.