About Cantori Domino

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"music is what unifies . . ." (Seu-ma-tsen)

In a world which threatens continuously to fractionalize and marginalize, we rejoice to be a part of an art form that unifies and reconciles. 

Cantori Domino has, in its more than twenty years of incorporation as a tax exempt California non-profit organization (501(c)(3)), established a remarkable record of growth by several measures, most notably: 

  • quality of musical performance
  • depth of repertoire
  • fiscal record and 
  • audience development.

These dimensions are inextricably intertwined and their development is primarily a result of the  leadership of artistic director, Maurita Phillips-Thornburgh. Her vision is clear and her love for the music and the art of choral singing is contagious. Her ability to bring together singers of many levels to a focused choral performance is well-known and well-regarded in the professional music community. 

These factors, lived out in an environment that embraces with every gesture the idea that "music at its highest, as in Mozart and Bach, is pure play" (Watts), have drawn together an impressive core of singers, sixteen paid and forty to fifty volunteers (including a number of professional singers).
 

The resulting musical offerings are imaginative and joyful musical moments for performer and listener alike and so we have enjoyed, with minimal increase in publicity effort and attendant cost, an increase in attendance at our concerts from an average of fifty in the first season to over two hundred by the fifth season (with four to six hundred plus for the Bach masterworks which are rotated each year to present the Mass in B Minor alternately with the Passion According to St. John, and the Passion According to St. Matthew). 

We support the notions that: 
1) art is one of the four cornerstones — not a luxury but a necessity — for the health and well-being of the whole community and not exclusive to the artist; 
 
2) form is not enough, but that, as in good architecture, form follows function and, further, in the art form called music, the function is communicative process where the artistic expression has the possibility of being new in every moment; 
 
3) the real therapeutic value of music occurs because of this unique dimension called "process" ; and  
4) because at many levels (local, national, universal) the human community is in crisis, the very best thing we or anyone can do for a world in need is to do what we are meant to do and in that act we encourage those we encounter to do likewise (if you are a singer, practice; if you are a doctor, practice).

"You open the sky and give a happiness and hope to your audience." 

"You are medicine for our pain."

". . . deep artistic and human expression . . . the strongest probably provoked by Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms . . . and exciting Gerlitz' Credo”   (translated from Pojizerski Listy, 11 August 93, Vladmir Havrada, critic)

 

Variety and Outreach

Cantori Domino's primary purpose is to make music live and in so doing, to bring something of health and wholeness back to the community.  We do so by pursuing and embracing the highest caliber of artistic understanding/performance and the general public's experience and appreciation of the arts, predominantly music, through concert presentations of great choral literature from all historical periods (including commissioned new works), often given in an environment of visual art.  We have a particular interest in cross-cultural events offered both as an outreach to the particular audiences who would resonate with them and to underscore our philosophy that authentic artistic expressions are always compatible.  Past years have included collaborations with Francis Awe and the Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble (1993); music of the late North Indian sitarist and composer, Amiya Dasgupta (1994), and American Indian artists with their varied voices of art, music, and dance (1995) – side by side with music of composers influenced by both American and western European tradition including Dave Brubeck (1995).

We also have a specific interest in preserving and promoting the legacy of great choral music and as such have presented six major choral workshops under the direction of Maurita Phillips-Thornburgh together with clinicians of international acclaim—Dr. Roger Wagner and Paul Salamunovich (1991); Dr. Keith Clark and Jeannine Wagner (1992); Sir David Willcocks (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002).  Sir David Willcocks and Jonathan Willcocks joined us again on Memorial Day weekend 2009, for a two and a half day workshop, followed by the annual Dulcis Memoria concert in which they each conducted. The program included Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and the west coast premiere of Jonathan Willcocks’ A Great and Glorious Victory as well as his children’s opera, The Pied Piper of Hamelin.         

In winter 2003, we mounted a master class on the art of the baroque obbligato aria with master clinicians: Maurita Phillips-Thornburgh, soprano; Jonathan Mack, tenor; Kenneth Knight, bass-baritone together with members of Bach’s Circle: Allan Vogel, oboe; Janice Tipton, flute; Patricia Mabee, harpsichord and friends.  Ten auditioned singers participated in the afternoon class and evening concert.  

International tours include:  Eastern Europe: in the footsteps of J. S. Bach (1993); Portugal-Spain (2001); One-week residency at York Minster, England (2004); Italian Odyssey (2007); An Adventure in Eastern Europe (2010); Italy (2011); and a second residency at York Minster (2013).

We serve a cross-cultural, multi-ethnic, inter-generational Los Angeles County population, providing access and particular encouragement for the general public to find a new or renewed appreciation for the value of the artistic voice in addressing the increasing fragmentation of the human community.  Audiences and volunteer singers come from as far east as Phoenix, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara.  They range economically from the disenfranchised to the privileged, and in age from our eighteen year old alto to our seventy-five year old soprano. 

Regular season concerts are presented in-residence in Santa Monica, with performances scheduled throughout Los Angeles County.

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