Concert Series Performer Bios


The GRAMMY® Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer has been hailed as “the world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker, and is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for its wide-ranging repertoire and dazzling virtuosity.  Founded in San Francisco in 1978 by singer and musicologist Louis Botto, Chanticleer quickly took its place as one of the most prolific recording and touring ensembles in the world, selling over one million recordings and performing thousands of live concerts to audiences around the world. 

Chanticleer’s repertoire is rooted in the renaissance, and has continued to expand to include a wide range of classical, gospel, jazz, popular music, and a deep commitment to the commissioning of new compositions and arrangements. The ensemble has committed much of its vast recording catalogue to these commissions, garnering GRAMMY® Awards for its recording of Sir John Tavener’s “Lamentations & Praises”, and the ambitious collection of commissioned works entitled “Colors of Love”.  Chanticleer is the recipient of the Dale Warland/Chorus America Commissioning Award and the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming, and its Music Director Emeritus Joseph H. Jennings received the Brazeal Wayne Dennard Award for his contribution to the African-American choral tradition during his tenure with Chanticleer.  

Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer continues to maintain ambitious programming in its hometown of San Francisco, including a large education and outreach program that recently reached over 8,000 people, and an annual concert series that includes its legendary holiday tradition “A Chanticleer Christmas”.  

Cascada de Flores with Florante Aguilar and Special Guests

The Gumamela Project

The Gumamela project was born out of Cascada de Flores’ (a.k.a. Arwen Lawrence and Jorge Liceaga) and Florante Aguilar’s passion for traditional music of their respective countries Mexico and the Philippines.

They discovered to their delight and surprise, and by an accidental meeting that the music they were both championing for years sound eerily similar in style, spirit and rhythms. And there clearly is kinship. Florante came upon the realization that the commonalities between the music from Philippines and Mexico happened through the Manila galleon ships that plied the Pacific waters for over 300 years. As colonial subjects of Spain, these ships between Manila and Acapulco traded more than just dry goods. They traded culture as well, with many Filipinos settling in Mexico and vice-versa.

In Gumamela, the musicians begin immersed in the songs and danceable rhythms that the cultures share. As the project flowers, so does the creativity of the arrangements, and the Gumamela (hibiscus flower in Tagalog) will fully blossom into an album of compositions by song writers Liceaga & Aguilar.

Cascada de Flores is a San Francisco Bay Area ensemble founded in 1999 by Jorge Liceaga and Arwen Lawrence, who strive to reimagine Mexican and Latin American traditions through individual expression and musical communication. They began by exploring the most unsung musical cultures of Mexico, a hugely diverse country. Inspired by the fact that even as deep as its diversity goes, Mexico has a continuous love affair with foreign cultural phenomenon and incorporates them as if they were its own, the ensemble spends time swimming in a magical place somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea where populara boleros, sones, danzones as well as poetic country music from Mexico and the Caribbean meet.

Travel and research is at the heart of Cascada de Flores’ work. In Mexico, Cascada de Flores has been delightfully received in venues such as The central plaza in Mexico City with Jorge Saldaña, as well as the beautiful Biblioteca Henestrosa in Oaxaca city. They have studied with trovadores in Santiago de Cuba as well as with generations of soneros in southern Veracruz. 

After 21 years, 5 recorded albums, many a collaboration with film, dance and theater, and a resume that shows a firm commitment to music and cultural education, the band name “Cascada de Flores” (which translates as a waterfall of flowers) continues to be their credo: that the diversity of Mexican culture flows like a waterfall exploding with flowers of all colors, the traditions are deep, varied and old, but living and breathing, and that the effect of their music, while it brings both cultural awareness and pride should resonate deeper than where differences lie.

Florante Aguilar (composition, classical guitar)

Florante Aguilar is one the leading figures championing Philippine music art forms in the US and international markets today. He advances and popularizes Philippine music through the medium of film, recordings and live performances. His arrangements and compositions successfully craft the right balance between respect and redefinition of a tradition.

Born in Manila, Aguilar grew up in Cavite province where he learned to play the octavina in a rondalla group. By the age of 16 he was enrolled at the University of the Philippines College of Music where he was trained as a classical musician. He later moved to New York under scholarship to study at the Manhattan School of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory for Music.

As a composer, Aguilar uses strong Philippine motifs in a modern context. His constant search for a tradition-based contemporary Filipino sound led him to champion harana music – songs used in the now-vanished Filipino courtship ritual of serenading, and the subject of the award-winning 2012 documentary, Harana: The Search for the Lost Art of Serenade, which he wrote and produced with his wife and partner, Fides Enriquez. Aguilar has released several CD albums under the private label New Art Media.

Aguilar is a recipient of Gerbode Composition Awards (2016), Creative WorkFund for Composition and Performance (2022), National Endowment for the Arts (2014), San Francisco Arts Commission (2009), and San Francisco Foundation (2010).

Charmaine Clamor (vocals)

Raised in Subic, Zambales Philippines, Charmaine Clamor is the world’s most celebrated Filipino American jazz vocalist. Known as the “Queen of Jazzipino”, Charmaine has given concerts on five continents, including a command performance at Malacanang for President Benigno Aquino, Jr., Mexico’s Women in Jazz Festival, and headlining Helsinki Finland’s World Music Village. As a recording artist, Charmaine has collaborated with David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, South Africa’s Selaelo Selota, and American blues legend Linda Hopkins. She’s released five critically acclaimed albums as a solo artist, most recently The Better Angels, produced and arranged by pianist Laurence Hobgood. Charmaine is the co-founder of JazzPhil-USA and The Better Angels Festival. She holds an MPT in Physical Therapy from C-SUN and owns a holistic wellness practice, Be Well Therapy, in Los Angeles.

Jorge Pok’ok Mijangos (Guitarras de son & voice)

Jorge Pok’ok Mijangos is a multi-instrumentalist, Son Jarocho musician, and luthier. Born in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, Jorge began playing music at the age of five. He has since performed in venues throughout the world, including The Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall, WOMAD in Australia, New Zealand, England, and the National Hispanic Center in Albuquerque. He currently lives in Ventura, California with his wife and son where he teaches music to local youth and builds custom Son Jarocho musical instruments.

Greg Kehret (double bass)

Greg Kehret graduated from the San Francisco State University School of Music with a Bachelor of Music, with an emphasis on classical performance. His musical interests have led him to explore R&B, hip hop and funk, jazz and Latin jazz, dream pop, tango, Romani music, flamenco, and most recently collaborations with Florante Aguilar on The Harana Kings album and ASWANG. By day he directs Access to Information Services at the LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco creating Braille and tactile maps.

Takács Quartet

The world-renowned Takács Quartet is now entering its forty-ninth season. Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola) and András Fejér (cello) are excited about the 2023-2024 season that features varied projects including a new work written for them. Nokuthula Ngwenyama composed ‘Flow’ as a meditation on the theme of climate change. The work was commissioned by nine concert presenters throughout the USA. September sees the release of a new recording of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Dvořák for Hyperion Records, while later in the season the quartet will release works by Schubert including his final quartet in G major. In the Spring of 2024 the ensemble will perform and record piano quintets by Price and Dvořák with long-time chamber music partner Marc-Andre Hamelin.

As Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall the Takács will perform four concerts featuring works by Hough, Price, Janacek, Schubert and Beethoven. During the season the ensemble will play at other prestigious European venues including Berlin, Geneva, Linz, Innsbruck, Cambridge and St. Andrews. The Takács will appear at the Adams Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand. The group’s North American engagements include concerts in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Vancouver, Ann Arbor, Phoenix, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Portland, Cleveland, Santa Fe and Stanford. The ensemble will perform two Bartók cycles at San Jose State University and Middlebury College and appear for the first time at the Virginia Arts Festival with pianist Olga Kern.

The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Fellows and Artists in Residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For the 23-24 season the quartet enter into a partnership with El Sistema Colorado, working closely with its chamber music education program in Denver. During the summer months the Takács join the faculty at the Music Academy of the West, running an intensive quartet seminar.

In 2021 the Takács won a Presto Music Recording of the Year Award for their recordings of string quartets by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, and a Gramophone Award with pianist Garrick Ohlsson for piano quintets by Amy Beach and Elgar. Other releases for Hyperion feature works by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), and viola quintets by Brahms and Dvorák (with Lawrence Power). For their CDs on the Decca/London label, the Quartet has won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, Disc of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Ensemble Album of the Year at the Classical Brits. Full details of all recordings can be found in the Recordings section of the Quartet's website.

The Takács Quartet is known for its innovative programming. In 2021-22 the ensemble partnered with  bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro to premiere new works by Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner, commissioned by Music Accord. In 2014 the Takács performed a program inspired by Philip Roth’s novel Everyman with Meryl Streep at Princeton, and again with her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. They first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, and played regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas.

In 2014 the Takács became the first string quartet to be awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the first string quartet to be inducted into its Hall of Fame. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. The group received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The Quartet also won the Gold Medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions and First Prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981. The Quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. Members of the Takács Quartet are the grateful beneficiaries of an instrument loan by the Drake Foundation.

Los Angeles Children's Chorus (LACC)

GRAMMY Award-winning Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), one of the world’s preeminent youth choruses, has been lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “the best children’s chorus I have ever heard” (Esa-Pekka Salonen), and “one of the true artistic gems of Los Angeles” (Gustavo Dudamel).

Led by Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, LACC annually appears in more than 50 public performances, including in its own self-produced concerts and in collaborations with leading organizations such as Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Pasadena Symphony and POPS.

The Chorus annually serves over 400 young people ages 6–18 from 40+ communities across Southern California through its seven choirs, First Experiences in Singing class, and First Experiences in Choral Singing ensemble.    

LACC is featured in alumna Billie Eilish’s 2021 cinematic concert experience Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles on Disney+, and has appeared on John Williams’ 2017 recording, John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s critically-acclaimed Decca recording, A Good Understanding. The subject of four documentaries by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, LACC is featured in the Academy Award®-nominated Sing!, about a year in the life of the choir. LACC has performed with John Mayer on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and been featured on PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio, and PRI’s nationally-syndicated show “From the Top.”  

Winner of the 2022 GRAMMY Award for Best Choral Performance for its performance on the LA Philharmonic’s 2021 album, Mahler Symphony No. 8, and recipient of Chorus America’s Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, LACC frequently serves as a cultural ambassador on tours that have taken the Chorus to 20+ countries on 6 continents. 

LACC was founded in 1986 by Rebecca Thompson and led from 1995-2018 by Artistic Director Emerita Anne Tomlinson. 

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