The Canby Singers
humbly began as an informal madrigal group that met in various private
homes during the 1950’s. The group was “discovered”
by the Harvard-trained eminent musicologist, music critic, and Baroque
and Renaissance specialist, Edward
Tatnall Canby. Entranced by the pure tone and artless
quality of the ensemble’s amateur voices, Mr.
Canby officially founded The Canby Singers in 1957 and served as its
first musical director until the 1980s.
Under Mr. Canby’s direction, the chamber choir found
itself at the forefront of the nascent early music movement. Then, as
today, the group’s repertory encompassed works by Monteverdi,
Byrd, Lassus, Dufay, Josquin and other early masters. However, the
group also performed newer music, specializing in Brahms, and
performing modern and contemporary works from Hindemith to Elliot
Carter—another tradition the group continues into the present.
The ensemble has made several highly acclaimed
LPs for Nonesuch and has performed at such diverse locales as The Village Gate and Carnegie Hall.
Under current director Dr. Sheila Schonbrun,
the choir continues to perform interesting and diverse programs that
highlight the best of the a cappella repertoire,
in recognition of which the choir was awarded a 2004 grant by
the Tanne Foundation. While The Canby Singers consists of
highly skilled, “serious” amateurs, its 26 members prize
above all their shared love of music, unique chemistry, and sense of
The Canby Singers is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.