Les Canards Chantants is an American solo-voice ensemble performing renaissance polyphony, and known for their ‘elegant vocalism’ (Philadelphia Inquirer), ‘brilliant and moving programming’ (Early Music America) and ‘liveliness and theatricality’ (Boston Musical Intelligencer).
Founded in England while co-directors Robin and Graham Bier pursued their postgraduate graduate degrees in early music, Les Canards Chantants made its debut in 2011 with a sold-out concert at the National Centre for Early Music in York, UK. The ensemble’s American debut at the 2015 Boston Early Music Festival Fringe, performing its now signature staged Italian madrigal program Sex, Drugs and Madrigals, was hailed as ‘some of the best Gesualdo and d’India you are likely to hear’ (Early Music America). Since then, the ‘Singing Ducks’ have established a home concert series in Philadelphia, USA, where they are Ensemble in Residence at Glencairn Museum, and have appeared in concert across the east coast, including collaborations with period instrument ensembles Piffaro and ACRONYM.
Les Canards Chantants has gained a reputation for daring presentation in concert, and for engaging with the most unusual repertoire from the Renaissance. They have appeared on BBC One Countryfile singing forbidden sixteenth century catholic polyphony, starred in a music video about the famous Eglantine Table at Hardwick Hall, received an Early Music America Outreach Grant for their immersive polychoral program and workshop 1.500 Surround Sound, and are working with Brown University and the Chemical Heritage Foundation on a new digital edition and recording of seventeenth century German musical-alchemical emblem book Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier.
Les Canards Chantants have released two CDs to date, and are also becoming known for their quirky music videos on YouTube. Their first CD, Two in the Bush, a collaboration with lutenist Jacob Heringman and lute-viol duo Pellingman’s Saraband, offers sacred vocal music from the Catholic underground in Reformation England, recorded by solo voices with lute and viol in a historic family chapel. Their second CD, released in November 2016, is the world premier recording of Giovanni Valentini’s Secondo libro de madrigali, recorded in collaboration with ACRONYM.