Canticum Novum Chorus and Orchestra

Performing "unjustly neglected masterpieces"

Genre: Classical

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Contact: Kenneth Knight at 505-466-3637


Through the production of choral-orchestral performances - with an emphasis on neglected or rarely-heard musical works from the 17thto 21stcenturies - and the presentation of educationally enriching activities, Canticum Novum provides quality cultural experiences for audiences in Santa Fe and throughout Northern New Mexico and employment opportunities for talented local musicians.

CANTICUM NOVUM gave its inaugural concerts in October 2004.  By the end of the 2010-11 season, the ensemble will have treated Santa Fe audiences to a total of thirty-nine concerts of nineteen different programs.  From the beginning, founders John Onstad and Kenneth Knight sought to distinguish Canticum Novum from the many other fine choral ensembles in Santa Fe by focusing on outstanding but rarely-heard works for chamber orchestra and chorus.  This approach caught the attention of a Santa Fe New Mexican critic, who wrote, “The music tends to be enticing, out of the ordinary, and not heard anywhere else around.”  These “unjustly neglected masterpieces” include works by little-known composers—particularly those of the Baroque era in Latin America—as well as such familiar great masters as J. S. Bach, Vivaldi, Händel, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Holst, and Shostakovich.

Listen to excerpts on our website! 

Founding artistic director and conductor Kenneth Knight, a native of Texas, received his Bachelor of Arts in music theory from Yale University, where he was a soloist with the Yale Glee Club and the Whiffenpoofs.   After graduate study in voice, musicology, and conducting at the Manhattan School of Music, he toured for several seasons with the Norman Luboff Choir.  He has also sung with the Roger Wagner Chorale, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Don Ellis Band, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, American Bach Soloists, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Chorus.  In 1987, he was chosen to be principal cantor for papal masses at the Los Angeles Coliseum and Dodger Stadium on the occasion of the visit of Pope John Paul II.  In California, he was director of music for eight years at St. Clare’s Catholic Church in Santa Clarita and for five years at Petaluma United Methodist Church.  He is also the founding director of the Sonoma County Men’s Chorus.  A resident of Santa Fe since 2001, Mr. Knight formerly directed the Zia Singers and the Santa Fe Men’s Camerata.

"I love the variety of music at these concerts."  -- Audience member

"Absolutely wonderful!" -- Audience member

"Canticum Novum is an excellent organization that sincerely deserves both attention and support." -- Albuquerque Journal

"Challenging to artist but accessible to audience" --Grant review panel

“The vocal and instrumental ensemble Canticum Novum is midway through its seventh season, and if it has been a bit slow to snag unswerving awareness from Santa Fe’s concertgoers, that will have changed definitely with its performance of Benjamin Britten’s music drama Curlew Riveron Feb. 13 at First Presbyterian Church…  Curlew Riveris a curiosity that, in this performance, proved affecting and mysterious in its beauty.”  -- Santa Fe New Mexican