Our History

In its fifty-six year history, Cantata Academy has had five talented individuals serve in the post of Music Director and Conductor.  Arthur Stephan led the group from its founding in 1961 to 1971.  Maestro Frederick Bellinger led Cantata Academy from 1971 to 1999.  Dr. Michael A. Mitchell, Professor of Music at Oakland University, took the helm from 1999 to 2008.  Maurice Draughn led the ensemble from 2008 to 2010 and  Susan Catanese has led the Chorale since July 2010.

Cantata Academy has appeared with every major orchestra in the Detroit metropolitan area. Beginning 1973, the Chorale has made tours to Europe performing in over 20 different countries. In addition to its own concerts each season, Cantata Academy has collaborated with other professional musical ensembles to produce special event concerts. Here are a few highlights from the past several years:

2014: In March, a combined Opera Choruses concert with Madrigal Chorale; in May, a moving performance of the Verdi “Requiem” with the Community Chorus of Detroit, orchestra and soloists commemorating the Terezin concentration camp prisoners.

2013: In March, Cantata performed a concert with Measure for Measure, featuring the Biebl “Ave Maria”; in December Cantata had a special holiday concert with the Warren Symphony Orchestra featuring Karl Jenkins’ “Gloria”.

2012: In November, Cantata joined forces with the Warren Symphony Orchestra, other ensembles and soloists for Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”; in December, Cantata performed the Vivaldi “Gloria” with the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra.

2011: In June, Cantata celebrated our landmark 50th Season of song with a concert, gala dinner and silent auction at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Park.  We invited a Celebration Choir of our former singers to with us; repertoire included favorite selections from past years.  In October, a collaboration featuring Dello Joio’s “A Jubilant Song” with the Stoney Creek High School Chamber Singers and Detroit Metropolitan Youth Ensembles Handbell Choir; in December, J.S. Bach’s “Magnificat” with the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra.

2010: In April, Cantata performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in collaboration with the Detroit Civic Orchestra and three other area choral groups.

2009: In October, Cantata Academy Chorale featured Young Artists in our annual fall performance.

2008: In April, Cantata Academy collaborated with the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony to perform Verdi’s Requiem at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall.

2005: In July, The Cantata Academy Chorale performed a fundraising concert for a local Children’s Hospital at the Jesuitic Church of the Holy Redeemer in Bratislava, Slovak Republic as part of its 2005 European Tour.

2004: In April, Cantata Academy performed Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Ralph Vaughn Williams’ In Windsor Forest with the Oakland Symphony and Oakland University choruses

2003: In March, Cantata Academy performed Bruckner’s Mass No. 2 in E-Minor with a 15-wind ensemble from the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings; in April, Cantata Academy and the Warren Symphony Orchestra performed Berlioz’s Lelio with soloists.

2002: In March, Cantata Academy and the Southfield Philharmonic performed Vivaldi’s Gloria with soloists and orchestra; In April, Cantata Academy performed Stravinky’s Mass with soloists and a double wind quintet from the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings; In April, Cantata Academy performed Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with soloist Jacquelyn Wagner, organ, harp and percussion.

2001: In April, Cantata Academy, the Pontiac Oakland Symphony, bass soloist John Paul White, and members of the Oakland University choral ensembles performed Mussorgsky’s “Coronation Scene” from Boris Godunov and Boito’s “Prologue” to Mefistofele.

2000: In April, Cantata Academy, the Detroit Archdiocesan Chorus, soloists and orchestra performed Verdi’s Requiem.

1999: In February, Cantata Academy performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall in a series of pops concerts.

Cantata Academy has also produced professional recordings. The latest recording “That Music Always Round Me,” is available on compact disc.  Purchase your copy here!