I Cantanti (36 mixed voices) and Le Donne (34 women’s voices) are chamber choirs based in Northfield. The organization was founded in 1988, and began with just the mixed voice chamber choir. Over the years, this choir has grown to 36 voices. Because of the interest of more women than could be accommodated in the mixed choir, the women’s choir, Le Donne, began in 2005. Almost all of the sopranos and altos in the mixed choir also sing in the women’s ensemble. In order to maintain quality and balance, membership in both choirs is through audition. Including the current 48 singers, a total of 200 adults have sung with one or both of the ensembles. Four of the current members are charter members, three of which have performed in every concert during the last 28 years. Founding director, Wayne Kivell, has directed every concert.

The organization is in its 34th year in 2021-22. Beginning in 2022, Peter Schleif is now conducting I Cantanti, and Wayne Kivell continues as conductor of Le Donne.

The purpose of I Cantanti Chamber Choirs is to provide high quality and authentic performances of choral music of all styles from Renaissance to Modern. Our goal is to provide a professional experience in an amateur setting for talented singers in the Northfield area. In addition to residents of Northfield, singers from a half dozen surrounding communities are singing with the ensembles.

Since the beginning, I Cantanti has prepared two or three concert programs per year, meeting from September through April. Though focusing primarily on classical choral literature, the ensembles have also presented concerts of folk, Broadway, opera, and jazz.

I Cantanti has teamed with other vocal and instrumental ensembles in concert: String Fever (bluegrass band), Carleton College Choir, Minnesota Valley Men’s Chorale, Nova Cantabile, Northfield High School Choir, Nova Cantabile, the Edina Chorale, several local church choirs, and the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra.

The I Cantanti Chamber Choirs have built up a faithful audience over the years. The audiences continue to grow and to support the choirs with their donations. Concerts have also been given in the communities of Owatonna, Faribault, New Prague, Eagan, Golden Valley and Cannon Falls. In 2004, I Cantanti toured Italy as a result of an invitation to be a part of a festival of choirs from around Europe. I Cantanti was the only American choir invited.

In addition, both I Cantanti (1996) and Le Donne (2005, 2012, 2021) have been invited to appear at state conferences of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. And this year the ensembles have also been heard on Minnesota Public Radio, as well as local stations KDHL (Faribault) and KYMN (Northfield).

Major works that have been performed:

  • Bach, St. John Passion
  • Bass, Gloria
  • Brahms, Four Songs for Women’s Voices
  • Braz, Jubilate Deo
  • Britten, Rejoice in the Lamb
  • Durufle, Requiem
  • Ellingboe, Requiem
  • Faure, Requiem
  • Gjeilo, Sunrise Mass
  • Haydn, Creation
  • Haydn, Lord Nelson Mass
  • Haydn, Missa Brevis St. Johannes de Deo
  • Mozart, Coronation Mass
  • Mozart, Solemn Vespers
  • Orban, Mass No. 6
  • Orff, Carmina Burana
  • Pergolesi, Magnificat
  • Shearing, Music to Hear
  • Thompson, Frostiana
  • Vaughan Williams, Dona Nobis Pacem
  • Zimmer, Mother Africa

The governing documents and financial information of the I Cantanti Choirs organization are available upon request.