Since its founding in 2001, Chantry has enchanted audiences throughout the Washington area with what The Washington Post has called the "unfettered joy" of its singing, the "moving" quality of its performance, and the "acute stylistic awareness," "nuance and lyricism," and "gut-level understanding of the idiom" which it brings to early music. Ionarts Music called Chantry's performance with the world-renowned Renaissance wind band Piffaro for the 2005 Washington Early Music Festival "an evening of extraordinary singing, poised, with impeccable diction and intonation, and cleansingly pure in tone from Chantry."
Chantry's 10-16 professional early music voices are dedicated to fresh, vibrant, historically informed performance of neglected masterpieces of Renaissance polyphony and music of the Baroque era. Chantry was featured in the inaugural concert of the first Washington Early Music Festival in 2004. Chantry has performed with other major early music ensembles including Modern Musick, the Orchestra of the 17th Century, and the Washington Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, and has appeared on a number of important Washington concert series, including the Church of the Epiphany's Tuesday Noon Concert Series and the concert series of the Cosmos Club, St. Patrick's Catholic Church (DC), Saint Luke Catholic Church (McLean), and Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church (Bethesda). Most of Chantry's members maintain active professional singing careers.
The name "Chantry" comes from the old French chanterie, meaning "to sing." In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a chantry was a chapel (often a small chapel inside a large cathedral) dedicated to the singing of masses for someone's soul, or an endowment for the singing of such masses.
David Taylor, Chantry's founder and Music Director, holds a D.Mus.A. degree in choral literature and performance from the University of Colorado, a M.Mus. degree in conducting from the University of Maryland, where he studied with Paul Traver, and a B.Mus. degree in organ from Andrews University. In 2004, he played a leading role in the creation of the Washington Early Music Festival. Dr. Taylor was the founding music director of Musicorum, a southern Minnesota early music ensemble, and spent 15 years as a college choral director. He is a former member of the Choir of Men and Boys of Washington Cathedral under Paul Callaway, and has served as organist-choirmaster for numberous churches since beginning his church music career at age 13. Chantry sings much of its repertoire from performing editions prepared by Dr. Taylor.
- "acute stylistic awareness"
- "impelled by an exciting immediacy"
- "beautifully balanced, the textures clear and transparent and the texts inflected gracefully and naturally"
- "unfettered joy"
- ~ The Washington Post