Through the production of choral-orchestral performances - with an emphasis on neglected or rarely-heard musical works from the 17th to 21st centuries - 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 2010-2011 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, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn n, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Holst, and Dmitri Shostakovich.