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About Us

What We Do

Cantabile Youth Singers brings world-class artistic excellence in vocal music instruction to the youth of Silicon Valley by creating a supportive, enriching choral community for all, fostering the innate beauty, talent, and individual freedom of expression within each singer, and engaging them in performances of the highest caliber.

Our Community

Artists. Scholars. Leaders. Friends. These four words are at the center of our program, which allows students of all genders to make lifelong friends from their earliest days in Cantabile. Watch the video to the right to hear our students speak passionately about this musical community, answering the question, "What is your favorite thing about Cantabile?"



Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley is an internationally recognized choral program providing world-class music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to Silicon Valley communities with rehearsal locations in Los Altos, California. Cantabile was founded in 1994 by local music educator Signe Boyer and has grown under the leadership of Artistic Director Elena Sharkova since 2004. Cantabile (kahn / TAH / bee / lay) is an Italian word, translated as “singable” or “song-like.” In a musical context, it refers to a smooth, flowing, and melodious style. 

Through participation in weekly rehearsals, vocal masterclasses, seasonal concerts, recitals, festivals, recordings and touring, more than 200 singers ages 4 to 18 engage their  hearts, minds, and voices in joyful, creative learning that fosters such life skills as community  building, arts appreciation and advocacy, pursuit of excellence, self-discipline, leadership,  and teamwork. 

Cantabile’s unique and innovative music curriculum includes:

  • Orff and Kodály techniques and advanced musicianship training

  • Vocal technique instruction, performing music from diverse world cultures

  • Mindfulness, yoga, and creative movement

  • Improvisation, focus on self-realization, and compassion

  • An appreciation for the diversity of humankind, cultures, languages, and the arts. 

  • Leadership training by internationally renowned Cantabile artistic staff


Open to all children who love to sing, Cantabile offers progressive levels of vocal, musical theory and performance challenge. Singers are organized into seven performing choirs and two levels of preparatory classes, based on age and skill. Since the 2013-14 Season, the Young Men’s Division provides training, concert opportunities, and camaraderie for boys with changing and changed voices. The division is led by Associate Artistic Director, Jace Wittig.

Cantabile’s choirs appear annually with leading San Francisco Bay Area arts organizations  such as: Symphony Silicon Valley, Cappella SF, GAUDE, Stanford Symphony and Chorale,  San Jose Ballet, Opera San Jose, and West Bay Area Opera and performed with the Kronos Quartet, GRAMMY-nominated professional chorus Conspirare, visual artist Nene Humphrey, multi- instrumentalist Laura Inserra and actor Ryan Gosling, among others. 

Nationally and internationally recognized for innovative and moving concert programs,  Cantabile’s advanced choir Vocalise has been chosen to perform at these prestigious professional forums:

  • XI World Symposium on Choral Music (Barcelona, 2017)

  • American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Convention (Kansas City, MO, 2019)

  • Western Division ACDA Conference (Los Angeles, 2016)

  • California State ACDA Convention (San Jose, 2018)


Committed to promoting new choral music for young voices, Cantabile established its New Music Commission Fund in 2014 and has since engaged composers Jocelyn Hagen, Will Todd, Tim Sharp, Andrea Ramsey, Sarah Quartel, Stephen Hatfield, Eric Tuan, and Tom Shelton,  among others. 



  • Unique curriculum combines Orff and Kodály music education principles 

  • Advanced vocal training of the highest level

  • Training principles fuse music, movement and mindfulness 

  • Concert programs ranging from classical to adventurous contemporary, folk, gospel, world music, and more

  • Joyful rehearsals and performances foster deep engagement of body, mind and spirit

  • Strong connection to the San Francisco Bay Area arts community

  • Annual national and international performance touring 

  • Professional recordings, competitions and guest performances at professional choral forums around the world


Mission & Impact

Mission Statement


Cantabile Youth Singers brings world-class artistic excellence in vocal music instruction to the youth of Silicon Valley by creating a supportive, enriching choral community for all, fostering the innate beauty, talent, and individual freedom of expression within each singer, and engaging them in performances of the highest caliber.


Our Values

Joy: Singing is a shared experience that lifts the spirits of everyone in the room. We prioritize joy and wellbeing in teaching, performing, and event. 

Artistry: Based on centuries-old choral tradition and one of leading innovators in the field, Cantabile prepares students for artistic excellence at every level of training, and offers frequent opportunities to engage with musicians and artists of the highest caliber. 


Education: We believe in utilizing Orff and Kodály principles to teach advanced musicianship skills; building appreciation for arts, humanities, and cultures of the world; and deepening interdisciplinary critical thinking abilities.


Leadership: Cantabile’s Leadership Academy offers hands-on experience through a well-managed training program that enables students to lead their peers, mentor younger Cantabile students, assist their instructors, and reach out to the collegiate and professional choral communities.


Community: Singers form lifelong friendships in our choirs, build networks that serve them well into their working lives, and receive ample opportunities to engage with the worldwide choral community through annual collaborations and tours.

Inclusivity: We believe in the value of every human life, and we reject any form of racism or discrimination. We stand with singers of every race, creed, gender identity, and economic background. Cantabile singers reflect the diverse community around us, and we view our diversity as a wealth of shared experience upon which to build empathy and appreciation for others. Cantabile regularly performs music that directly addresses relevant issues of social justice, and empowers young people to engage in musical activism, leading with the notion that “people who make music together cannot be enemies.”



There is ample evidence that singing in a choir is a positive developmental experience for children. Choral singing and its older progenitors – tribal singing, group rituals, and religious chanting – are cornerstones of the human experience through time. Group singing helps children learn valuable skills of cooperation, teamwork, self-esteem and a sense of self in the larger context of community. Their individual skills and talents are acknowledged as contributing to an effort that is bigger than themselves, which prepares them to be active and engaged world citizens and community leaders who focus on the greater good. 

Performing teaches young people the value of their talents, and presents an opportunity to unite family and friends in the appreciation of music. This experience of the collective is revolutionary in a time when the movement of education and social media is toward individualism. Cantabile creates community around beauty, art, and interpersonal connection; allowing children to participate in this larger context, and to grow as members of a worldwide choral community.