School or Affiliation: Swarthmore
Swarthmore, PA


Cantatrix was founded as a women's a cappella group in 1997 by Nyssa Taylor and Emily Shu '00. After several years, the group dispersed, to be resurrected in 2003 as a co-ed group. Yes, O founders, there are now men in Cantatrix. We rehearse 3-4 hours per week and perform a few times each semester.

With a membership of between five and eight singers each semester, we are one of Swarthmore's smallest a cappella groups. We are also the only "classical music" group. (yeah, yeah, that's not a very musically precise term.)

The founding members of Cantatrix envisioned us as specializing in medieval and renaissance music. Over the years, however, our repertoire has expanded to include music from a number of other periods.

In recent memory we have performed pieces by more modern composers such as Durufle and Britten alongside medieval French motets and sequentiae by Hildegard von Bingen. We've even covered a Sweet Honey in the Rock song.

We like to think of our musical niche as "early/eclectic."

The treasurer of Cantatrix is currently Elizabeth (or is it Thomas?). We do not have -- and never have had -- a president or music director. Everything we do is collaborative; this is one of the perks of keeping our group as small as we do.

Although some might associate us with vinyl clothing and whips, we are actually all gentle souls.

With a constant flux in membership due to study abroad, graduation, and stressy seniors, Cantatrix generally holds auditions each semester. We encourage anyone interested in singing in the soprano and alto ranges to audition, regardless of prior musical experience.


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