Embrace the Power, Passion and Joy of Women’s Voices!

Canzona, San Luis Obispo County’s all-women’s choral ensemble, features the exquisite sound of women’s voices with two concert seasons each year. We collaborate with the vast talent on the central coast, including poets, composers, dancers, artists and musicians of all ages, bringing to life the power and beauty of women’s choral repertoire. Canzona was conceived and brought to life by artistic directors and co-conductors Cricket Handler and Jill Anderson in the summer of 2009.

Since its inception Canzona has:
  • Premiered numerous specially commissioned pieces
  • Performed at the Tapestry International Festival of Women’s Choirs in Vancouver
  • Been guest artists for the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Symphony of the Vines, Peninsula Symphony, Soli Deo Gloria Women’s Ensemble, and those venerable Irish ambassadors, the Chieftains.

Numerous concerts have included guest choirs of young women, in support of our goal to nurture a life-long love of choral singing. To champion the contributions of women composers, Canzona has in the past 10 years featured works by at least one or more female composers at each of its concerts. (In contrast, barely 5% of classical concerts around the globe included works by a female composers in their 2018/2019 seasons.**)

Canzona holds a unique place in our community as a champion of choral music for women’s voices, featuring a selective, auditioned ensemble of 24-28 women from around the county. Our goal is to further a love and appreciation for women’s choral literature, expand this literature by commissioning original pieces, and present the music with consistent excellence.

Congratulations on a great concert; it combined a balanced blend of virtuosity and the themes that resonate in the human heart:
love, intrigue, romance, mischief!
~Carmen F., devoted Canzona supporter and concert attendee

Our Mission
To inspire our singers and audiences through the performance of diverse choral repertoire for women’s voices,
with an intent to champion works by female composers.

Board of Directors


Judy Philbin, President
Francie Levy, Secretary
John Baer, Treasurer
Jill Anderson, Artistic Director
Cricket Handler, Artistic Director

Judith Bernstein
Nicki Edwards
Garrett Foulke
Lynne Robinette
Kathleen York
Ellen Sheffer, member at large


Jill Whaley, Executive Director

** Female Composers Largely Ignored by Concert Lineups, The Guardian, June 13, 2018
** The Sound of Silence: Female Composers at the Symphony, NPR All Things Considered, June 19, 2018