1. In Ancient Greek music theory, tones of indefinite pitch and intervals with complex ratios, tones "not appropriate for musical usage." In New York City, a new vocal ensemble dedicated to breathing life into those disallowed tones, new and old.
2. "A promising addition to the New York scene" ; "Virtuosically adventurous" - Alex Ross
Ekmeles is a vocal ensemble dedicated to the performance of new and rarely-heard works, and gems of the historical avant garde. New York is home to a vibrant instrumental New Music scene, with a relative paucity of vocal music. Ekmeles was founded to fill the gap by presenting new a cappella repertoire for solo voices, and by collaborating with these instrumental ensembles.
Director Jeffrey Gavett brings a hybrid vision to the group: he is an accomplished ensemble singer and performer of new works, and holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program. He has assembled a virtuoso group of colleagues who bring their own diverse backgrounds to bear on the unique challenges of this essential and neglected repertoire.
Hailed for her "powerful and expressive vocals,” by The Capital Times, soprano Sarah Brailey is sought after as a soloist and chamber musician in a broad and varied repertoire.
This season’s highlights include solo appearances at Alice Tully Hall with the The American Classical Orchestra, and the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Bach’s St John Passion with the Boulder Bach Festival and St. Matthew Passion at Trinity Wall Street, and appearances at the Salzburg Festival with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti. Ms. Brailey recently made her debut with American Opera Projects as Mother in The Scarlet Ibis by Stefan Weisman and David Cote and will return to AOP this summer in Lera Auerbach’s The Blind at the Lincoln Center Festival.
Described by the New York Times as “a soprano of extraordinary agility and concentration” Mary Elizabeth Mackenzie has captured the attention of audiences in New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Boston.
Contemporary opera productions include Héctor Parra’s Hypermusic: Ascension at the Guggenheim Museum and the premiere of Jonathan Dawe’s Cracked Orlando at the Italian Academy at Columbia University. Notable solo appearances include Jean Barraqué's Chant Aprés Chant with the Juilliard Percussion Ensemble, Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 with the Borromeo String Quartet, Pierrot Lunaire with Carnegie Hall’s Academy and at the Rockport Music Festival, Boulez’s Improvisations sur Mallarmé No. 1 & 2 at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.
Praised for “soaring beauty and great skill” (Opera, Opera) and described as “superb, with a voice of penetrating beauty, precision and variegated colours” (Sydney Morning Herald), Australian-born soprano Jane Sheldon has sung under the direction of William Christie, Charles Dutoit, Antony Walker, and Reinbert de Leeuw, amongst others. Specializing in early music, and active in the creation and performance of new works, she has performed internationally, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Australia's Pinchgut Opera, Boston Camerata, and recently as part of New York City Opera’s 2012 Vox Festival. In 2011 Jane and Ensemble Offspring were awarded Performance of the Year at the Australian Art Music Awards for The Origin Cycle, a work she co-commissioned, in which 8 composers set text fragments from Charles Darwin's Origin of Species.
Praised by the New York Times for her “dark and sizeable voice,” and “considerable depth of expression,” Rachel Calloway is quickly establishing herself as one of the foremost mezzo-sopranos of her generation. This season she makes her debut at the Cervantino Festival, alongside the Amernet Quartet and sings the world premiere of Gabriela Frank’s Holy Sisters with the San Francisco Girls’ Chorus and the Berkeley Symphony. In January she sang the title role in the first staged production of Mohammed Fairouz’s Sumeida’s Song at the inaugural Prototype Festival, and later this season will appear with the Signal Ensemble at the Miller Theater and Lincoln Center Festival. She makes her debut with the ensemble Alarm Will Sound at Zankel Hall and in St. Louis and will appear in numerous performances with the new music vocal ensemble Ekmeles. She also returns to France for performances of Britten's The Turn of the Screw.
Ms. Calloway holds degrees from both the Juilliard School (BM) and Manhattan School of Music (MM) and maintains an active teaching studio.
“Marvelous,” “elegant,” “beautiful”—so has the New York Times described mezzo-soprano Silvie Jensen. A vocalist of great versatility, Silvie Jensen has performed at London’s Barbican Centre with Ornette Coleman, Teatro Comunale Ferarra with Meredith Monk, and Carnegie Hall with Philip Glass. Ms. Jensen has also appeared at Chicago Lyric Opera, BAM, Alice Tully Hall with Musica Sacra, Bang on a Can Marathon, Ash Lawn Opera, American Chamber Opera, One World Symphony, Clarion Society, and in Handel’s Messiah at Trinity Wall Street. Ms. Jensen has commissioned, premiered, and recorded works created for her, and is a frequent recitalist.
Amirtha Kidambi is invested in the performance and promotion of new and innovative music across a diverse array of styles and genres. As a performer, songwriter, educator, and curator, she strives to draw connections between seemingly disparate musical areas and communities.
As a soloist and member in projects such as the The Sweat Lodge and chamber art rock band Seaven Teares, Amirtha has performed in a variety of venues from DIY spaces to concert halls including Le Poisson Rouge, ISSUE Project Room, Roulette, Death by Audio, Silent Barn, Galapagos Art Space and The Kitchen. Recent performances include a premiere of Robert Ashley’s WWW III (Just the Highlights), a premiere of Charlie Looker’s “Eve’s Prayer” with the Brooklyn Philharmonic String Quartet, Matthew Welch’s new opera Borges and the Other, and the U.S. premiere of Luigi Nono’s Quando Stanno Morendo.
Praised by the Albuquerque Journal for his “heartfelt intensity of smooth, effortless, bittersweet tones,” countertenor Patrick Fennig is sought after as both a soloist and choral singer. He has appeared with Fretwork Viol Consort, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Concert Royal, The American Classical Orchestra, and The Brooklyn Conservatory Orchestra. A choral singer since his days a choirboy at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, Patrick is a member of The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, NYC, Early Music New York, Musica Sacra and Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble. He graduated from Northwestern University and, now based in New York, studies with Drew Minter.
Eric Dudley is a full-time member of the choir at Trinity Wall Street in New York, where he also serves as assistant conductor for the Trinity Choir and Baroque Orchestra’s weekly “Bach at One” concert series. He sings regularly with Musica Sacra, The New York Virtuoso Singers, The Collegiate Chorale, Seraphic Fire (Miami, FL), Roomful of Teeth, and Bard Summerscape Opera. His conducting engagements have included positions with the Hartford, Princeton and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, as well as guest conducting the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Arcko Symphonic Project on the Melbourne International Arts Festival. He studied voice, piano and composition at the Eastman School of Music, and trained as a conductor at the Brevard and Aspen music festivals and as a recipient of the Doctoral degree from Yale.
Daniel Neer’s performance credits include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Guggenheim Museum, Apollo Theater, Art Institute of Chicago, Radio City Music Hall, and in collaborative new music projects with Royal Opera House Covent Garden, New York City Opera, American Opera Projects, The Kitchen and the Metropolis Ensemble. He has performed over 100 roles in theater, musical theater and opera in America and abroad to critical acclaim, (including the casts of two original Broadway productions), and has recorded for Dreamworks, Naxos, Albany and Newport Classics. Also a writer, Daniel’s plays, libretti and poems have been performed on stages in New York, New Haven, Philadelphia and Boston.
Matthew B. Hensrud is always eager to participate in the next interesting project. Focusing on ensemble work in early & modern music, he's a full-time member of Trinity Wall Street’s renowned ensemble, and joins other groups like Ekmeles, Pomerium, and the Clarion Ensemble. Recent projects include Paul Dedell’s Chemistry of Love, Bryan Senti’s From the Margins, This, Unmentioned, and performances with the Mark Morris Dance Company. Past highlights include multiple performances of BAM’s St. Matthew Passion, directed by Jonathan Miller; Nico Muhly and Maira Kalman’s "Elements of Style"; and the staged premiere of David Lang’s new opera, Anatomy Theatre. He is a featured soloist on New York Early Music’s recent album, A Dutch Christmas, and an upcoming CD of classical crossover works by Barry Seroff.
With performances in 25 languages, Aram Tchobanian has premiered numerous works for tenor and orchestra or chamber ensemble by Vanraj Bhatia, Thomas Cipullo, Yoav Gal, Martin Halpern, Jakov Jakoulov, Thomas Pasatieri, Marga Richter, Eric Schwartz, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Ben Yarmolinsky, among many others. Aram has been featured soloist with the Columbus Symphony, the Armenian Festival Orchestra (Boston Symphony Hall), the Hamazkayin Armenian Chorus, the Alliance Players, the Bachanalia Festival Orchestra, and the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, and in such New York venues as Symphony Space, La MaMa E.T.C., The Knitting Factory, Roulette, and Galapagos, as well as Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, and Merkin halls. Recordings include Gal’s Venus in Furs, Pasatieri’s Three Sisters, Richter’s Riders to the Sea, and Yarmolinsky’s The Constitution: A Secular Oratorio, as well as four audiobooks. Aram is on the board of Joy In Singing, an organization devoted to the art of the song recital.
Jeffrey Gavett is dedicated to new music as composer, performer and improviser. He has appeared with a broad array of artists, ranging from the Rolling Stones and indie rock group Clogs to new music groups such as ICE, Talea Ensemble, and his own ensembles Ekmeles and loadbang. He has worked with composers including David Lang, Liza Lim, Terry Riley, and Steven Takasugi.
He has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Issue Project Room, The Kitchen, Merkin Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, The Stone, and Zankel Hall, and has been praised for his “attractive” and “even-tempered” voice by the New York Times. Mr. Gavett holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music.
Avery Griffin is a freelance musician working extensively in New York, New Jersey, and New England. He has had the privilege of working with a wide variety of notable artists including prestigious conductors Simon Carrington, Andrew Parrot, and Jane Glover, composers Toby Twining, Joseph Maneri, Jason Eckardt and Rinde Eckert and choreographer Mark Morris. He is currently a member of the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys at 5th Avenue in Manhattan under the direction of John Scott
Avery has extensive performance experience in new music and has premiered works by composers including Ezra Sims and James Bergin. He is a member of several exciting new music ensembles including: NotaRiotous, the chamber ensemble of the Boston Microtonal Society, and Roomful of Teeth, an eight-member vocal ensemble, and Toby Twining Music, the chamber ensemble of composer Toby Twining.
Steven Hrycelak is in demand as an operatic, concert, and ensemble performer. He has performed with the NY Virtuoso Singers, Toby Twining Music, ekmeles, Early Music New York, Vox, TENET, Meridionalis, Seraphic Fire, and a vocal jazz quintet, West Side 5. He has also been a frequent soloist at Trinity Church Wall Street, as well as with NYS Baroque, Pegasus, Musica Sacra, 4x4, the Waverly Consort, the American Symphony Orchestra, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Union Avenue Opera, and the Collegiate Chorale. His performance of Monteverdi’s Seneca with Opera Omnia was hailed by the NY Times as having "a graceful bearing and depth." He has also traveled the US, Canada, and Europe performing in Frank London's Klezmer musical, A Night in the Old Marketplace. Mr. Hrycelak has degrees from Indiana University and Yale University, where he sang with the world-renowned Yale Whiffenpoofs. Additionally, he is a coach/accompanist.