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what is ekmeles

[ɛk'mɛlɛs] \ek'meles\
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 "brilliant young ensemble... defining a fresh and virtuosic American sound" - The New Yorker

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.

2017-2018 core singers

  • Charlotte Mundy, soprano
  • Charlotte Mundy is a classically trained, experimentally inclined Canadian soprano, and a proud member of some of the coolest musical #squads in NYC. Aside from her work with Ekmeles, she "slays the thorniest material like it's nothing" (WQXR) with TAK ensemble, performs eccentrically ornamented Elizabethan songs and new complexity duels with guitarist Jordan Dodson, and sings neo-psychedelic, post-prog tunes with The Knells. As a soloist she has given critically acclaimed performances of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire ("remarkably arresting," I Care if You Listen), Boulez's Le Marteau san Maître ("excellent," NYTimes) and Feldman's Three Voices ("mesmerizing," NYTimes). Mundy will sing and act in A Star Has Burnt My Eye in the upcoming BAM Next Wave Festival, she recently sang and sauntered in an installation by Martin Creed at the Park Avenue Armory, and has sung while dancing with New Chamber Ballet. She hosts weekday afternoons on Q2music, a Peabody Award-winning affiliate of WQXR dedicated to contemporary music.

  • Elisa Sutherland, mezzo-soprano
  • Elisa Sutherland is known for her detailed, stylistic interpretations of both early and new music. She has performed with ensembles ranging from American Bach Soloists to Roomful of Teeth. Recent opera roles include Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Dorabella from Cosi fan tutte, Ottavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Nancy in Albert Herring. Elisa was the first place winner of the inaugural Handel Aria Competition in Madison, Wisconsin, and has won Encouragement and District awards at the Met Opera Auditions. This upcoming season, Elisa will perform extensively with Philadelphia's The Crossing, DC's The Thirteen, and her own vocal sextet, Variant 6.

  • Steven Bradshaw, tenor
  • Steven Bradshaw has a appeared as a soloist with The Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Tempesta Di Mare, Piffaro, Bang on a Can, Old City Baroque, The Bach Collegium of Philadelphia, and Network for New Music. He performs regularly with Roomful of Teeth, Seraphic Fire, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Spire, Blue Heron, Yale Choral Artists, and Apollo’s Fire. He is a founding member of the Crossing: A vocal ensemble fully dedicated to new music. The Crossing has recently collaborated with ICE, Quicksilver, The American Composer’s Orchestra, and PRISM saxophone quartet. Steven premiered David Lang’s Lifespan for three whistlers and a four billion year-old fossil, and gave over 300 performances of the work. In addition to his singing career, Steven is a dedicated visual artist. He contributed a large visual component to the premier of Gavin Bryars’s The Fifth Century by the Crossing and The PRISM Saxophone Quartet. His artwork has been featured at Stephen Romano Gallery, Gristle Gallery(New York), Arch Enemy Arts, GrindcoreHouse, Philamoca(Philadelphia) Baker-Hezeldenz(Tucson AZ) and La Luz De Jesus gallery in Los Angeles California.

  • Jeffrey Gavett, baritone and director
  • 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, Roomful of Teeth, Talea Ensemble, and his own ensembles Ekmeles and loadbang. He has worked with composers including Chaya Czernowin, David Lang, Liza Lim, Terry Riley, and Steven Takasugi.

    He has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Issue Project Room, The Kitchen, Merkin Hall, Miller Theatre, Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, The Stone, and Zankel Hall, and has been praised as a “brilliantly agile singer” by the New York Times. Mr. Gavett holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music.

  • Steven Hrycelak, bass
  • 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.

2017-2018 extended roster

  • Sarah Brailey, soprano
  • Hailed by The New York Times for her "radiant, liquid tone,” “exquisitely phrased,” and “sweetly dazzling” singing, soprano Sarah Brailey is in demand as a soloist and chamber music artist across all genres of classical music. She has performed Steve Reich at Carnegie Hall, Schoenberg's Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten with the Brooklyn Art Song Society, and with Kanye West and Roomful of Teeth at the Hollywood Bowl. Recent highlights include Webern's Op. 13, 14, and 25 with Trinity Wall Street, John Zorn’s Madrigals at the Louvre Museum, George Benjamin's Dream of the Song with Lorelei Ensemble and the Boston Symphony, and Ligeti's Clocks and Clouds at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music.

  • Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, mezzo-soprano
  • Born in Belfast, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek is a former member of the acclaimed vocal quartet Anonymous 4. She is a soloist specializing in early and new music, and was featured on the Grammy Award-winning album Calling All Dawns. Jacqueline has been a guest soloist with many ensembles, including the Washington Bach Consort, the Bach Sinfonia (Washington, D.C.), the Carmel Bach Festival, Fairfax Choral Society, Sonnambula, Parthenia, Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), the Ensemble InterContemporain (Paris), Continuum, American Opera Projects, Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI, Juilliard 415, New Juilliard Ensemble, Orchestra of Our Time and Distinguished Concerts International New York. She holds an MA in Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and is currently a D.M.A candidate in Voice at The Juilliard School. Jacqueline is also a voice teacher: she is an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University and maintains a private studio in New York.

  • Padraic Costello, countertenor
  • Padraic Costello is a committed performer and advocator of new works by living composers both from the United States and East/Southeast Asia. Holding degrees in ethnomusicology and voice performance from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, he has regularly collaborated on research and performance projects with traditional musicians, artists, and composers from Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, Australia, and Hawaii. Since moving to New York, he has quickly become active as an ensemble and operatic singer of both early and new music. Recent opera roles include Endimione and Pane in La Calisto, Ottone in Agrippina, and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition to singing, he actively performs on several traditional instruments, and is a member of the Sawai Koto Kai school of Japanese koto.

  • Timothy Parsons, countertenor
  • Timothy Parsons is active as both soloist and ensemble singer in New York City. He is a member of the Grammy®-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Appearances include the Montreal Bach Festival, the MATA Festival, the Stavanger Kammermusikkfestival, and the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht. As a soloist, Timothy has been hailed as a "most dazzling contributor...whose magnificently muscular singing...made one want to coin a new vocal category just for him — the heldencountertenor…” (San Francisco Chronicle) He is the Interim Music Director of the Park Slope Singers, and an Adjunct Professor of Voice at William Paterson University.

  • Michael Jones, tenor
  • Michael Jones performs nationwide as a soloist and chamber musician. Currently living in Philadelphia as of Summer 2017, he regularly sings with The Crossing, Choral Arts in Philadelphia, DC’s The Thirteen, and his soloist debut was with Philadelphia Orchestra singing the Pat Metheny Concerto this past March. Michael has also appeared with Music of the Baroque, William Ferris Chorale, Grant Park Opera Chorus, The Bridge Ensemble, Chorosynthesis, and Variant 6. Michael has recorded on Parma, Albany, World Library Publications (WLP), and GIA and has performed on five Downbeat Award-winning recordings. Michael studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for his bachelors in jazz trumpet and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music for his masters in jazz trumpet. Michael also continues to keep a busy performing/touring schedule as a jazz trumpet player.

  • Peter Stewart, bass
  • Peter Stewart has toured extensively in the US, Europe, Australia and Asia with the Philip Glass Ensemble for many years. He has performed and recorded with them as a featured singer and at keyboard. He has recorded the baritone songs of Lee Hoiby with the composer at the piano on a disc called 'Continual Conversation with a Silent Man.' Peter has premiered and recorded works by Gavin Bryars, Robert Wilson, Meredith Monk, Hans Werner Henze, Leroy Jenkins and Blue Gene Tyranny, among others. In early music, Peter has performed for many years with Pomerium, the Waverly Consort, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Peter teaches voice at Montclair State University.


9-7-18: Ekmeles and friends at
DiMenna Center


5-26-18: End Words and Stimmung in
New York
5-19-18: Ekmeles in residency at
Stanford University
4-4 - 4-5-18: Ekmeles presented by Innuan at
Columbia University
3-23-18: Ekmeles in residency at
Heidelberg University
2-22-18: Microtonal premieres at
The Crypt of Church of the Intercession
2-17-18: New Chamber Ballet at
City Center Studios
2-16-18: New Chamber Ballet at
City Center Studios
2-3-18: Julius Eastman's Macle at
The Kitchen
12-1-17: Ekmeles + at
DiMenna Center
10-7-17: Music of Longing at
The Crypt of Church of the Intercession

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