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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.

2019-2020 core singers

  • Charlotte Mundy, soprano
  • Soprano Charlotte Mundy specializes in music that is new, daring and sublime. She has been called a"daredevil with an unbreakable spine" (SF Classical Voice), and her performances have been described as "an oasis of radiant beauty" (NYTimes). Mundy has performed as a soloist with the Brooklyn Art Song Society, New York Festival of Song and Resonant Bodies Festival; at the Metropolitan Museum, Park Avenue Armory, BAM Next Wave Festival and the Library of Congress. She has given critically acclaimed performances of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, Boulez's Le Marteau sans Maître, Feldman's Three Voices and Messiaen's Poémes Pour Mí. Mundy regularly "slays the thorniest material like it's nothing" (WQXR) with TAK ensemble at venues including Issue Project Room, Miller Theater and the Look and Listen festival.

    She has spoken about writing for voice and performed student compositions at institutions including Columbia University, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Cornell, McGill, and Juilliard.

  • 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.

  • Tim Keeler, countertenor
  • Countertenor and conductor Tim Keeler is sought after as a performer and an educator. He has sung with some of the best ensembles in America, including the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, TENET, New York Polyphony, ekmeles, and Chanticleer. Tim has directed the choirs at the Special Music School High School in Manhattan and worked closely with the Young People's Chorus of New York City as a vocal coach and conductor. He was also the choral conductor for Juilliard's new Summer Performing Arts program - a two-week intensive summer course in Geneva, Switzerland. He holds degrees from Princeton, Cambridge, and the University of Michigan, and he is currently pursuing a doctorate in Choral Conducting at the University of Maryland.

  • Steven Bradshaw, tenor
  • A graduate of The University of the Arts, Steven Bradshaw is a professional vocalist and visual artist based in Philadelphia. He has appeared as a soloist with The Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Tempesta Di Mare, Bang on a Can, The Bach Collegium of Philadelphia, and Network for New Music. In March 2020 he will perform as a soloist with the LA Philharmonic for the premiere of Pulitzer finalist Ted Hearne’s PLACE (reprising the role first performed at the BAM Next Wave Festival in Brooklyn)

    In addition to recording and performing all over the country with Variant 6, Roomful of Teeth and Ekmeles, Steven performs regularly with Seraphic Fire, Trinity Wall Street, Spire, Blue Heron, Yale Choral Artists, and Apollo’s Fire. He is a founding member of The Crossing: The 5-time Grammy nominated vocal ensemble and winner of the 2018 and 2019 Grammy for Best Choral Performance. Steven premiered Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang’s work 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 has designed album artwork for two Crossing Albums: Carthage and The Grammy-winning Zealot Canticles and concept artwork for Gavin Bryars A Native Hill and The Tower and the Garden by Greg Spears. His artwork has been featured at Arch Enemy Arts, Stephen Romano Gallery, Gristle Gallery (NYC), 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.

2019-2020 extended roster

  • Amber Evans, soprano
  • Amber Evans is originally from Brisbane, Australia, currently based in New York. A recent graduate of the contemporary classical Masters at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Lucy Shelton, she premiered over thirty new vocal works and became well-versed in modern contemporary classic works of the last few decades. Previous summer engagements have included the Cortona Sessions for New Music, Darmstadt Summer Music Festival, Melbourne International Singer’s Festival and the Contemporary Performance Institute as part of Mario Davidovsky’s Composer’s Conference. An avid chorister and ensemble singer, Ms. Evans can frequently be seen singing with the Cathedral Choir at St. John the Divine, where she was recently a featured soloist in Arvo Pärt’s Miserere, Choir of St. Luke in the Fields, and the New York early music vocal group, Pomerium. Ms. Evans is also a featured soloist on the CD of Poul Ruders’ opera The Thirteenth Child under the Bridge Records label, due to be released in 2019.

  • Emerson Sieverts, countertenor
  • Emerson Sieverts is devoted to the ethos of music making. A versatile choral musician, he has performed as both a tenor and countertenor with some of New York’s finest ensembles, including Musica Sacra, Clarion Music Society, American Classical Orchestra, Pomerium, and The Bach Vespers Series at Trinity Lutheran Church. He is a regular member of The Choir of Men & Boys at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, as well as The Choir at Temple Emanu-El. His original musical Me Prometheus (co-written with Simon Riker) enjoyed a sold-out run at the New York Theatre Festival in 2017. He also enjoys choral arranging, and his arrangement of Good King Wenceslas was recently published under the Jeffrey Benson Choral Series by Gentry Publications. He has appeared frequently with the Brooklyn-based musicians’ collective Apartment Sessions, and is the bassist for New York’s preeminent underwater punk-pop trio, Imitation Crab.

  • Tomás Cruz, tenor
  • Tomás is known for his "... mellifluous, pure tone (New York Classical Review, 2015),” “… sweet tenor (All About Jazz, 2018),” and stylistic flexibility. Career highlights include concerts with new music ensemble Ekmeles, Toshi Reagon’s folk/rock opera Parable Of The Sower, Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Angel’s Bone, Steve Reich’s The Desert Music, the world premiere of David Lang’s Prisoner Of The State, and most notably the 2012-15 tour of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s opera Einstein On The Beach. He has performed with Damien Rice, Arcade Fire, jazz big band The Gil Evans Project, avant-garde performer Helga Davis, has been featured in art instillations by Andrea Galvani, Jane Benson, and Martin Creed, and recorded with jazz composers Brian Carpenter, Matthew Sheens, and Grammy Award winner Arturo O’Farrill. Tomás received his MM in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory.

  • 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.


7-18-20: Stockhausen and Raven Chacon
Streaming live on our website


5-22-20: A Time for Everything at
The Crypt of Church of the Intercession
COVID Cancellation
1-11-20: A howl, that was also a prayer at
DiMenna Center
11-15-19: Stockhausen and Raven Chacon at
The Crypt of Church of the Intercession
10-19-19: Ekmeles and Mivos Quartet perform Rihm's ET LUX at
DiMenna Center
7-5-19: Ekmeles, Bruce Brubaker, and Oliver Beer at
The MET Museum
5-11-19: Mystical Paths at
University Lutheran in Philadelphia
5-10-19: Mystical Paths in
New York
3-9-19: ICEBERG New Music at
DiMenna Center

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