28
Jun 19

MET Museum: Oliver Beer’s Vessel Orchestra

Ekmeles performs the opening evening of the MET Museum’s first commissioned sound installation: Oliver Beer’s Vessel Orchestra. It is both an installation work, and a playable keyboard instrument comprised of objects from the MET’s collection.

Ekmeles will perform a new work by director Jeffrey Gavett, a work by Forrest Pierce, and will perform an improvised work to transition between Oliver Beer’s installation and the live performance. They will also be joined by pianist Bruce Brubaker, who will split the set.

  • Jeffrey Gavett – Waves (2019) World Premiere
  • Forrest Pierce – Breadmaking (2016)
  • Improvisations and collaborations

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles’s 2018-2019 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the generosity of private donors.


09
Nov 18

New Chamber Ballet + Ekmeles

New Chamber Ballet joins forces with Ekmeles for the second performances of their collaborative ballet to music by Kaija Saariaho and Karin Rehnqvist.

Ekmeles rep for concert

  • Kaija Saariaho – From the Grammar of Dreams (1988)
  • Karin Rehnqvist – Davids Nimm (1983)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles’s 2018-2019 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the generosity of private donors.

Ekmeles in Manhattan Spring 2019 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC.


31
Oct 18

ICEBERG New Music

Ekmeles performs new works by ICEBERG composers Stephanie Ann Boyd, Victor Baez, Derek Cooper, Max Grafe, and Jonathan Russ. Also on the program are works by Donna McKevitt and Amy Brandon, the winners of ICEBERG’S third annual call for scores. Like every ICEBERG event, this concert features an open bar happy hour beginning at 7:30, and a discussion with the composers and performers after the show.

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles’s 2018-2019 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the generosity of private donors.


31
Oct 18

Mystical Paths

This program takes the spiritual and nostalgic atmosphere of the crypt as inspiration. Each of the pieces is deeply human, as befits a set for voices unaccompanied, with works inspired by Sufism, silence, cooking, and humor.

  • Forrest Pierce – Tighten to Nothing (2012)
  • Taylor Brook – Motorman Sextet (2013) Ekmeles commission
  • Lucia Ronchetti – Anatra al sal (2004) U.S. Premiere
  • Agata Zubel – Alphabet of the Ars Brevis (2016)
  • Evan Johnson – Three in, ad abundantiam (2012)
  • Evan Johnson – vo mesurando (2012)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles’s 2018-2019 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the generosity of private donors.

Ekmeles in Manhattan Spring 2019 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC; and funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


31
Oct 18

Madrigals and Animals

This program celebrates the history and future of unaccompanied part song, and the interaction between human and animal voices. At the center of the program is the U.S. premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s epic 12 Madrigali

  • Karola Obermüller – mass:distance:time (2010/16)
  • Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf – void – un delitto italiano (2009)
  • Salvatore Sciarrino – 12 Madrigali (2006) U.S. Premiere
  • Carola Bauckholt – Instinkt (2007/8) U.S. Premiere

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Ekmeles’s 2018-2019 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the generosity of private donors.

Ekmeles in Manhattan Spring 2019 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC; and funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


23
Aug 18

Ekmeles and Friends

This program features works for voices augmented by exceptional instrumentalists and innovative systems of electronics. Bass clarinetist Carlos Cordeiro, trombonist Will Lang, and International Contemporary Ensemble’s Jacob Greenberg on celesta will join with the voices of Ekmeles. The program includes classic works by established masters of vocal and electronic music, as well as new works written expressly for Ekmeles.

  • Kaija Saariaho – Tag des Jahres arr. Rachid Safir (2001)
  • Nathan Davis – The Sand Reckoner (2017) New York Premiere
  • Ann Cleare – Earth Waves (2018) World Premiere
  • Bernhard Lang – Hermetica V – Fremde Sprachen (2011/12)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

Guest artists for concert

Ekmeles’s 2018-2019 season is made possible with funds from the Amphion Foundation, and the generosity of private donors.

Composition of Earth Waves by Ann Cleare funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


01
Apr 18

Wayward II

This program features a new work by Shiuan Chang, and music by Erin Gee and Liza Lim.

These site-specific performances will involve a new large-scale sculptural installation by Bolek Ryzinski called Infernal Cube.

The space opens at 7PM, with a performance at 7:30PM, and cocktails at 8PM

  • Shiuan Chang – Ding Guawn-Wedge (2018) WP
  • Erin Gee – Three Scenes from SLEEP (2008)
  • Liza Lim – Three Angels (2011)

Ekmeles personnel for concert


29
Mar 18

End Words and Stimmung

This program features two works presenting a confluence of where we are and where we have been in the world of vocal ensemble music. Christopher Trapani’s End Words is a Chamber Music America commission for six voices and six-channel electronics, built on hours of precisely micro-tuned samples of Ekmeles. This new work is paired with Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Stimmung, a seminal work of microtonal vocal ensemble music.

  • Christopher Trapani – End Words (2017)
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen – Stimmung (1968)

Ekmeles personnel for concert

End Words has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.

Ekmeles in Manhattan, Spring 2018 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC.net


20
Feb 18

Register and Emotion

As part of our 2017-2018 season we’re continuing to give each of our core singers a turn at the helm of the blog. The below post below comes from our director, Jeffrey Gavett.


From the moment we are born, we express ourselves and communicate with the voice. Quality, intensity, and range of vocal sound can communicate volumes, even without the benefit of words.

Several pieces on our February 22 concert push the extremes of range and intensity of the voice. Rebecca Saunders’s Soliloquy is constructed as a countertenor solo buoyed by the remaining quintet of singers. His melody is an extraordinary high-lying and textless line, mostly at the quietest dynamics, colored and doubled by the soprano and mezzo most often.

Since the context in which we hear the human voice most often is in speech, and natural emotional expression, I thought of what these extremes in register can mean to a listener. Regardless of our level of musical literacy or knowledge, we experience the voice deeply and directly. In speech, the highest extremes of range are only reached intermittently, if at all. Especially for a male voice it is uncommon for the inflections of even emotional speech to reach the ranges used in Saunders’s work. One has to look at more intense uses of the voice to find these kinds of sounds: screaming, wailing, crying. The correlation isn’t so direct to these sounds though. The singing voice, sustaining high and quiet, has a balance between this natural quality of emotional outburst, and the artifice of a sustained, controlled, practiced expression. The sounds of natural vocal expression are captured and repurposed into something rich and strange.

Lest you imagine the work to be one-sided, living only in high and quiet rarified air, I will remind you that Rebecca Saunders is a student of Wolfgang Rihm. While her music lacks the overtly Romantic tinges and other clear historical references of Rihm, it embraces the elder composer’s violent and jarring contrasts which balance the work’s structure. The gentle straight tone of the countertenor’s line occasionally breaks out into vibrato-soaked fortissimos. And while the countertenor hangs out at the top of the staff, the bass also enters on sustained sepulchral (we’re literally in a crypt so please extra points for me for this adjective) low notes, anchoring the work. What does a low note mean to us, intrinsically? Is there a natural emotional quality we ascribe to them? I tend to think of purring, or the end of a relaxed sigh and exhale, both sounds of contentment and relaxation – placing these notes on the opposite of both the pitch and emotional spectrum from the countertenor’s line in this piece.


09
Feb 18

Whirled English

As part of our 2017-2018 season we’re continuing to give each of our core singers a turn at the helm of the blog. The below post below comes from our mezzo soprano, Elisa Sutherland.


Marc Sabat’s new piece for Ekmeles, Seeds of Skies, Alibis, is written in “whirled English.” What this means exactly will be explored in a few paragraphs, but it indicates at the very least that language has been toyed or experimented with – only one of the ways in which Sabat subverts our assumptions about music and text in this carefully crafted piece.

Sabat refers to the work as a cantata, a form that indicates some sort of narrative or scene that unfolds through alternating expository recitations and emotional arias. Seeds of Skies is indeed made up of a variety of subsections (some you won’t find in the quintessential cantatas of Monteverdi and Bach): “Recitativo,” “Chorale,” but also “Invocation,” “Chants,” and, puzzlingly, “Short Cuts Long Lines.” And the text plays an important role in determining the form, albeit in an original way: where once it might have indicated a switch from recit to aria or fugue to chorale, Sabat’s text exerts its force on a measure-by-measure basis, drawing out sibilants and cutting short excited plosives in mini-dramas of their own.

So what is “whirled English?” The text for the piece is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, but then brought through a second metamorphosis by Sabat and the poet Uljana Wolf. While us singers never pronounce the Latin directly, the words we do speak take their sound and shape, not meaning, from Ovid’s lines. “In nova fert animus mutatas,” becomes: “In no war fared animals mutate us;” “dicere forma” is transformed humorously (and with some truth) into, “dick arrows form us.” But Sabat and Wolf are not satisfied with one acoustic permutation. The “fert” in the first line has a new life reflected in multiple languages across the first movement of the piece; it appears as “fared” and “fährt” and “faire,” “fate” and “feared” and so on and so on.

Each line of Ovid’s is given this same treatment. No thought is spared for accurate translation, only humor and enthusiasm for the sound of language as we speak and sing it. It’s as if two thousand years of Latin derivation is happen right before us, bursting into being. The text is resplendent with cognates and faux amis across a multitude of languages and dialects – as if the piece were an entire conversation of that moment of: “Oh! I thought you said…”

I always love pieces that make me think about some aspect of music in a new way, whether it is timbre, harmony, form, or something more specific, like the beauty of a certain interval or how soprano saxophones really can sound nice. Sabat and Wolf achieve what the greatest poets are always striving for: to make us experience language in a new way. For their “translation” does have meaning and truth, for us to discover and figure out for ourselves:

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
Of bodies chang’d to various forms, I sing:
In no war fared animals mutate us, dick arrows form us