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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. With a special focus on microtonal works, they have been praised by the New York Times for their "extraordinary sense of pitch". 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. They are one of two winners of the 2023 Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Ensemble Prize, and the first American ensemble to receive the honor.

In the 2019-2020 season they performed with the MET Museum's first commissioned sound installation, Oliver Beer's Vessel Orchestra, and released their debut album "A howl, that was also a prayer" on New Focus Recordings, with works by Taylor Brook, Erin Gee, and Christopher Trapani. Fanfare magazine said the album's performances were "beyond expert - almost frightening in their precision."

Other notable collaborations include the U.S. Premieres of Stefano Gervasoni’s Dir - In Dir and Wolfgang Rihm's ET LUX with the Mivos Quartet, Mathias Spahlinger’s über den frühen tod fräuleins anna augusta marggräfin zu baden with members of Tilt Brass and loadbang, Beat Furrer’s FAMA with Talea Ensemble, and Luigi Nono’s Quando Stanno Morendo with AMP New Music. Ekmeles has also performed works by student composers at institutions including Columbia, Ithaca, NYU, Rutgers, Stanford, Syracuse, University of Chicago, and University of New Mexico

Ekmeles is a signatory of the New Music Equity Action Pledge, and is committed to working actively against inequity, racism, and anti-Blackness in our field.

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.

  • Timothy Parsons, countertenor
  • Timothy Parsons is an acclaimed and GRAMMY®-nominated countertenor & choral conductor.He has traveled and performed extensively – as an ensemble & consort singer, and as soloist – in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Alice Tully Hall, London’s St John’s Smith Square, Montreal’s Salle Bourgie, and Utrecht’s Tivoli Vredenburg. He has had the great privilege of premiering two Pulitzer-prize winning operas, Ellen Reid’s p r i s m, for LA Opera and the Prototype Festival, and Du Yun’s Angel’s Bone, for the Prototype Festival. He is a former Lay Clerk of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and a longtime member of two GRAMMY®-nominated New York ensembles, the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and the Clarion Choir. Timothy can be heard on numerous recordings, including two works by Benedict Sheehan, recordings of p r i s m and Angel’s Bone, and numerous recordings with Clarion Music Society and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. He is an avid hiker, meditator, and vegan and resides in central Vermont.

  • 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.

  • 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.


1-21-23: Premieres
at Our Saviour's Atonement Lutheran Church
2-3 - 2-4-23: New Chamber Ballet: Sanctum
at Mark Morris Dance Center
2-14-23: Stimmung is for Lovers
at Miller Theatre
3-10-23: Tesselat Composer Collective
at DiMenna Center
4-15-23: Premieres
at St. Peter's Chelsea
5-1-23: Ekmeles + Sandbox Percussion
at University of Chicago
5-11-23: Gesualdo in historical tuning
on GEMS Midtown Concerts
5-27-23: Verfluchung
in New York


10-28-22: Tone Colors
at Crypt of Church of the Intercession
9-8-22: Works by University of Florida composers
Recorded at Oktaven Audio
5-27-22: World premieres by Gee, Kendall, and more
at Crypt of Church of the Intercession

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