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.

Dec 14

American Composers

Ekmeles performs works by U.S. and Canadian composers for four to eight singers

  • Ben Johnston – Sonnets of Desolation (1981)
  • John Cage – Five (1988)
  • Evan Johnson – vo mesurando (2012) U.S. Premiere
  • James Tenney – A Rose is a Rose is a Round (1970)
  • James Tenney – Hey When I Sing These 4 Songs Hey Look What Happens (1971)
  • Matthew Ricketts – Women Well Met (2013)
  • Andrew Waggoner – … that human dream (2014) World Premiere
  • Aaron Cassidy – A Painter of Figures in Rooms (2011-2012)

Ekmeles’s season is supported by New Music USA’s Cary Fund For New Music Performance Fund, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Amphion Foundation.

Personnel for concert

Jan 14

Miller Theatre Pop-Up Concert

Ekmeles sings works for 1-6 voices on the Miller Theatre stage, including the New York Premiere of a work by Sciarrino. Doors at 5:30, show at 6, enjoy a free beer while sitting onstage with the ensemble!

  • Peter Ablinger – Studien nach der Natur (1995, 2002)
  • Kaija Saariaho – From the Grammar of Dreams (1988)
  • Salvatore Sciarrino – L’alibi della Parola (1994) New York Premiere
  • Evan Johnson – a general interrupter to ongoing activity (2011)
  • Thanasis Deligiannis – Ignored Manuals (2013)

Personnel for concert

Jan 13

Music Mondays

Ekmeles performs on the Music Mondays series, in a program of modern and medieval works around the theme of visually intriguing scores and Augenmusik. Scores will be projected, and in one case, unfurled into the space, for your simultaneous visual and auditory enjoyment.

  • Liza Lim – 3 Angels (US Premiere)
  • Baude Cordier – Belle bonne sage
  • Mark Barden – Chamber (US Premiere)
  • Jacob de Senleches – La harpe de melodie
  • Evan Johnson – A general interrupter to ongoing activity (US Premiere)
  • Baude Cordier – Tout par compas suy composés
  • Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf – void – un delitto italiano (US Premiere)

Personnel for concert

Augenmusik is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Augenmusik is made possible in part by the Harry and Alice Eiler Foundation.Augenmusik Acknowledgments

Oct 12


Ekmeles performs works by living American composers at Roulette as part of the 24th season of the Interpretations series. Preceding the performance will be a 7:30PM talk with Bryan Jacobs, Evan Johnson, Louis Karchin, and Ken Ueno. Following the Ekmeles set at 8PM will be a performance by the Pheeroan akLaff Ensemble.

  • Louis Karchin – To the Sun
  • Louis Karchin – To the Stars (Premiere of new arrangement for Ekmeles)
  • Aaron Cassidy – I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips
  • Ben Johnston – I’m goin’ away
  • Ben Johnston – Rose
  • Ken Ueno – Shiroi Ishi
  • Evan Johnson – Three in, ad abundantiam (US Premiere)
  • Bryan Jacobs – Do You Need, Do To Me, 18 Me, 18 Mean

Personnel for concert

This concert supported by a grant from the The Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

Dec 11

The Exploded Voice

An excerpt from Evan Johnson's "General Interrupter"

The consonant staff

I’m looking right now at a piece by Evan Johnson for solo voice called A general interrupter to ongoing activity. The composer describes it in the performance notes as being “comprised of overlapping, mutually imbricated, sometimes self-canceling structures laid out over a landscape of several different independently treated types of more or less vocal, muscular action…”

A sample from Evan Johnson's "General Interrupter"

An example of the rhythmic structure of the pitch staff

The notation for the piece parses the voice into its component parts – a staff for breath, one for fricative and consonant sounds, teeth clicks, whistles, tongue (pressure and clicks), voicing and vowels, and finally pitch. The amount of information on the page is mind-boggling – add to these concerns a rhythmic language involving tuplets nested 3 or 4 deep, and an extreme degree of specification in dynamics and articulation. Traditional vocal notation involves a staff with the pitches on it, words below, dynamics above, and occasionally articulation markings. This traditional notation is a kind of shorthand, in that it assumes the singer is coming to the score with an understanding of language, phrasing, idiom, style, and a myriad of other historical assumptions. In a way, General interrupter is technically totally prescriptive; an alien musician wouldn’t need to know these traditions to interpret the score. However, the mere quantity of information here demands a kind of interpretation, a filtering of the demands of the score through the ability and body of the performer.

A sparse page from "General Interrupter"

A sparse page from "General Interrupter"

Aside from the idea of the voice expressing manifold levels of often physically self-contradictory musical information, what interests me most in the piece may be the notation itself. While some pages are dense with ink and high prime number tuplets, others are reduced down to a single staff, with rhythm notated proportionally and graceful slurs arcing across the page.

I see in this kind of writing the voice exploded, its infinite variables found so intriguing that it becomes impossible to choose a single possibility. In contrast with say, the string quartets of Aaron Cassidy, whose decoupled instrumental actions create a dramatically physical choreography that produces an explosive music, exploding the voice creates dramatically physical, extremely small inner conflicts, invisible to the audience. I think this distinction is important to note, and that using the voice in this way is a departure on a journey inward – maybe this is really the implosion of the voice – a new hermeticism.