Resonant Bodies Festival (c)
The Resonant Bodies Festival—“in equal measures intelligent, playful, ambitious and moving” (New York Times)—is a festival of contemporary vocal music that presents nine dynamic vocalists across three nights. The Festival showcases "today’s most talented singers... seamlessly blend[ing] classical, avant-garde and indie-folk” (Feast of Music). Vocalists are invited to curate and perform in their own 45-minute sets, with no restrictions on repertoire, format, or style. This freedom gives each show a "happy zealousness, where the singers’ enthusiasm for their repertoire [is] contagious” (Sequenza 21).
The "indispensable” and "essential" Festival (New York Times), founded in 2013, has already made an important contribution to the new music scene and is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hear virtuosic contemporary music vocalists perform cutting-edge repertoire. With a generous grant from the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, the festival is expanding its reach beyond New York City to Chicago, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney, and beyond.
Jessica Aszodi is a singer and scholar, who uses her voice to realise music from a wide gamut of styles and genres. She has been a soloist on record for Chandos, Ars Publica & Hospital Hill, and on stage with ICE, Pinchgut Opera, Sydney Chamber Opera, the Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, Victorian Opera, at the Melbourne and Adelaide Festivals, Tectonics, Aldeburgh, Tanglewood and BIFEM - where she is an artistic associate. She holds a Doctorate of Music from Griffith University.
Sonya Holowell is an emerging Indigenous Australian vocalist dedicated to presenting the most challenging and rarely-performed compositions for voice. She has performed at many of the leading national and international classical and new music festivals as a soloist, ensemble singer and improviser. She has performed with a number of ensembles at the forefront of contemporary music including Ensemble Offspring, Australian Art Orchestra, Decibel, and the Splinter Orchestra and has collaborated with an array of artists and composers of new music, in Australia and abroad. Projects included the Holowell Duo, an improvising partnership with pianist/trumpeter Jonathan Holowell; and CACHE in POINT, which she curates/performs with designer/flutist Elia Bosshard. Last year Holowell presented her work in Europe where she was invited to participate in the soundSCAPE Composition and Performance Exchange in Maccagno, Italy; the Improvisation Xchange in Berlin; and the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt.
Deborah Kayser performs in areas as diverse as ancient Byzantine chant, French and German Baroque song and classical contemporary music, both scored and improvised. Her work has led to tour regularly both within Australia and internationally to Europe and Asia. She has recorded, as soloist, on numerous CDs, and her work is frequently broadcast on ABC radio. As a member of JOUISSANCE, and the contemporary music ensembles ELISION and LIBRA, she has performed radical interpretations of Byzantine and Medieval chant, and premiered works written specifically for her voice by local and overseas composers. For Kayser, performance highlights include works by composers Liza Lim, Richard Barrett, David Young, Volker Heyne, Michael Finnissy, Helen Gifford and Chirs Dench.
Mitchell Riley is an Artistic Associate with Sydney Chamber Opera and is currently undertaking studies at the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. In 2016 Mitch performed in the Australian premieres of two works by the pre-eminent French composer Pascal Dusapin as part of the Sydney Festival: Passion, in a production by Pierre Audi, and O Mensch!, a staged song-cycle for baritone and piano. He gave the Australian premiere of György Kurtág’s …pas à pas – nulle part… in a world-first staging for the 2014 Sydney Festival; performed the role of Blazes/Officer 2 in The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies (2012); premiered lead roles in stage works by Australian composers Elliott Gyger (Jim in Fly Away Peter for Melbourne Festival, 2015), Michael Smetanin (Lenin/Stalin in Mayakovsky, 2014) and Jack Symonds (Parsifal in Climbing Toward Midnight, 2013; Nunc Dimittis, 2011; Aboveground Man in Notes from Underground, 2011) and in 2012 he performed at the 18th Biennale of Sydney in Through The Gates, a semi-staged song cycle which took place amid the installations of Belgian artist Honoré d’O. Mitch has performed with The Renaissance Players and sung regularly in the chorus for Opera Australia. He has a Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Jane Sheldon is an Australian-American soprano specialising in new chamber music. Praised by the New York Times for singing “sublimely”, by the Sydney Morning Herald for “a brilliant tour de force”, and The Australian for bringing “mesmerising emotional truth” to her work, she has appeared with acclaimed ensembles across the globe including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, Boston Camerata, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Synergy Percussion, Talea Ensemble, the Australian String Quartet, and Sydney Chamber Opera, where she is an Artistic Associate.
Jack Symonds is a composer, conductor and pianist, and Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music, London under Kenneth Hesketh. He has conducted the Australian premieres of major works by Dusapin, Kurtág, Benjamin, Romitelli, Kancheli and Britten and world premieres of operas by Gyger, Smetanin and Finsterer. His music has been played by Australian Chamber Orchestra, JACK Quartet, Composers Ensemble, Australia Piano Quartet, Streeton Trio, Timo-Veikko Valve among others, and has written three stage works for Sydney Chamber Opera, including Notes from Underground.
This residency is intended to be an intensive period for artists to prepare work for presentation at Resonant Bodies Australia 2018, a festival of exploratory vocal music.