This image: Ariadne Greif, Photo- Bruce Kung
Featured image: RESONANT BODIES: Photo- Phil Erbacher

American, Indonesian, Swedish-Ethiopian and Australian artists will present work that illuminates the shape-shifting power of the human voice in RESONANT BODIES presented by the Sydney Chamber Opera and Carriageworks, in association with Resonant Bodies (USA).  This is the first Sydney iteration of RESONANT BODIES, an international festival of new vocal music founded in New York in 2013 by American singer Lucy Dhegrae.

This exclusive Australian event presents six dynamic vocalists across two nights on 31 August and 1 September. Swedish- Ethiopian composer-improviser Sofia Jernberg, Indonesian vocalist Rully Shabara, New York soprano Ariadne Greif, and Australian vocalists Mitchell Riley, Deborah Kayser and Sonya Holowell are invited to curate and perform in their own 45-minute sets, with no restrictions on repertoire, format, or style.

Sydney-based theatre director and lighting designer Alexander Berlage is the visual director for the Festival, with sound design by composer and technologist Benjamin Carey.

Local Resonant Bodies co-directors Jessica Aszodi and Jane Sheldon performed in the NYC Festival and describe Resonant Bodies as a festival that is also a community: ‘Co-directing the Australian iteration of the festival has given us the chance to make links across far-flung geographies, connecting artists from different backgrounds who might otherwise rarely come into contact, but who share common philosophies. We all use our voices to push boundaries. Resonant Bodies’ two-day program will leave audiences stunned by what the human voice can do.

The collaborators and musical content of Resonant Bodies programs are chosen, and often devised, by the featured singers themselves. At Carriageworks a mix of local and international vocalists will present work, each with highly contrasting influences and sonic palettes.

FRI 31 AUG 8PM	Rully Shabara, Sofia Jernberg

Indonesian vocalist Rully Shabara makes use of a wide range of extended techniques. His work fuses traditional Javanese musical forms with the experimentation of the avant-garde. The voices inside Shabara’s virtuosic body are many and spectacular. His performance at Resonant Bodies includes a new work with Indonesian musicians Setabuhan – a pattern-driven, muscular work for drummers, voice and dancers.

International acclaimed experimental vocalist Sofia Jernberg (Ethiopia/Sweden) is recognised for her compositions,spectacular improvisations and unique palette of sound focusing on the acoustic possibilities of the human throat,exploring and extending its scope without the aid of external or electronic effects. She will be joined by Jim Denley (saxophone) in a new composition by Johan Jutterström (Sweden). 

SAT 1 SEP 5PM Deborah Kayser, Sonya Holowell

Deborah Kayser is considered a leader of contemporary new, vocal music in Australia. Resonant Bodies will premiere the latest development in her long-standing project, One Hundred Months, Third of East. Composed by (and performed with)contrabass player Nick Tsiavos, One Hundred Months... journeys through a kind of modernist Byzantium of theimagination, forming an architecture into which both voice and bass project. 

Sydney vocalist Sonya Holowell will bring her two duos - with pianist/improviser Jonathan Holowell and designer Elia Bosshard - together for one unique performance. Placing their trust in spontaneous processes for organising sound, The Holowells’ site specific performance will be an immediate response to the architecture of Carriageworks.

SAT 1 SEP 8PM Mitchell Riley, Ariadne Greif

Mitchell Riley has appeared in ten of Sydney Chamber Opera’s most iconic shows, he returns to Sydney from École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris. For Resonant Bodies he will premiere a new solo work by Jack Symonds and Pierce Wilcox. Taking Patrick White’s Voss as its basis, this song cycle for voice, piano (Jack Symonds) and electronics (Benjamin Carey) pushes Mitchell’s voice and body into new and extreme territory with a quizzically modern interpretation of an Australian icon.

American soprano Ariadne Greif is “an artist known for her fearless performances of raw emotionality” (New York Times). Her Resonant Bodies performance explores the complex experiences of children with new work from Shawn Jaeger,Ricardo Romaneiro and Ryan Chase (Jabberwocky). She will be joined by wunderkind New York-based Australian organist Alessandro Pittorino.

RESONANT BODIES presented by the Sydney Chamber Opera and Carriageworks, in association with Resonant Bodies (USA) plays  Friday 31st August and Saturday 1st September.

Ariadne Greif, Photo: Caroline Mariko Stucky