Paul Pinto — Voice
Helga Davis — Voice
Lucy Dhegrae — Voice
Acclaimed Resonant Bodies Festival returns to Roulette in its sixth annual incarnation as New York’s most innovative and wide-ranging presenter of contemporary vocal artists. Featuring an international roster of virtuosic singers, world premieres, and an exhilarating mix of genres, the nine vocalists performing over three days will provide an immersive musical experience unlike any other.
Opening night features Paul Pinto premiering a set of 15 songs for extended vocal technique and drone, designed as a companion piece to Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King; Helga Davis will present a project with her closest NYC-based collaborators; and Resonant Bodies Festival director Lucy Dhegrae will premiere a multimedia project that explores the neurological aftermath of trauma, with new works by Jessie Montgomery, Du Yun, Katherine Young, Eve Beglarian, Angélica Negrón, and Osnat Netzer, directed by Alison Moritz.
Resonant Bodies Festival was founded to catalyze the creation of new vocal music, to expand the audience for new vocal music, and to challenge and transform the role of the vocal recitalist. Since its inception in 2013, RBF has been greeted with sustained critical acclaim and the delight of audiences and vocalists alike. For three nights every September in New York City, nine vocalists are given curatorial carte blanche over a forty-five minute set. This freedom—rarely granted to vocalists in the contemporary music world—gives each show a “happy zealousness, where the singers’ enthusiasm for their repertoire [is] contagious” (Sequenza 21). Thanks to a generous grant from the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, RBF had its Australian debut at the Melbourne Recital Centre on May 17, 2017, which was greeted with much enthusiasm from the international vocal music community. Since then, RBF has expanded to include festivals in Chicago and Sydney, with an LA festival slated for 2019. In addition to the festivals, RBF reaches 25,000+ listeners around the globe through MRMR, the Festival’s extensive collection of online resources. MRMR includes: professional audio, video, and photo documentation of each Festival; Resonant Bodies Podcast, which features in-depth interviews with vocalists year-round; and the Contemporary Vocal Music Database, an open, crowdsourced, searchable index of 20th and 21st century vocal works with links to musical scores, as well as audio and video recordings. The Database aids composers in promoting their works to a larger audience, and assists vocalists in their search for new and meaningful repertoire.
New York native Paul Pinto creates and produces experimental music and theatrical works in traditional and non-traditional spaces, and is the founder and co-director of ensembles thingNY and Varispeed. His own compositions blend chamber music with theatre with a focus on total performativity. Specifically, his work centers on the human voice and the endurance of the human body. Paul has chosen to work equally with traditional instruments, lo-fi electronics, unconventional sound-makers and amateur musicians, creating one-minute opera, concert length chamber music, and durational performance art. Since 2008, Paul’s focused a lot on new experimental opera. In addition to Thomas Paine in Violence, Paul has co-written and performed the operas ADDDDDDDDD, TIME: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts, and Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment. He is also composing an ongoing series of mini[atures] for vocalizing instrumentalists. Paul has performed in the Kitchen’s recent remounting of Robert Ashley’s 1967 opera That Morning Thing, in the New York premiere of Vinko Globokar’s Un Jour Comme Un Autre, and in new works presented by Dave Malloy, Rachel Chavkin, Joe Diebes, The Whitney Biennial, Experiments in Opera, the Panoply Performance Laboratory and Performa. With his performance collective, Varispeed, Paul created a new site-specific arrangement of Robert Ashley’s seminal opera for television, Perfect Lives, which has been praised in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York (where Steve Smith named it on his “Best of 2011” List) and in the New York Times (“Standout operas of recent decades”). Paul is an advocate of underrepresented experimentalists in classical music. At the helm of thingNY (called an “inventive new music cabal” by Time Out New York) Paul has premiered hundreds of works from emerging and established composers including Pauline Oliveros, Vinko Globokar, Art Jarvinen, John King, Kyle Gann and Gerard Grisey.
Helga Davis served as a principle actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach. Her appearance in You Us We All by Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond) and Andrew Ondrejcak marked her fifth at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. Helga is a New York-based performer whose interdisciplinary work includes theater, opera, and fine art. Since 2012 Davis has starred in the international revival of composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson’s opera Einstein on the Beach; Wilson describes her as “a united whole, with spellbinding inner power and strength.” She also starred in Wilson’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon (Sweet Honey in the Rock); Milton by Katie Pearl and Lisa Damour; Elsewhere by cellist Maya Beiser and composer Missy Mazzoli; The Blue Planet, a multimedia theater piece, by Peter Greenaway and Saskia Boddeke; and served as a “Sweet Peach” in Soho Rep’s Jomama Jones, Radiate, which made New Yorker theatre critic Hilton Als’ top ten list. Helga’s interview with artist Kara Walker aired on WNYC’s Morning Edition on the eve of her Whitney Museum retrospective. She wrote and performed a multimedia piece Imaginings at the retrospective’s conclusion. She is the recipient of the BRIC Fireworks grant and has completed her first full-length theatre piece, Cassandra. Davis may be heard on the new VIA Records release, Oceanic Verses, a multi-media opera written for her by composer Paola Prestini. In Fall 2015, Davis performed in her fifth Next Wave festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Shara (Nova) Worden and Andrew Ondrejcak’s You Us We All. She hosts the Helga podcast, live events for New Sounds and formerly for WQXR’s Q2 Music, and was awarded an ASCAP Multimedia Award for hosting WNYC’s 24:33: Twenty-Four Hours and Thirty-Three Minutes of the Playful and Playable John Cage.
“Vocal versatility and an omnivorous curiosity” (New York Times) are the hallmarks of mezzo-soprano Lucy Dhegrae, a passionate vocalist with a flexible technique that fits a variety of styles. She has performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Talea Ensemble, the Albany Symphony, among others, at such venues as Miller Theatre, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center. Dhegrae, who is “everywhere new music is being sung” (New York Classical Review) regularly premieres new vocal works and operas, and has worked closely with such composers as Unsuk Chin, Jason Eckardt, Susan Botti, Alexandra Vrebalov, and Sky Macklay. Her opera premieres include Trillium J by Anthony Braxton, Andy: A Popera (Opera Philadelphia/Bearded Ladies Cabaret), A Marvelous Order by Judd Greenstein, and Ashley Fure’s The Force of Things. Dhegrae’s festival appearances include Darmstadt (Germany), Klangspuren (Austria), Mostly Mozart, Bard Music Festival, Gesher Music Festival (St. Louis), and Aldeburgh Music Festival (as a Britten- Pears Young Artist). As “soprano and raconteur” (The New Yorker) she directs Resonant Bodies Festival, a festival of contemporary vocal music that takes place in NYC and beyond, which she founded in 2013. She graduated from the Bard College Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program (MM in Vocal Performance ’12) as well as the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (BM in Vocal Performance ’08) and is a core member of the new music ensemble Contemporaneous.
This performance is a co-production between Roulette and the Resonant Bodies Festival.