Mary Bonhag presents a collection of 20th and 21st century pieces, including “Changing Light” by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, “Two Poems of Agueda Pizarro” by Joseph Schwanter, and excerpts from “Looking at Spring”—a piece written specifically for Bonhag, which she premiered in 2014—by frequent collaborator and Opera Philadelphia resident-composer Lembit Beecher. The “strikingly original” (NY Times) Kamala Sankaram premieres “Ololgya,” inspired by Anne Carson’s essay “The Gender of Sound,” with additional works by Gilda Lyons, Pat Muchmore, and a guest appearance by her band Bombay Rickey. The festival closes with Kayleigh Butcher (director and founder of Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble) presenting newly commissioned works by Sivan Cohen Elias (Harvard), Cara Haxo, Andrew Tham, and Daniel Felsenfeld, with the help of choreographers Katelyn Halpern and Miro Magloire, as well as violinist Hajnal Pivnick.
Founded in 2013, Resonant Bodies Festival is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hear expert contemporary music vocalists present repertoire that feeds their passion. Presented over three nights, nine dynamic and unique vocalists curate and present 45-minute sets expressing their particular blend of musical tastes. The Festival recently expanded to Australia and was presented at the Melbourne Recital Center in May, 2017, with further expansion on the horizon: a Chicago Festival will take place at Constellation April 6-8, 2018; RBF Sydney is scheduled for August 31-September 1, 2018, at Carriageworks; and a Los Angeles Festival is slated for fall, 2018. Expanding the Festival to other parts of the world widens the conversation about new vocal music and meets the Festival’s mission of challenging and transforming the role of the vocal recitalist. Past Festival vocalists range from world-renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw to up-and-coming stars like Julia Bullock and Sophia Burgos. In the past five Festivals (four in NYC and one in Melbourne), RBF has facilitated 63 world premieres (having presented more than 160 works for voice ranging from 3-45 minutes in length).