Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Voices Unleashed, Paying No Mind to Limits Resonant Bodies Festival, a Showcase for Vocalists


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While Scouring the New York Times for interesting content, not actually very difficult to find, I came across this review of the program, Resonant Bodies Festival. This festival, new in 2013, labels itself as an annual festival of new and experimental vocal music. The festival allows singers, primarily from classical backgrounds, to combine music from all genres as a way of telling a story.  The festivals each feature 9 vocalists who perform with interments, electronics, and everything in-between.

In addition to holding these events, the festival group also maintains an open data base of the pieces performed.

As a lover of new music as well as old, I find this festival intriguing and exciting. I hope that they are able to sustain the project financially for coming years.

You can read more about the artists on its word-press :

Performance Dates


5 comments on “Voices Unleashed, Paying No Mind to Limits Resonant Bodies Festival, a Showcase for Vocalists

  1. Samantha Sobash
    September 5, 2014

    This post reminds me of a performance I saw at Space 4 Art in San Diego, a gallery space that encourages unconventional, interdisciplinary work. There was an installation there called Adjacent Possible II that presented five “experiences” of local collaborations between artists, scientists, and educators. Among the performances was the guest artist Glottalopticon, a group dedicated to expanding the tradition of Opera. It was incredible to witness these two women make sound as if having a conversation, but telling a story solely producing tones and the physical act of making those tones with their voice. They did not use a codified language to express themselves, rather participated in the deepest exploration of sound I’ve experienced. It was very fulfilling to hear intellectually and emotionally. A very intimate experience, that is rare to get with Opera as traditionally Operas are performed in very grand houses, with extravagant costumes and makeup. I urge you to check out Glottalopticon’s work:

  2. torisharbaugh
    September 5, 2014

    It is great to see a program cultivating the art of new music. So many vocalists focus on the traditional works of music because those are to be perfected before entering the vocal performance world. I’ve always perceived new music as a genre that vocalists explore after they have practiced traditional music. However, I think this hierarchy between traditional music and new music shouldn’t exist.

    One of my vocal professors at my undergraduate institution specialized in new music, constantly performing works by John Cage and Cathy Berberian. At the time, I was curious about entering the performance world and had many discussions with her about her experience as a new music performer. She informed me that because new music experiences are not readily available, she had to perform both traditional music and new music. She told me it was often difficult to cross over between traditional music and new music because they both require such different techniques.

    I am SO glad to see a new music festival like this emerging. New music is such an integral part of vocal music history that is not often explored or discussed. It’s great to see their music is so accessible to the public and music professionals like Dawn Upshaw (one of my favorite sopranos!) getting involved.

    Also, their YouTube channel page has a bunch of interviews with the festivals performers:

  3. laurenelizabethdickel
    September 6, 2014

    I agree with you Tori. I really don’t see the point of the hierarchy between genres. I think its good to be well trained in voice technique before approaching either genre, but one does not necessarily need to choose one first.

    Samantha, thanks for the link to Glottalopticon. I had never heard about this program before. It looks really interesting and slightly controversial. I love their casual approach, and am glad you had such a wonderful intimate experience watching their shows. I would love to go check this out myself!

    While I am excited about what they do I was sort of thrown off by this comment on their about page “the audience is invited to experience this art form liberated from opera house expectations” …. What expectations?

    I understand that the “opera house” situation can be daunting and new.. but is so bad that one needs liberating from it? 😦 I think we have an issue here.. if Opera houses are really being perceived in this light something needs to be done to help the audience feel more at ease. This is just what we were talking about in marking: the fears of attending. While I appreciate the vision that Glottaloptiocon has, I felt the comment ( from the ABOUT us section) does more harm than good in promoting an music field in its own area. They are almost playing on the ‘fears’ of the audience, to attract more attention.. There must be a better way to phrase their last sentence.

    While I think its important for new genres to emerge and be encouraged, I definitely don’t think it should be done at the expense of the more traditional forms. We as arts managers, have the duty to help support each other and encourage the arts in all its forms.

  4. sarasps85
    September 9, 2014

    I agree with Lauren.
    I think these days it´s getting to easy to criticize classical art forms such as opera and classical music or dance. I do understand where “it comes from” but does it still make sense these days???
    I have never attended opera in big cities but I guess you can be confronted with kind of an “up-tight” atmosphere but that cannot be seen as the “norm” because these art forms have been being performed outside the theatres too. There are so many opera shows, music concerts and ballet performances that are presented in public places and most of them free of charge and accessible to everyone. Especially during the Summer, I can think of so many examples…
    The “fears” of the audience´s expectations exist and should be taken into consideration by arts managers but I do agree with you when you say it´s our responsibility to “defend” classical forms from the pejorative connotation that they are often subject to.

    I have something else I would like to share with you all, a portuguese company that does multimedia opera with a strong performative component.
    I am a big fan of the concept even though I do not love their shows, but since we are on the subject…

    Info here

    Video here

  5. laurenelizabethdickel
    September 10, 2014

    Sara, wow that was certainly something I have never seen before! What an interesting and bizarre experience to watch that. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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