2018 NYC Artists
Described by the New York Times as an “imaginative” “winning soprano” whose performance of her own music is “virtuosic” and “glorious noise,” Gelsey Bell is a New York City-based singer, songwriter, and scholar. Her performance creations have been presented internationally. She has released multiple albums, including most recently Ciphony with John King, and Toyland, with Joseph White. She was a 2017 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Music/Sound grant and she is currently the EtM Ridgewood Bushwick Composer-in-Residence. Her works include Bathroom Songs, Scaling, Our Defensive Measurements, This Takes Place Close By (with thingNY), Prisoner’s Song (with Erik Ruin), and the acclaimed adaptation of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (with Varispeed). She is a core member of thingNY, Varispeed, and the Chutneys. Her work has been commissioned by the Jerome Foundation/Roulette, Ne(x)tworks, Avant Media, and the Lumen Festival. She also wrote and performed music for Anna Sperber’s Wealth from the Salt Seas, Compagnie CNDC-Angers’s performance of Merce Cunningham’s EVENT, directed by Robert Swinston, and Kimberly Bartosik’s You are my heat & glare. Other performance highlights include Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (on Broadway) and Ghost Quartet, Robert Ashley’s Crash, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s River of Fundament, John King’s Micro-Operas, Yasuko Yokoshi’s BELL, Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens, and Gregory Whitehead’s On the Shore Dimly Seen, for which she offered original vocal improvisations. She has a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU and is currently completing a book about American experimental vocal music in the 1970s. She is the Critical Acts Co-editor for TDR/The Drama Review and the Reviews Editor for The Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies www.gelseybell.com
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.
Recipient of a 2016 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, American soprano Kiera Duffy is recognized for her gleaming high soprano and insightful musicianship in a diverse repertoire ranging from Bach, Handel, and Mozart to the modern sounds of Carter, Feldman, and Mazzoli. A prolific concert artist, Ms. Duffy has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Berlin Philharmoinc (this season), London Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Orchester, Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony, Boston Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, Simon Bolivar Orchestra and Detroit Symphony. She has collaborated with many of the celebrated conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Loren Maazel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kristjan Järvi, James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin, and Robert Spano. In the fall of 2016, Ms. Duffy premiered the role of Bess McNeill in Missy Mazzoli’s new opera Breaking the Waves with Opera Philadelphia and the Prototype Festival in New York City. Her performance garnered widespread critical acclaim from such publications as the New York Times, Opera News, Wall Street Journal, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. WQXR in New York City declared hers the Top Female Operatic Performance of 2016. Duffy’s interpretations of modern and contemporary repertoire have garnered wide acclaim. She has performed often with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series in works of Schoenberg, Berio, Ligeti and Unsuk Chin; with the New York Philharmonic in compositions of Ligeti and Boulez; with the Metropolis Ensemble in works of Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as reinterpretations of Berlioz by young composers Vivian Fung, Brad Balliett, Ryan Francis, Sayo Kosugi, Nicholas Britell and Caroline Shaw. As part of the 2012 American Mavericks series she toured David del Tredici’s Syzygy with members of the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.
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.
Caroline Adelaide Shaw is a New-York-based musician. She is the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her enigmatic composition Partita for 8 Voices. Her career defies categorization: she performs as a violin soloist, chamber musician, and as a vocalist in the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Recent commissions include works for Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Jonathan Biss, and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. She also frequently collaborates with Kanye West. Currently a doctoral candidate at Princeton, Caroline also studied at Rice and Yale. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven Op. 74, Mozart opera, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.
Jen Shyu is a groundbreaking, multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, 2016 Doris Duke Artist, and was voted 2017 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Female Vocalist. Born in Peoria, Illinois, to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, Shyu is widely regarded for her virtuosic singing and riveting stage presence, carving out her own beyond-category space in the art world. She has performed with saxophonist and 2014 MacArthur Fellow Steve Coleman since 2003 and has collaborated with such musical innovators as Nicole Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Vijay Iyer, Bobby Previte, Chris Potter, Michael Formanek and David Binney. Shyu has performed her own music on prestigious world stages such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Theater of Korea, and at festivals worldwide. Shyu has produced seven albums as a leader, including the first female-led and vocalist-led album Pi Recordings has released, Synastry (Pi 2011), with co-bandleader and bassist Mark Dresser. Her critically acclaimed Sounds and Cries of the World (Pi 2015) landed on many best-of-2015 lists, including those of The New York Times, The Nation, and NPR. Her latest album Song of Silver Geese (Pi 2017) is receiving rave reviews and was also included on The New York Times’ Best Albums of 2017. Even with the acclaim she has received for her recordings, Shyu is just as renowned for her dynamic performances. Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times that her concerts are "the most arresting performances I’ve seen over the past five years. It’s not just the meticulous preparation of the work and the range of its reference, but its flexibility: She seems open, instinctual, almost fearless."
Sarah Maria Sun
German soprano Sarah Maria Sun is regarded as one of the foremost leading specialists of contemporary music with a repertoire spanning more than 700 catalogued works and world premieres. Her unique artistry has captured the attention of the world's leading composers, from Heinz Holliger, Helmut Lachenmann, Salvatore Sciarrino to Dieter Schnebel, working closely with them to explore and expand techniques within new vocal music and music theatre.Her demand as an interpreter of music ranging from the 16th to the 21st century has brought her many successful collaborations with esteemed conducters like Sir Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Thomas Hengelbrock, Susanna Mälkki and Christoph Spering in concerts with such world renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Leipzig Gewandhaus. From 2007-2014 she was the first soprano of the internationally-renowned Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, an ensemble which has been at the forefront of contemporary music for the past 30 years. Besides numerous radio recordings, her discography includes various CDs for the Labels Harmonia Mundi (CPE Bach: Die Israeliten in der Wüste, award of spanish record-critics), TESTKLANG (Lied-Cycles by Arnold Schönberg, Johannes Schöllhorn, Hanns Eisler, Luc Ferrari), Hänssler Profil (John Dowland), NEOS (Hans Thomalla), Col Legno (Zeynep Gedizlioglou, John Zorn, Luis Codera Puzo), Tzadik (John Zorn), Kairos (Alberto Posadas), Ensemble Modern Medien (Arnulf Herrmann).
Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video. A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she creates solo works combining experimental extended vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text, digital processing, and wireless MIDI controllers that allow her to manipulate sound with physical gestures. In addition to her solo work, she has been commissioned to compose scores for dance, theatre, film, and new music chamber ensembles including Kronos Quartet and the Bang on a Can Allstars. Her large-scale multi-media works have been presented at venues including Theater Artaud and ODC in SanFrancisco, and The Kitchen in New York, and her media works have been presented in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum (NY) , the Diözesanmuseum (Cologne), and the Krannert Art Museum (IL). Her multi-media opera Wunderkabinet – inspired by the Museum of Jurassic Technology (co-composed with Matthew Brubeck) has been presented at The LAB Gallery (San Francisco), REDCAT (Disney Hall, Los Angeles), and Open Ears Festival, Toronto. Pamela Z has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. She has performed in numerous festivals including Bang on a Can at Lincoln Center (New York), Interlink (Japan), Other Minds (San Francisco), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), and Pina Bausch Tanztheater Festival (Wuppertal, Germany). She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, the Creative Capital Fund, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, The MAP Fund, the ASCAP Music Award, an Ars Electronica honorable mention, and the NEA and Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship. She holds a music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.