Theo Bleckmann is a trained jazz vocalist whose body of work spans pieces for vocal improvisation with toys, Charles Ives, Kate Bush, and Schumann. In addition to working with composers like Meredith Monk, David Lang, and John Zorn, Theo is also a composer himself. In this interview we talk about his upcoming performance on Resonant Bodies Festival’s opening night on September 5th at Roulette; his recording made in a medieval monastery in Switzerland; his work as a visual artist; and his fifteen years working as a core vocalist with Meredith Monk. To read more and listen to tracks played on this episode, check out our Show Notes.
Please read more at theobleckmann.com
GRAMMY® nominated jazz singer and new music composer Theo Bleckmann’s diverse recorded work includes albums of Las Vegas standards, Weimar art songs, and popular “bar songs” (all with pianist Fumio Yasuda); a recording of newly-arranged songs by Charles Ives (with jazz/rock collective Kneebody); and his acclaimed "Hello Earth - the Music of Kate Bush." Bleckmann has most recently appeared as a special guest on recordings by Ambrose Akinmusire for Blue Note Records and Julia Hülsmann’s trio for ECM Records. In January 2017, ECM will release Bleckmann’s recording with his new Elegy Quintet, produced by legendary label head and founder, Manfred Eicher. Bleckmann has collaborated with musicians, artists, actors and composers, including Ambrose Akinmusire, Laurie Anderson, Uri Caine, Philip Glass, Ann Hamilton, John Hollenbeck, Sheila Jordan, Phil Kline, David Lang, Kirk Nurock, Frances MacDormand, Ben Monder, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and, most prominently, Meredith Monk, with whom Bleckmann worked as a core ensemble member for over fifteen years. He has been interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and appeared on the David Letterman show with Laurie Anderson. In 2015, Bleckmann premiered a new work for the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and in 2016 he brings new work to the New York Philharmonic Biennial and the LA Philharmonic. Bleckmann has consistently appeared in the top-five spots in the DownBeat Critics’ Polls for Best Male Vocalist, and top-ten spots in their Readers’ Polls, and his work on Phil Kline’s “Out Cold” helped place that production on WQXR's Operavore "Best Opera of 2012". In 2010, Bleckmann received the prestigious JAZZ ECHO award from the Deutsche Phono-Akademie in his native Germany.
Legendary composer, performer, and sound artist Joan La Barbara has had an undeniable impact on the course of contemporary vocal music. Her work with composers John Cage, Morton Feldman, Robert Ashley, and dozens of others—as well as her own work as a composer and vocal explorer— make her an icon in the contemporary vocal music world. She joins us this year on night two of Resonant Bodies Festival, on September 6th, at Roulette. In this interview we discuss her new opera about Virginia Wolf and Joseph Cornell, her compositional process, her work with Cage, Berio, and Feldman, and about her experience as a woman in the music world. Check out more about this podcast, including audio links to excerpts heard on the show, in our Show Notes page.
Legendary composer, performer, and sound artist Joan La Barbara has had an undeniable impact on the course of contemporary vocal music. Her work with composers John Cage, Morton Feldman, Robert Ashley, and dozens of others—as well as her own work as a composer and vocal explorer— make her an icon in the contemporary vocal music world. She joins us this year on night two of Resonant Bodies Festival, on September 6th, at Roulette. In this interview we discuss her new opera about Virginia Wolf and Joseph Cornell, her compositional process, her work with Cage, Berio, and Feldman, and about her experience as a woman in the music world.
Podcast notes: correction to La Barbara's statement about the tempo of Three Voices: determined by five 32nd notes in the space of one eighth note. Correction to the name of the ensemble: Electronic Phoenix.
Read a full biography at joanlabarbara.com
Joan La Barbara’s career as a composer/performer/soundartist explores the human voice as a multi-faceted instrument expanding traditional boundaries in developing a unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques: multiphonics, circular singing, ululation and glottal clicks that have become her "signature sounds". In 2008, La Barbara was awarded the American Music Center's Letter of Distinction for significant contributions to the field of contemporary American music. Creating works for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, music theater, orchestra and interactive technology, her awards in the U.S. and Europe include: 2016 John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts; 2013 Civitella Ranieri Fellowship; 2011 Premio Internzionale "Demetrio Stratos" Per la sperimentazione musicale; 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition; DAAD Artist-in-Residency in Berlin and 7 National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in Music Composition, Opera/Music Theatre, Inter-Arts, Recording (2), Solo Recitalist and Visual Arts; ISCM International Jury Award; Akustische International Competition Award; Aaron Copland Fund for Music; Foundation for Contemporary Arts; Collaboration Award of NY Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts and Media; Meet The Composer and ASCAP Awards.