2019 NYC Artists
Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, Arooj Aftab came to prominence in Pakistan in the early 2000s when she developed a style that combines Sufi-mystical poetry with the spirit of Jazz theory and independent rock. This sound catapulted her to stardom from a then fledgling underground and online music community in Pakistan. She eventually moved to the U.S., earned a degree at the Berklee College of Music, and now lives in New York City. She says her music is, “Something new that’s both musically and politically resonant for the contemporary moment.” Her sophomore album Siren Islands was quoted as, "Easily one of the best albums we've heard this year" by The New York Times. NPR has previously listed Arooj as one of the best 100 composers under 40 of today. The New York Times included Arooj in their list of Best Concerts of 2012. TimeOut Magazine rated one of her projects in the Top 10 Classical Albums of 2013. This year Arooj appeared on NPR's 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women List. Siren Islands also made it to The New York Time's 25 Best Classical Songs of 2018. Arooj has collaborated with world renowned artists such as Meshell Ndegeocello, Esperanza Spalding, DJ /rupture, and Vijay Iyer. She has performed her music at major venues such as the Lincoln Center, Highline Ballroom, Le Poisson Rouge, and the Museum of Modern Art. She has also performed at festivals such as The Big Ears Festival, The Ecstatic Music Festival and the SF Jazz Festival, to name a few. Arooj is joined by Vijay Iyer (piano) and Shahzad Ismaily (bass guitar).
A renowned opera singer and recitalist, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Her repertoire ranges from Handel to Wagner, German lieder to contemporary and classic American song. Ms. Blythe has performed on many of the world's great stages, such as Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Paris National Opera and San Francisco, Chicago Lyric and Seattle Operas. She was named Musical America's Vocalist of the Year in 2009, received an Opera News Award in 2007 and won the Tucker Award in 1999. Recently, she released her first crossover recording on the Innova label with pianist Craig Terry. She has also appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris, and the Concertgerbouworkest.
Anthony Roth Costanzo
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo began performing professionally at the age of 11 and has since appeared in opera, concert, recital, film, and on Broadway. His debut album, ARC, on Decca Gold was nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY Award, and he is Musical America’s 2019 vocalist of the year. Costanzo has appeared with many of the world’s leading opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and English National Opera, among others. Costanzo is a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and won first prize in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his role in a Merchant Ivory film. He has begun working as a producer and curator in addition to a performer, creating shows for National Sawdust, Opera Philadelphia, the Philharmonia Baroque, Princeton University, WQXR, The State Theater in Salzburg, Master Voices and Kabuki-Za Tokyo. Costanzo graduated from Princeton University where he has returned to teach, and he received his masters from the Manhattan School of Music. In his youth he performed on Broadway and alongside Luciano Pavarotti.
Anthony’s selections for the Festival include works by composers Gregory Spears, Suzanne Farrin, Jimmy Lopez, Matthew Aucoin, Kaija Saariaho, and Philip Glass.
In January 2014, Erin Gee was cited by Alex Ross as a member of the short list of the most influential composer-vocalists of the 21st century, and since then has been awarded the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Bogliasco Fellowship. This marks a turning point in the trajectory of international recognition through the performance of her series of compositions entitled Mouthpieces, which use non-traditional vocal techniques, devoid of semantic language, to construct intricate and subtle patterns of a diverse array of vocal sounds. In the Mouthpieces, the voice is used as an instrument of sound production, rather than as a vehicle of identity. Linguistic meaning is not the voice’s goal. The construction of the vocal text is often based on linguistic structure—vowel-consonant formation and the principle of the allophone—and is relatively quiet, with a high percentage of breath. Erin is joined by Colin Gee (movement and visual artist) and Argento Ensemble.
Composer, singer, bandleader and recording artist Ted Hearne (b.1982, Chicago) draws on a wide breadth of influences ranging across music's full terrain, to create intense, personal and multi-dimensional works. The New York Times has praised Mr. Hearne for his "tough edge and wildness of spirit," and "topical, politically sharp-edged works." Pitchfork called Hearne's work "some of the most expressive socially engaged music in recent memory—from any genre," and Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that Hearne's music "holds up as a complex mirror image of an information-saturated, mass-surveillance world, and remains staggering in its impact." A charismatic vocalist, Hearne performs with Philip White as the vocal-electronics duo R WE WHO R WE, whose debut album (New Focus Recordings, 2013) was called “eminently, if weirdly, danceable and utterly gripping” (Time Out Chicago). R WE's sophomore release, I Love You, was named one of the Best Albums of 2017 by The Nation. Other recent albums of vocal music of various stripes include The Source and Outlanders (New Amsterdam Records) and The Crossing's acclaimed recording of Sound From the Bench (Cantaloupe Music).
Charmaine Lee is a New York-based vocalist. Her music is predominantly improvised, favoring a uniquely personal approach to vocal expression concerned with spontaneity, playfulness, and risk-taking. Beyond extended vocal technique, Charmaine uses amplification, electroacoustic feedback, and microphones to augment and distort the voice. She has performed with leading improvisers Nate Wooley, id m theft able, and Joe Morris, and maintains ongoing collaborations with contemporaries Lester St. Louis, Conrad Tao, Zach Rowden, and Leila Bordreuil. She has performed at the Met Breuer, ISSUE Project Room, Roulette, the Stone, the Kitchen, and MoMA PS1. As a composer, Charmaine has been commissioned by the Wet Ink Ensemble (2018) and Spektral Quartet (2018). She is currently an Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room (2019). Charmaine is joined by Conrad Tao.
Anaïs Maviel is a vocalist, percussionist, composer, writer and community facilitator. Her work focuses on the function of music as essential to settling common grounds, addressing Relation, and creating utopian future. Involved at the crossroads of mediums - music, visual art, dance, theater and performance art - she has been an in-demand creative force for artists such as William Parker, Daria Faïn, Shelley Hirsh, César Alvarez, Steffani Jemison - to give a sense of her eclectic company. As a leader she is dedicated to substantial creations from solo to large ensembles, music direction of cross-disciplinary works, and to expanding the power of music as a healing & transformative act. She performs and teaches extensively in New York, throughout North, South & Central America, and Europe. Her solo debut hOULe, out on NY based Gold Bolus Recordings, received international acclaim, and she is the 2019 recipient of the Van Lier Fellowship which allows her to further develop her composition language for voice and mixed ensemble, premiering new works at Roulette Intermedium in New York City.
Jane Sheldon is an Australian-American soprano who specializes in the creation and performance of exploratory chamber music. Praised by The New York Times for singing “sublimely,” The Sydney Morning Herald for “a brilliant tour de force,” and The Washington Post for "a stunning performance," she has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Pinchgut Opera (AUS); Sound Icon (USA); Ekmeles (USA); Talea Ensemble (USA); Wet Ink (USA); the Australian String Quartet; and Sydney Chamber Opera (AUS), where she is an Artistic Associate. She has worked extensively with composers as they create new works for voice, most frequently with John Zorn, whose music Jane has performed across the globe. Jane has performed at international arts festivals such as the Sydney Festival, Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Jane is the director of Symbioses, an Australian chamber music series focused on new duos and trios, and is the co-director of the Resonant Bodies Festival's activities in Australia, along with Jessica Aszodi.
Kate Soper is a composer, performer, and writer whose work explores the integration of drama and rhetoric into musical structure, the slippery continuums of expressivity, intelligibility and sense, and the wonderfully treacherous landscape of the human voice. She has been hailed by The Boston Globe as "a composer of trenchant, sometimes discomfiting, power" and by The New Yorker for her "limpid, exacting vocalism, impetuous theatricality, and mastery of modernist style." A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Soper has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Koussevitzky Foundation, Chamber Music America, and others, and has been commissioned by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, and Yarn/Wire. Praised by the New York Times for her "lithe voice and riveting presence," Soper performs frequently as a new music soprano and has been featured as a composer/vocalist on the New York City-based MATA festival and Miller Theatre Composer Portraits series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW series, and the LA Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series. As a non-fiction and creative writer, she has been published by Theory and Practice, the Massachusetts Review, and the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. Soper is a co-director and performer for Wet Ink, a New York-based new music ensemble dedicated to seeking out adventurous music across aesthetic boundaries. She is the Iva Dee Hiatt Professor of Music at Smith College.