Episode 44: Sofia Jernberg

Sofia Jernberg sits down with ResBods founder Lucy Dhegrae to discuss her set for the Sydney Festival on August 31, 2018 at Carriageworks in collaboration with Sydney Chamber Opera. Sofia, who performed on the 2016 NYC Festival, will present a solo vocal work, as well as a world premiere by Johan Jutterström, and a collaboration with saxophonist Jim Denley. Sofia talks about her approach to performance and improvisation and what she is looking for in a collaborator. For more information on Sofia, please visit our show notes. 

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Sofia Jernberg Show Notes

Jernberg on the 2016 NYC Festival at Roulette

Jernberg on the 2016 NYC Festival at Roulette

Sofia Jernberg is a Swedish experimental singer, composer, improviser and performer, born in Ethiopia 1983. She grew up in Ethiopia, Vietnam and Sweden. Since 2011 she lives in Oslo, Norway.

One of her deepest interests as a singer is to explore the “instrumental” possibilities of the voice. Her singing vocabulary includes sounds and techniques that often contradict a conventional singing style. She has dug deep into non verbal vocalizing, split tone singing, pitchless singing and distorted singing.

Music theater/Contemporary Opera

She has performed several staged music theater pieces like Arnold Schönberg’s ”Pierrot Lunaire”, Salvatore Sciarrinos "Lohengrin”. Composers have written roles especially with her in mind like in Emily Hall’s ”Folie à Deux and Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s ”UR:”.

Currently she is working with a new contemporary chamber opera work, premiering in 2019, together with Cia Rinne, Henrik Strindberg and Louise Beck. Sofia will both compose and perform in this opera.  

Visual Art

She has performed together with visual artist Camille Norment and was part of her piece ”Rapture” (Venice Biennale 2015) and ”Lull” (Festspillene i Bergen 2016).

She is featured as a singer in an 80 minute cinematic work, ”Union of the North”, by Matthew Barney, Erna Ómarsdóttir and Valdimar Jóhannsson.

She is central, as the only singer/performer/human on screen, in an audiovisual work by visual artist Kristina Norman and composer Märt - Matis Lill exhibited in Tallin art museum in feb 2018.


As a composer she has been commissioned by Barents composer orchestra, Swedish Radio P2, Stockholm Jazz Festival, Trondheim jazz orchestra, vocal ensemble Oslo 14, Klang - Copenhagen Avantgarde Music Festival, BANFF - Center for arts and creativity, The Gothenburg Combo and various chamber ensembles.


As a teacher in singing and composition she has been part of faculty at BANFF - Center for arts and creativity contemporary music summer curse 2017 and will continue in 2018. She has given 4 hour lectures/workshops at several Universities around Europe.

Selection of active bands

Electric Daisy (Kim Myhr, David Stackenäs, Christian Wallumrød, Jernberg)

Solo (voice solo, Jernberg)

Fire! Orchestra

The End (Kjetil Møster, Mats Gustafsson, Anders Hana, Greg Saunier, Jernberg)

Trondheim Jazz Orchester Sofia Jernberg and Olav Mjelva

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra Espen Reinertsen

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra Ole Morten Vågan

Mette Rasmussen/Sofia Jernberg duo

Lene Grenager/Sofia Jernberg duo

Alexander Hawkins/Sofia Jernberg duo

Peter Evans/Sofia Jernberg duo


The New Songs

Episode 43: Sonya Holowell

Australian vocalist Sonya Holowell sits down with RBF founder Lucy Dhegrae to discuss her upcoming set for the Sydney Festival at Carriageworks (co-presented by Sydney Chamber Opera) on September 1, 2018. Sonya talks about her improvisatory practice and how so many people and ideas have influenced her work, including the indigenous practice of “dadirri,” collaborations with designer/flutist Elia Bosshard, jamming with pianist and improvisor Jonathan Holowell (who is also her dad) and the discovery of her indigenous heritage. To read more about Sonya, please visit our show notes.

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Sonya Holowell Show Notes

PC: Vesevold Vlaskine

PC: Vesevold Vlaskine

Indigenous Australian Sonya Holowell is an emerging vocalist dedicated to presenting the most challenging and rarely-performed compositions for voice. Holowell has performed at many of the leading national and international classical and new music festivals as a soloist, ensemble singer and improviser. She has performed with a number of ensembles at the forefront of contemporary music including Ensemble Offspring, Australian Art Orchestra, Decibel, and the Splinter Orchestra and has collaborated with an array of artists and composers of new music, in Australia and abroad. Projects include the Holowell Duo, an improvising partnership with pianist/trumpeter Jonathan Holowell; and CACHE in POINT, which she curates/performs with designer/flutist Elia Bosshard. Last year Holowell presented her work in Europe where she was invited to participate in the soundSCAPE Composition and Performance Exchange in Maccagno, Italy; the Improvisation Xchange in Berlin; and the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt.