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what is ekmeles

[ɛk'mɛlɛs] \ek'meles\
1. In Ancient Greek music theory, tones of indefinite pitch and intervals with complex ratios, tones "not appropriate for musical usage." In New York City, a new vocal ensemble dedicated to breathing life into those disallowed tones, new and old.
2. "A promising addition to the New York scene" ; "Virtuosically adventurous" - Alex Ross

Ekmeles is a vocal ensemble dedicated to the performance of new and rarely-heard works, and gems of the historical avant garde. New York is home to a vibrant instrumental New Music scene, with a relative paucity of vocal music. Ekmeles was founded to fill the gap by presenting new a cappella repertoire for solo voices, and by collaborating with these instrumental ensembles.

Director Jeffrey Gavett brings a hybrid vision to the group: he is an accomplished ensemble singer and performer of new works, and holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program. He has assembled a virtuoso group of colleagues who bring their own diverse backgrounds to bear on the unique challenges of this essential and neglected repertoire.

2013-2014 personnel

  • Sarah Brailey, soprano
  • Hailed for her "powerful and expressive vocals,” by The Capital Times, soprano Sarah Brailey is sought after as a soloist and chamber musician in a broad and varied repertoire.

    This season’s highlights include solo appearances at Alice Tully Hall with the The American Classical Orchestra, and the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Bach’s St John Passion with the Boulder Bach Festival and St. Matthew Passion at Trinity Wall Street, and appearances at the Salzburg Festival with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti. Ms. Brailey recently made her debut with American Opera Projects as Mother in The Scarlet Ibis by Stefan Weisman and David Cote and will return to AOP this summer in Lera Auerbach’s The Blind at the Lincoln Center Festival.

  • Mary Mackenzie, soprano
  • Described by the New York Times as “a soprano of extraordinary agility and concentration” Mary Elizabeth Mackenzie has captured the attention of audiences in New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Boston.

    Contemporary opera productions include Héctor Parra’s Hypermusic: Ascension at the Guggenheim Museum and the premiere of Jonathan Dawe’s Cracked Orlando at the Italian Academy at Columbia University. Notable solo appearances include Jean Barraqué's Chant Aprés Chant with the Juilliard Percussion Ensemble, Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 with the Borromeo String Quartet, Pierrot Lunaire with Carnegie Hall’s Academy and at the Rockport Music Festival, Boulez’s Improvisations sur Mallarmé No. 1 & 2 at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.

  • Charlotte Mundy, soprano
  • Soprano Charlotte Mundy was praised as "mesmerizing" and "preternaturally focused" by the New York Times for her recent performance of Morton Feldman's epic work Three Voices. Her other recent engagements include singing Rehnqvist's Puksanger Lockrop for two sopranos and timpani by in the Salt Bay Chamberfest; singing Feldman’s Voice, Violin and Piano while simultaneously dancing a duet with New Chamber Ballet dancer Amber Neff; performing with Judd Greenstein’s The Yehudim at the River to River Festival; with the vocal octet Roomful of Teeth at Yale University; in Cynthia Hopkins’ This Clement World at St. Ann’s Warehouse; and in Howard Fishman’s The Mysterious Case of Connie Converse at Joe’s Pub.

  • Jane Sheldon, soprano
  • Praised for “soaring beauty and great skill” (Opera, Opera) and described as “superb, with a voice of penetrating beauty, precision and variegated colours” (Sydney Morning Herald), Australian-born soprano Jane Sheldon has sung under the direction of William Christie, Charles Dutoit, Antony Walker, and Reinbert de Leeuw, amongst others. Specializing in early music, and active in the creation and performance of new works, she has performed internationally, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Australia's Pinchgut Opera, Boston Camerata, and recently as part of New York City Opera’s 2012 Vox Festival. In 2011 Jane and Ensemble Offspring were awarded Performance of the Year at the Australian Art Music Awards for The Origin Cycle, a work she co-commissioned, in which 8 composers set text fragments from Charles Darwin's Origin of Species.

  • Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano
  • Praised by the New York Times for her “dark and sizeable voice,” and “considerable depth of expression,” Rachel Calloway is quickly establishing herself as one of the foremost mezzo-sopranos of her generation. This season she makes her debut at the Cervantino Festival, alongside the Amernet Quartet and sings the world premiere of Gabriela Frank’s Holy Sisters with the San Francisco Girls’ Chorus and the Berkeley Symphony. In January she sang the title role in the first staged production of Mohammed Fairouz’s Sumeida’s Song at the inaugural Prototype Festival, and later this season will appear with the Signal Ensemble at the Miller Theater and Lincoln Center Festival. She makes her debut with the ensemble Alarm Will Sound at Zankel Hall and in St. Louis and will appear in numerous performances with the new music vocal ensemble Ekmeles. She also returns to France for performances of Britten's The Turn of the Screw.

    Ms. Calloway holds degrees from both the Juilliard School (BM) and Manhattan School of Music (MM) and maintains an active teaching studio.

  • Kate Maroney, mezzo-soprano
  • Versatile mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney was featured worldwide in over 75 performances of Einstein on the Beach with the Philip Glass Ensemble. Kate has appeared recently in concert with Anonymous 4, the Bangor Symphony, Bach Collegium San Diego, Ensemble Signal, Mark Morris Dance Group, Yale Choral Artists, Trinity Wall Street, American Opera Projects, Brooklyn Art Song Society, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Saint Luke in the Fields, Berkshire Bach Society, Orchestra Sinfonica Milano di Giuseppe Verdi, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and TENET. She has recorded for New Amsterdam and Albany Records. Kate holds degrees from Eastman, Yale, and SUNY Purchase.

  • Kirsten Sollek, contralto
  • Called "...an appealingly rich alto" by The New York Times and a singer with "elemental tone quality" by The Philadelphia Inquirer, contralto Kirsten Sollek has appeared as a soloist with Tafelmusik, Kansas City Symphony, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Bach Collegium Japan, Boston Early Music Festival, and Grand Rapids Symphony. She has performed and recorded works by Steve Reich with Alarm Will Sound and Signal. She works extensively with John Zorn, and has premiered his music in Jerusalem, New York, Milan, Paris, Warsaw, London, Rotterdam, Gent, Montreal, and Adelaide. Opera roles include Rosmira in Boston Baroque's production of Handel's Partenope, covering the title role in Handel's Rinaldo for Glyndebourne, Bradamante in Handel's Alcina for the Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile, Juno in Handel's Semele for Music in the Somerset Hills, and Beauty in Blood Rose by Hannah Lash. Ms. Sollek is represented by Robert Gilder & Co.

  • Eric S. Brenner, countertenor
  • Hailed as "astonishing," "penetrating," "untamed," "remarkable," "gorgeous," & "mr. roboto," some of countertenor Eric S. Brenner's current engagements include: Tolomeo in Handel's Giulio Cesare with Opera Roanoke; Volpino in Haydn's Lo Speziale with Rochester Lyric Opera; Doodle in Stefan Weisman's & David Cote's Scarlet Ibis; Didymus (cover for David Daniels) in Handel's Theodora with English Concert; The Poet in Virko Baley's Holodomor (NYC & Kiev); Countertenor soloist in Orff's Carmina Burana & Bernstein's The Lark at Avery Fisher Hall; Soprano soloist with Alarm Will Sound; Beast in Hannah Lash's Blood Rose; D.A.V.E. in Kamala Sankaram's Miranda; Soloist/ensemble with Toby Twining Music.

  • Patrick Fennig, countertenor
  • Praised by the Albuquerque Journal for his “heartfelt intensity of smooth, effortless, bittersweet tones,” countertenor Patrick Fennig is sought after as both a soloist and choral singer. He has appeared with Fretwork Viol Consort, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Concert Royal, The American Classical Orchestra, and The Brooklyn Conservatory Orchestra. A choral singer since his days a choirboy at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, Patrick is a member of The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, NYC, Early Music New York, Musica Sacra and Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble. He graduated from Northwestern University and, now based in New York, studies with Drew Minter.

  • Eric Dudley, tenor
  • Eric Dudley is a full-time member of the choir at Trinity Wall Street in New York, where he also serves as assistant conductor for the Trinity Choir and Baroque Orchestra’s weekly “Bach at One” concert series. He sings regularly with Musica Sacra, The New York Virtuoso Singers, The Collegiate Chorale, Seraphic Fire (Miami, FL), Roomful of Teeth, and Bard Summerscape Opera. His conducting engagements have included positions with the Hartford, Princeton and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, as well as guest conducting the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Arcko Symphonic Project on the Melbourne International Arts Festival. He studied voice, piano and composition at the Eastman School of Music, and trained as a conductor at the Brevard and Aspen music festivals and as a recipient of the Doctoral degree from Yale.

  • Aram Tchobanian, tenor
  • With performances in 25 languages, Aram Tchobanian has premiered numerous works for tenor and orchestra or chamber ensemble by Vanraj Bhatia, Thomas Cipullo, Yoav Gal, Martin Halpern, Jakov Jakoulov, Thomas Pasatieri, Marga Richter, Eric Schwartz, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Ben Yarmolinsky, among many others. Aram has been featured soloist with the Columbus Symphony, the Armenian Festival Orchestra (Boston Symphony Hall), the Hamazkayin Armenian Chorus, the Alliance Players, the Bachanalia Festival Orchestra, and the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, and in such New York venues as Symphony Space, La MaMa E.T.C., The Knitting Factory, Roulette, and Galapagos, as well as Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, and Merkin halls. Recordings include Gal’s Venus in Furs, Pasatieri’s Three Sisters, Richter’s Riders to the Sea, and Yarmolinsky’s The Constitution: A Secular Oratorio, as well as four audiobooks. Aram is on the board of Joy In Singing, an organization devoted to the art of the song recital.

  • Jeffrey Gavett, baritone and director
  • Jeffrey Gavett is dedicated to new music as composer, performer and improviser. He has appeared with a broad array of artists, ranging from the Rolling Stones and indie rock group Clogs to new music groups such as ICE, Roomful of Teeth, Talea Ensemble, and his own ensembles Ekmeles and loadbang. He has worked with composers including David Lang, Liza Lim, Terry Riley, and Steven Takasugi.

    He has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Issue Project Room, The Kitchen, Merkin Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, The Stone, and Zankel Hall, and has been praised for his “attractive” and “even-tempered” voice by the New York Times. Mr. Gavett holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and Manhattan School of Music.

  • Avery Griffin, baritone
  • Avery Griffin is a freelance musician working extensively in New York, New Jersey, and New England. He has had the privilege of working with a wide variety of notable artists including prestigious conductors Simon Carrington, Andrew Parrot, and Jane Glover, composers Toby Twining, Joseph Maneri, Jason Eckardt and Rinde Eckert and choreographer Mark Morris. He is currently a member of the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys at 5th Avenue in Manhattan under the direction of John Scott

    Avery has extensive performance experience in new music and has premiered works by composers including Ezra Sims and James Bergin. He is a member of several exciting new music ensembles including: NotaRiotous, the chamber ensemble of the Boston Microtonal Society, and Roomful of Teeth, an eight-member vocal ensemble, and Toby Twining Music, the chamber ensemble of composer Toby Twining.

  • Steven Hrycelak, bass
  • Steven Hrycelak is in demand as an operatic, concert, and ensemble performer. He has performed with the NY Virtuoso Singers, Toby Twining Music, ekmeles, Early Music New York, Vox, TENET, Meridionalis, Seraphic Fire, and a vocal jazz quintet, West Side 5. He has also been a frequent soloist at Trinity Church Wall Street, as well as with NYS Baroque, Pegasus, Musica Sacra, 4x4, the Waverly Consort, the American Symphony Orchestra, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Union Avenue Opera, and the Collegiate Chorale. His performance of Monteverdi’s Seneca with Opera Omnia was hailed by the NY Times as having "a graceful bearing and depth." He has also traveled the US, Canada, and Europe performing in Frank London's Klezmer musical, A Night in the Old Marketplace. Mr. Hrycelak has degrees from Indiana University and Yale University, where he sang with the world-renowned Yale Whiffenpoofs. Additionally, he is a coach/accompanist.


9-13-14: Ekmeles Benefit
Manhattan, NY
RSVP for address


6-13-14: Stimmung
at the DiMenna Center
4-18-14: MATA Festival
at The Kitchen
3-4-14: Pop-Up Concert
at Miller Theatre
2-21-14: University of Virginia Composers
at UVa
1-17-14: NYU Residency Concert
at NYU
12-3-13: Columbia Composers
at Issue Project Room
11-15-13: 21st Century Americans
at the DiMenna Center
10-26-13: Rutgers Composers
in New Brunswick
5-17-13: FAMA with Talea Ensemble
at Bohemian National Hall
5-16-13: FAMA with Talea Ensemble
at Bohemian National Hall
4-22-13: Augenmusik on Music Mondays
at Advent Lutheran

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