THE VOCAL CONSTRUCTIVISTS perform text and graphic scores, alongside works that extend ‘traditional’ notation, bringing a sense of play to their interpretations of experimental music. Coming from diverse backgrounds, with ages ranging from 19 to 79, the Vocal Constructivists draw on an eclectic variety of artistic influences—classical, global, avant-garde, and theatrical. In addition to performing original interpretations of experimental classics such as Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise, they have commissioned and premiered 22 works, establishing themselves as an important force in new music-making. Read our full bio here.
“a group of exceptionally gifted singers who are at one with each other” – Choir and Organ
In response to the current restrictions on in-person group singing, the Vocal Constructivists are launching several new initiatives: a music education scheme, collaborative ‘bleeding chunks’ of Tom Phillips’ Irma, and a remote performance of Mark Applebaum’s Metaphysics of Notation that will grow incrementally and change infinitely. On 7 August, 2020, the Opening Launch of our Building A New Legacy project featured panels with participants in 3 countries, making, creating, sharing, planning, and doing.
The Construction Site (8:00 PT/11:00 ET/16:00 BST/IST)
This launched a seven-month partnership between the Vocal Constructivists and Cross Border Youth Choir (Ireland and Northern Ireland), introducing young singers to the principles of experimental vocalization.
This session launched an innovative project to create an ever-changing interpretation of Applebaum’s Metaphysics of Notation using only vocal sounds and body percussion. A round-table discussion explored its artistic goals, computational challenges, and details on participation.
On 20 March, 2020, our beloved friend and collaborator Carole Finer passed away. In addition to being a founding member of the Scratch Orchestra, Carole was an extraordinary musician, composer, musicologist, and radio broadcaster. Her radio show Sound Outon Resonance FM explored a wide range of musical genres, from experimental to bluegrass to musical samples that she collected in her travels around the world. We will always be grateful to her for sharing her mentorship, musicianship, and unbridled creativity with us.
In response to the current restrictions on in-person choral activities, the Vocal Constructivists are launching several new initiatives: a youth participation scheme, multiple fragmentary interpretations of Tom Phillips’ Irma, and a remote performance of a graphic score that will grow incrementally and change infinitely.
7 August 2020 marks the launch of a new 7-month project, Building a New Legacy. Join us online for the premiere screening of a new interpretation of our performance of Irma, Tom Phillips’ 1969 opera, discussion of a new computer-assisted realization of open notation, and reflections on the youth project as part of building new audiences for experimental music.
Join us for the two-day festival that marks the culmination of this project, 6–7 March, 2021.
The Vocal Constructivists were scheduled to perform Treatise and lead an interactive workshop on the music of Pauline Oliveros at the Donostia-San Sebastián Musical Fortnight in August. While we had to cancel our trip due to Covid-19, we were honored to be included in one of Europe’s most renowned classical music festivals, and we hope to participate in Musical Fortnight in the future.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pauline Oliveros, a composer and musical visionary who has been close to the Vocal Constructivists’ development and influenced our thinking and musical life in so many ways. Pauline’s compositions and her wisdom have inspired us to work more closely as an ensemble and her personal input has been invaluable. We were honored to work with her as recently as June 2016. In Pauline’s own words:
‘Dying will happen to all of us at some point. Impermanence still rules. However we should think about this question: what is your relationship to peace? Do you want to live in peace or do you want to live in violence? Which would you choose? One of the things we want to do according to my partner and co–Deep Listening teacher Ione is “make peace more exciting than violence.” That is the process we are attempting’.
(American Music, 2007)
We shall be performing some of Pauline’s works in the near future, and hope you will join us to remember her and her extraordinary vision – one which we could all benefit from in these uncertain times.