American, Indonesian, Swedish-Ethiopian and Australian artists will present work that illuminates the shape-shifting power of the human voice

Sydney, Australia: Sydney Chamber Opera and Carriageworks, in association with Resonant Bodies (USA), today announced the full program for the first Sydney iteration of Resonant Bodies, an international festival of new vocal music founded in New York in 2013 by American singer Lucy Dhegrae.


This exclusive Australian event presents six dynamic vocalists across two nights on 31 August and 1 September. Swedish-Ethiopian composer-improviserSofia Jernberg, Indonesian vocalist Rully Shabara, New York soprano Ariadne Greif, and Australian vocalists Mitchell RileyDeborah Kayser andSonya Holowell are invited to curate and perform in their own 45-minute sets, with no restrictions on repertoire, format, or styleSydney-based theatre director and lighting designer Alexander Berlage is the visual director for the Festival, with sound design by composer and technologist Benjamin Carey.Now in its sixth year, Resonant Bodies has made a significant contribution to contemporary new music. ‘An immersion in experimental vocal music, this Festival is as artist-focused as a festival gets’ – New York Times.


Local Resonant Bodies co-directors Jessica Aszodi and Jane Sheldon performed in the NYC Festival and describe Resonant Bodies as a festival that is also a community: ‘Co-directing the Australian iteration of the festival has given us the chance to make links across far-flung geographies, connecting artists from different backgrounds who might otherwise rarely come into contact, but who share common philosophies. We all use our voices to push boundaries. Resonant Bodies’ two-day program will leave audiences stunned by what the human voice can do.’

The collaborators and musical content of Resonant Bodies programs are chosen, and often devised, by the featured singers themselves. At Carriageworks a mix of local and international vocalists will present work, each with highly contrasting influences and sonic palettes. Highlights of the program include the ritualistic, punk inflected work of Indonesia’s Rully Shabara, and the premiere of a new monodrama with piano and electronics by Le Coq trained, Sydney-born tenor Mitchell Riley.



FRI 31 AUG 8PM | Rully Shabara, Sofia Jernberg

Indonesian vocalist Rully Shabara makes use of a wide range of extended techniques. His work fuses traditional Javanese musical forms with the experimentation of the avant-garde. The voices inside Shabara’s virtuosic body are many and spectacular.  His performance at Resonant Bodies includes a new work with Indonesian musicians Setabuhan – a pattern-driven, muscular work for drummers, voice and dancers.

International acclaimed experimental vocalist Sofia Jernberg (Ethiopia/Sweden) is recognised for her compositions, spectacular improvisations and unique palette of sound focusing on the acoustic possibilities of the human throat, exploring and extending its scope without the aid of external or electronic effects. She will be joined by Jim Denley (saxophone) in a new composition by Johan Jutterström (Sweden).

SAT 1 SEP 5PM | Deborah Kayser, Sonya Holowell

Deborah Kayser is considered a leader of contemporary new, vocal music in Australia. Resonant Bodies will premiere the latest development in her long-standing project, One Hundred Months, Third of East. Composed by (and performed with) contrabass player Nick TsiavosOne Hundred Months… journeys through a kind of modernist Byzantium of the imagination, forming an architecture into which both voice and bass project. “Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity” – Flaubert

Sydney vocalist Sonya Holowell will bring her two duos – with pianist/improviser Jonathan Holowell and designer Elia Bosshard – together for one unique performance. Placing their trust in spontaneous processes for organising sound, The Holowells’ site specific performance will be an immediate response to the architecture of Carriageworks.

SAT 1 SEP 8PM | Mitchell Riley, Ariadne Greif

Mitchell Riley has appeared in ten of Sydney Chamber Opera’s most iconi­­­­c shows, he returns to Sydney from École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris.  For Resonant Bodies he will premiere a new solo work by Jack Symonds and Pierce Wilcox. Taking Patrick White’s Voss as its basis, this song cycle for voice, piano (Zubin Kanga) and electronics pushes Mitchell’s voice and body into new and extreme territory with a quizzically modern interpretation of an Australian icon.

American soprano Ariadne Greif is “an artist known for her fearless performances of raw emotionality” (New York Times). Her Resonant Bodies performance explores the complex experiences of children with new work from Shawn JaegerRicardo Romaneiro and Ryan Chase (Jabberwocky). She will be joined by wunderkind New York-based Australian organist Alessandro Pittorino.

MEDIA CONTACTS: For further information and interviews please contact Articulate: Julia Barnes,, 0402 678 589 or Kym Elphinstone, 0421 106 139.



  • FRI 31 AUG 8PM | Rully Shabara, Sofia Jernberg
  • SAT 1 SEP 5PM | Deborah Kayser, Sonya Holowell
  • SAT 1 SEP 8PM | Mitchell Riley, Ariadne Greif


  • Single ticket $35 + bf
  • 3-session pass $60 + bf

IMAGES: Hi-res images available here

ABOUT RESONANT BODIES: Resonant Bodies Festival is a festival supporting the growth and evolution of contemporary vocal music and vocal artists, described by the New York Times as, “in equal measures intelligent, playful, ambitious and moving”. Established by American vocalist Lucy Dhegrae in 2013, the Festival showcases “today’s most talented singers… seamlessly blend[ing] classical, avant-garde and indie-folk” (Feast of Music). With a generous grant from the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, the festival is expanding its reach beyond New York City to Chicago, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney, and

ABOUT SYDNEY CHAMBER OPERA: Louis Garrick and Jack Symonds established SCO in 2010 and it has rapidly developed into an important and distinctive voice in the Australian music and theatre landscapes. SCO is critically acclaimed for its innovative programming, musical rigour and strong focus on compelling theatre-making. Their program aims for a balance of specially commissioned work by leading homegrown composers, the latest international operas in their Australian premieres, song cycles and cantatas in unusual stagings, and canonical repertoire reinvigorated by the country’s most daring theatrical talent.

ABOUT CARRIAGEWORKS: Carriageworks presents a contemporary multi-arts program that engages artists and audiences with contemporary ideas and issues. The program is artist led and emerges from Carriageworks’ commitment to reflecting social and cultural diversity. The Carriageworks artistic program is ambitious, risk taking and unrelenting in its support of artists. Carriageworks is a cultural facility of the NSW Government and is supported by Arts NSW. The Carriageworks program can be viewed at



+61 (0)402 678 589



back to top