The Electric Voice

Nicholas Isherwood - The Electric Voice

People Inside Electronics in collaboration with LA Sonic Odyssey presents:
Nicholas Isherwood - THE ELECTRIC VOICE
Saturday, September 7th, 2013, 8pm at MorYork Gallery
New music for voice and electronics

This fall we're bringing internationally renowned bass-baritone Nicholas Isherwood to Los Angeles for an evening of new music for voice and electronics called The Electric Voice.

In its fourth year, The Electric Voice is an ongoing project in which studios from around the world work together to solicit new, innovative electro-acoustic works for Isherwood. These works are then premiered on a world tour, which this year also includes Wellington (New Zealand), Auckland (New Zealand), Buffalo (New York), Lisbon (Portugal), and Marseille (France). For Isherwood's Los Angeles performance, the program features Karlheinz Stockhausen’s visionary work Capricorn, as well as the US premieres of new works by Jean-Claude Risset, Michael Norris, Lissa Meridan, and Isaac Schankler.

The Electric Voice
Saturday, September 7th, 2013 - 8:00pm
MorYork Gallery
4959 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042
$20, Students/Seniors $15


Jean Claude Eloy: Otro
Lissa Meridan: Shafts of Shadow
Michael Norris: Deep Field I
Isaac Schankler: Mouthfeel

- intermission -

Karlheinz Stockhausen: Capricorn


Nicholas IsherwoodNicholas Isherwood has sung in the world's leading festivals (Salzburg, Aix, Festival d'Automne, Avignon, Almeida, Biennale di Venezia, Holland Festival, Munich Biennale, Wien Modern, Händel Festivals in Gottingen and Halle, Tanglewood, Ravinia, etc.) and opera houses (Royal Opera House, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Lyon, Chatelet, Theatre des Champs Elysées, Rome, Torino, Genova, La Fenice, La Scala, etc.), working with conductors such as Joel Cohen, William Christie, Peter Eotvos, Gabriele Ferro, Nicholas McGegan, Paul McCreesh, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Helmuth Rilling, David Robertson, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky and Arturo Tamayo. Isherwood has worked closely with composers such as Sylvano Bussotti, Elliott Carter, George Crumb. Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Gyorgy Kurtág, Steve Lacy, Olivier Messiaen, Giacinto Scelsi and Iannis Xenakis. Isherwood collaborated with Karlheinz Stockhausen for 23 years, singing numerous world premieres. He has improvised with Steve Lacy, Joelle Leandre, David Moss and Sainkho Namtchilak. He has made 55 compact discs for labels such as Erato and Harmonia Mundi and has appeared in three films for television. An active pedagogue, he has taught master classes at schools such as the Paris Conservatoire, Musikhochschule Koln, Salzburg Mozarteum and Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi and held positions at SUNY Buffalo, Notre Dame, Calarts and the Ecole Normale de Musique. His book Techniques of Singing will be published by Bärenreiter Verlag next year.


Michael Norris has composed a piece using live electronics inspired by the "Hubble Deep Field" images from outer space. Using texts about the stars from ancient Babylon, Copernicus and a 16th century French poet, his piece is a perfect partner for Stockhausen's CAPRICORN from SIRIUS.

Celebrated French electroacoustic composer Jean-Claude Risset has done a new version of his piece OTRO for 8-channel tape and bass voice for this tour. The first version was premiered at Stanford Lively Arts on the last ELECTRIC VOICE tour. Risset's inspiration comes from Jorge Luis Borges' magical realistic "Doppelganger" encounter with his younger self.

Lissa Meridan's piece also involves a mirror image, this time the imitations of victims of "echolalia." Neurologist Oliver Sachs investigates this phenomenon extensively in his book Musicophilia. Meridan's musical rendition of this involves an improvisation guided by a recording that only the performer hears, enriched by live electronics.

Isaac Schankler from Los Angeles offers us an acoustical Tex Mex apology/ condemnation of Doritos Locos Tacos using real time electronics.

The reference piece of the evening is Karlheinz Stockhausen's CAPRICORN. This adaptation of the winter segment of SIRIUS was written for Nicholas Isherwood, who worked with the composer from 1983-2007. A being from the dog star ("the man, earth, winter, the seed") presents the music of the sphere Sirius to the earthlings, ending with Christian mystic Jakob Lorber's "annunciation". The work is based on simple melodies from Stockhausen's piece ZODIAC, which are sometimes slowed down so much that the melody is no longer recognizable or sped up until they become a timbre on one pitch. At the end of the piece, the spaceships leave the hall.

-Nicholas Isherwood