Vital Vox Festival at Brooklyn’s New ROULETTE, Nov. 5-6

VITAL VOX: A VOCAL FESTIVAL explores the myriad power of the human voice in its solo and ensemble forms across a multitude of genres. The 3rd Annual festival will take place on November 5 and 6 at 8pm, at the brand new Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY (2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, G, D, M, N, R, B & Q trains and the LIRR). Tickets are $15 ($10 Students/Seniors/Members) and can be purchased at or by calling 917-267-0363. VITAL VOX ( celebrates composer-performers in the vocal arts who stretch and expand the voice in new and original ways, continuing a strong contemporary tradition developed in the United States.

Over the course of two diverse evenings VITAL VOX explores “Voice + Keys” as well as “Voice + Strings.” The first evening will explore vocal works supported by keyboard instruments, whether the keys of the piano or ‘keys’ of a laptop. The second will delve into vocal music utilizing traditional western string instruments such as the cello and violin alongside world instruments like the bowed psaltery, hurdy gurdy and Finnish kantele. Performances draw from wide-ranging international influences and genres including jazz, experimental, contemporary, free improvisation, world music, and interactive electro-acoustic; Morse code, audio sampling, a house plant and theater collide in a heady, appealing mix of experimentation.

The November 5, 2011 program (Voice + Keys) includes ‘Vor an Sicht’ by Judith Berkson; ‘Scaling’ performed by Gelsey Bell and Paul Pinto; ‘{kaleid-o-phone}’ performed by Dafna Naphtali.

The November 6, 2011 program (Voice + Strings) includes ‘Wood in the Wind’ performed by Iva Bittova; Toby Twining Music (Toby Twining & Malina Rauschenfels); SoCorpo (Sasha Bogdanowitsch & Sabrina Lastman)

VITAL VOX premiered in May 2009 at Teatro IATI (International Theatre Arts Institute) in the East Village and continued in 2010 at ISSUE Project Room. Since its founding, the Festival has brought together some of the most talented & creative vocalists in NYC, and featured nearly 20 projects and 30 vocalists. Sasha Bogdanowitsch & Sabrina Lastman are Artistic Directors for the festival, which is produced by World in One & Roulette. Roulette is a major New York City venue for contemporary music and intermedia art, internationally recognized for the presentation and promotion of experimental contemporary music, an incubator for young talent and a laboratory where new ideas and new technologies are examined, appraised and developed.

‘Vor an Sicht’ is a preview from Judith Berkson‘s forthcoming opera about Salomon Sulzer commissioned by Six Points and the Foundation for Jewish Culture. Sulzer, a composer and trained musician was Vienna’s chief cantor during the 19th century and led the movement for musical reform. Her Vital Vox performance will be of solo arrangements from the larger work for voice, Farfisa organ, drum machine and samples. Judith Berkson is a New York based soprano, pianist and composer who also performs as Liederkreis. Her live performances combine originals, Schubert lieder, standards and liturgical music. She has played at the BrucknerTage, Museo Picasso Malaga, Le Poisson Rouge, Leipzig Kaufhaus Joske and the American Festival of Microtonal Music, premiering pieces as both a singer and pianist.


Singer, songwriter and scholar Gelsey Bell joins with composer and vocalist Paul Pinto in a new song cycle. ‘Scaling’ is a song-driven one-act for two using a borrowed piano, a house plant and a pair of shoes. Gelsey Bell is a singer, songwriter, and scholar. She has released two studio albums, Under A Piano (2005) and In Place of Arms (2010), and two experimental albums, February (2008) and Love Is Just a Crack In the Space of You (2009). She has performed her site-specific Bathroom Songs (2010) in various locations throughout New York City. She performs regularly with contemporary music ensemble thingNY, and has premiered and developed a number of works by New York City-based composers.


In her solo performance project ‘{kaleid-o-phone}’, Dafna Naphtali uses her laptop-based noise/audio processing “instrument” to alter the sound of her multi-octave singing, vocalisms and personalized recordings. She filters and samples her voice and her audio samples & synthesis, and plays the resulting sounds as an instrument of her own invention, on a wild collision course of the acoustic and the electronic –and along the route paying homage (in a twirl of the radio dial) to all her influences: music concrète, free improvised music, as well as the contemporary classical, near-eastern and many other non-Western music. A singer/instrumentalist/electronic-musician from an eclectic musical background (jazz, classical, rock and near-eastern music), since the mid-90’s Naphtali has composed/performed experimental, interactive electro-acoustic music using her custom Max/MSP programming for live sound processing of voice and other instruments.


Czech violinist/vocalist Iva Bittová performs her solo ‘Wood in the Wind’: violin and voice as one instrument. She has been described as a visionary whose creativity knows no borders. Born in Bruntál in northern Moravia, Bittová’s father was a multi-instrumentalist, strongly influenced by the music of his home country. His exceptional ability to play almost any instrument he laid his hands on proved a major influence on his three daughters. Iva attended drama school from a young age, specializing in violin and ballet. Around the time of her studies at the Music Conservatory in Brno she also featured as an actress in radio, TV and movie productions. In 1982, Iva started studying with Professor Rudolf Šťastný, the primarius (first violin) of the Moravian String Quartet. In the intervening years the violin has become her life’s passion and the most inspiring musical instrument in her professional life. Iva firmly believes that, as playing the violin places extreme demands on musicians, the composer’s work depends utterly on commitment and diligence.


A performance from Toby Twining Music pairs Toby Twining with ensemble member Malina Rauschenfels. Raised in Texas, with family roots in country-swing and gospel, Toby Twining has traveled musically from playing for rock and jazz bands to composing and performing experimental music for voices with a fresh approach to harmony. He moved to New York in 1987, initially writing for modern dance choreographers who wanted the sounds of a new choral music. In 1991 he started Toby Twining Music, which performed in music halls and festivals across the United States and Europe. His recordings include Shaman (SONY, 1994), The Little Match Girl and Emily Dickinson’s Birthday Pizza on A Prairie Home Companion 20th Anniversary Album (Highbridge, 1996), Chrysalid Requiem and Eurydice (Cantaloupe Music 2002 and 2011).

Cellist/composer/singer/dancer Malina Rauschenfels has collaborated with Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects, airelise, Doorknob Dance Company, Laura Flowers, and Dodge Dance, scored the film LineAge, and composed for C4, In Extensio, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Janus Trio, and Rebecca Danard. Rauschenfels was a 2008 Bang on a Can Composition Fellow.


SoCorpo is a vocal duo whose music stretches the possibilities of the human voice and bridges gaps between contemporary new music, jazz, folk and world music. The combined talents of Sasha Bogdanowitsch and Sabrina Lastman result in work that is often theatrical, incorporating music performance alongside movement, theater and multi-media.

Sasha Bogdanowitsch is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist & composer whose work draws on influences and techniques from contemporary new music, world music, early music and popular music. His work ranges from writing for chamber ensembles and multi-track tapes with live performance to songs and music for unique ensembles, such as gamelan and early music groups, to live and recorded music for theater, dance and film. For the voice, Sasha often uses a language of sounds and has developed a way of singing that incorporates his studies in world, early & contemporary new musics. He has composed music for numerous theater, dance & films, including an interdisciplinary vocal theater work with Sabrina Lastman, ‘Grimm,’ a multimedia dance theater work and ‘Hidden Circle,’ an interdisciplinary work for voice, tape, movement & projections.

Sabrina Lastman is a New York based vocalist, and composer born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Drawing from jazz, Latin American and contemporary music, often integrating extended vocal techniques, Sabrina concentrates her work on jazz projects like the Sabrina Lastman Quartet and the creation of interdisciplinary new music performances combining voice, electronics, sound, movement and visuals. Her album ‘The Folds of the Soul’ was nominated by the Graffiti Award 2008 as one of the best jazz albums of the year. Sabrina has toured internationally playing in many musical and interdisciplinary projects from Tango to New Music.