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The Resonance Collective Presents the 2024 N.E.O. Voice Festival

June 5, 2024 | By TJ Sclafani
Communciations Manager, Sounding Point


Press Contacts: 

Adrienne Andisheh, Sounding Point
(310) 871-9281

TJ Sclafani, Sounding Point
(732) 501-4159

Additional Press Materials HERE


JUNE 22 — JUNE 29, 2024

Festival Performances to Include:
Showcase Featuring N.E.O. Voice & Composition Fellows, June 22
Participatory Sound Installation with Guest Artist Carmina Escobar, June 26
World Premiere of Uncanny: An Open Letter To AI, June 29

First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, Koreatown


LOS ANGELES, CA  - The Resonance Collective announces programming and dates for the fifth annual N.E.O. Voice Festival, running from June 22-29 at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. The week-long festival includes three performances open to the public: Out of the (Voice) Box, the Festival’s opening night chamber voice concert; Resonant Geometries, a participatory performative installation featuring N.E.O. guest artist and renowned experimental vocalist and intermedia artist Carmina Escobar; and the world premiere of Uncanny: An Open Letter to AI, the Festival’s annual “Exploratorio” performance, a large-scale, multi-movement oratorio composed and performed by N.E.O. Voice Festival participants and faculty.

The N.E.O. Voice Festival, founded in 2019, is an annual, voice-focused new music festival that attracts an international, diverse community of performers and composers for a week of creativity, performance, and exploration. The week-long festival includes daily interactive workshops and lectures, one-on-one mentoring, rehearsals, and live concerts featuring performers from LA’s new music scene, and culminates in the premiere of a new major work, the “Exploratorio,” composed and performed by the composers and performers in attendance. The Festival is led by composer and conductor David Harris, soprano Laurel Irene, organist-in-residence Abraham Ross, and Resonance Collective Artistic Director Fahad Siadat.

Alumni of the Festival have received acclaim in the classical and new music spheres, including Kenyan composer Nyokabi Kariuki (Pitchfork, The Guardian), bass James Hayden (LA Phil, The Industry), soprano Amanda Achen (Final Fantasy XIV in Concert, Studio Ghibli Symphony), LA-based composer Timothy Peterson (yMusic, Bang on a Can), and New York-based composer Celeste Oram (AMOC*, Ojai Music Festival).

First, on Saturday, June 22 at 7pm, the Festival kicks off with Out of the (Voice) Box, a chamber voice concert featuring performances by N.E.O. Voice Festival Scholars and Fellows: established artists who are featured throughout the Festival; as well as faculty and special guests. Past concerts have included wide-ranging sets and performances, from classical arias to folk songs, barbershop quartets to voice & electronics sets, experimental voice projects to jazz standards, and much more.

Second, on Friday, June 26 at 7pm, the Festival presents Resonant Geometries, a participatory installation featuring, and facilitated by, N.E.O. guest artist Carmina Escobar, whom the LA Times wrote can “make her voice sound like insects dancing on dry leaves or a rocket ship dying in space.” This installation is preceded by a “Body Resonances” workshop facilitated by Escobar that is open to N.E.O. participants and the public, where they will explore body mechanics related to voice production and their potential to create connections in group settings. Then, the participants from the workshop,  as well as audience members who are willing to take part, are invited to perform in Resonant Geometries. The installation involves simple guided scores using the body and voice to create an immersive sonic experience for both participants and audience, encouraging physical interaction with the space and each other, highlighting the possibilities of connection through the body and voice.

Finally, on Saturday,  June 29 at 7pm, the Festival ends with the world premiere of Uncanny: An Open Letter to AI, this year’s “Exploratorio” composed and performed by N.E.O. Voice Festival participants. In Uncanny: An Open Letter to AI, the 2024 N.E.O. composers consider the question: how will AI impact our lives as artists and citizens? Featuring composers and performers from around the world, this “Exploratorio” will illuminate all the possibilities and conflicts between the human voice and AI, from works inspired by the aesthetics of the digital world to works generated and facilitated by AI, and everything in between. 

All concerts take place at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, a thriving hub for classical and new music in Koreatown. In recent years, FCCLA has hosted the HEAR NOW Music Festival, Monday Evening Concerts, Civic Orchestra LA, and Musica Angelica. As a part of FCCLA’s commitment to the arts and justice, the community enjoys hosting diverse voices who bring new artistic perspectives to important cultural topics.

Tickets for individual concerts start at $10. To purchase tickets and learn more about the Festival, visit neovoicefestival.com.


Who: Emma Ginzel, mezzo-soprano; Chloé Vaught, soprano; Mariah Rae, soprano; Rohan Ramanan, tenor; Fahad Siadat, vocals & electronics; Tanner Pfeiffer, vocals & viola; Rachel Day, mezzo-soprano; Molly Burke, mezzo-soprano; Owen Spicer, organ; Mana Contractor, vocals & electronics; more to be announced
When: Saturday, June 22, 2024 at 7PM
Where: First Congregational Church of Los Angeles; 540 South Commonwealth Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90020

Program to include:

Jeremy Howard BECK   “Manoj’s Opening Aria” from Another City
Jonathan DOVE   “I Boarded the King’s Ship!” from Ariel
Juliana HALL   “Footsteps” from A World Turned Upside Down
Jake HEGGIE   “Woe to Man” from Eve-Song
Cecilia MCDOWALL   Celebration for solo organ
Tanner PFEIFFER   I Watched a Bird
POULENC   “Lune d’Avril” from La court Paille
Fahad SIADAT   Untitled work (World Premeire)
TCHEREPNIN   7 Songs on Chinese Poems, Op. 71



Who: Carmina Escobar, vocalist; N.E.O. participants and faculty
When: Wednesday, June 26, 2024; workshop starts at 5:30PM, performance starts at 8PM
Where: First Congregational Church of Los Angeles; 540 South Commonwealth Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90020
Ticket Link

Carmina ESCOBAR   Resonant Geometries



Who: N.E.O. Voice Festival participants; conducted by David Harris
When: Saturday, June 29, 2024 at 7PM
Where: First Congregational Church of Los Angeles; 540 South Commonwealth Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90020

Alex BARSOM, Matthew BROWN, Molly BURKE, Fabricio CAVERO, Jeremy DAVALOS, Aria GITTELSON, Jazmine JENDERSEE, Rebecca KIDNIE, Garrett OBRYCKI, Kevin PATEL, Molly PEASE, Tanner PFEIFFER, Alexandra REYNA, Sam SCHEIBE & Lauren SPAVELKO   Uncanny: An Open Letter to AI (World Premiere)


All programs subject to change.

# # #


The Resonance Collective seeks to cultivate curiosity and a sense of sacredness to the creative life of Los Angeles in an inspiring and supportive social environment. Embracing a diversity of cultural and spiritual approaches in how society defines “art” and “sacred,” the Resonance Collective welcomes and serves those interested in sharing spiritual uplift through music. Led by Artistic Director Fahad Siadat, the Resonance Collective furthers this mission through its three divisions: the Original Works program, which creates interdisciplinary, theatrical narratives based on spiritual transformation; the Golden Thread Concert Series, which curates exceptional music from all religions and cultures; and the N.E.O. Voice Festival, which educates creative musicians interested in holistic vocal performance and writing for the voice.

Since starting in 2019, the N.E.O. Voice Festival serves as an annual respite for a vibrant, diverse community of artists, who attend for a week of creativity, performance, and exploration. The Festival includes daily, interactive workshops, expert mentoring, rehearsals, and live concerts featuring the best of LA’s new music vocal scene. Artists share their talents while participating in multiple public performances that culminate in the premiere performance of a new Exploratorio, a multi-movement oratorio based on a theme, written and produced by attending composers and performers.



Carmina Escobar is an intermedia artist who investigates/expresses emotions, memory spaces, states of alienation, and the possibilities of interpersonal connection through voice, installations, experimental theater, interdisciplinary collaboration, new technologies, and video/film. She seeks to challenge our understandings of musicality, gender, queerness, race, and the foundations of human communication. As an immigrant from Mexico, key to her practice is the exploration of interstitial states of being—suspensions between worlds, politics, and borders. She has presented her work in a diverse array of festivals, biennials, experimental venues, formal concert halls, and living rooms of the Mexican Republic, the U.S., and Europe.

She holds a National Fund for Culture and Arts Emerging Creator award in the multimedia category, has been awarded the U.S. Artist International Award with the Estamos Ensemble Project, and a NFA Master Artist grant, among others. She has received two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts in Mexico and was appointed regular faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. She will be at the Chinati Artist residency in MARFA in summer 2024.



David Harris specializes in new music, American music, and the intricacies of communication in singing, writing, and conducting. He has premiered hundreds of pieces for vocal and instrumental ensembles and theatrical works. He is an active performer and composer in L.A., is director of the professional ensemble Laude, with whom he recorded more than 300 tracks during quarantine including the premiere album and performance of Patrick Cassidy’s The Mass in its organ/choir setting. He is also the Ensemble Director for the N.E.O. Voice Festival, an annual festival that guides composers and vocalists to discover the vast potential of the human voice through the lens of science, compassion, and creation; each year sees the creation of a new full-length oratorio. He has also been a part of many of LA’s new music productions, including Sweet Land with The Industry, music directing Stimmung with Long Beach Opera, leading Laude in John Sheppard’s Media Vita for Monday Evening Concerts, and having his choral work Ring of Bone presented at the HEAR NOW Music Festival.

David has played a key role in advancing the C4 Choral Collective model, helping to develop collectives in New York, Boston, and LA. He is the Director of Music at the FCCLA where he directs professional, avocational, and children’s choirs. Through his work at FCCLA he has created several music and social justice initiative crossovers, helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for local charities by bringing music communities together, and has created new initiatives to present classical choral masterworks with choirs and The Great Organs, including Mozart’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Haydn’s Creation, Faure’s Requiem, selected music by Italian women composers, and premieres of David Saldaña’s Canciones de Nochebuena and Patrick Cassidy’s The Mass, narrated by Martin Sheen. As a champion of new choral music, he leads the choirs at First Church in the premiere of dozens of new pieces each year. David is the co-founder of VoiceScienceWorks, an organization helping vocalists learn to translate difficult voice science into immediately applicable tools.



Laurel Irene is a Los Angeles-based vocal artist and voice researcher, specializing in bringing new compositional works to life with vocal repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart to the wacky, wild, and extreme sounds of the 21st century. With incredible vocal range, agile flexibility, and "resigned, compassionate, forbearing, affectionate, sympathetic, absolving" (LA Times) emotional connection that stretches from playful to unhinged in the span of a page, she draws on her expertise in vocal research to heighten unique timbres, textures, and vocal expressions. In 2019, she performed the role of Countess Almaviva in Ragnar Kjartansson’s Bliss, a 12-hour endurance piece that premiered at REDCAT, earning acclaim as "one of the most astonishing performances, vocally and interpretively" (LA Times).

As an avid voice educator and founder of the educational organization VoiceScienceWorks, she gives voice workshops at conferences and collegiate settings across the United States and Europe, including the Pan-American Vocology Association, American Choral Directors Association, Acoustical Society of America, Harvard, York University, College of the Holy Cross, CalArts, UCLA, and Cornish College of the Arts.



Fahad Siadat creates interdisciplinary pieces exploring the intersection of creative and spiritual practices that “border on being a spiritual journey” (LA Dance Chronicle). His work is described by the press as “evoking wonder, desire, and terror” (Off Broadway), “hypnotic” (Backstage) and having “a sophisticated harmonic vocabulary” (San Diego Story). Fahad is the Artistic Director of the Resonance Collective, a multifaceted organization which explores and expands our definition of sacred music. He is also the director and member of LA’s premiere new music vocal ensemble HEX, an award-winning sextet described by the LA Times as “a luminous ensemble of singers”.

Fahad maintains a robust performing and recording schedule and has performed as a soloist with such groups as The Industry and the GRAMMY Award-winning ensemble PARTCH, as well as on recordings for artists such as Toby Twining, Jeonghyeon Joo, and Wild Up. Fahad is regularly commissioned to compose for concert music ensembles, dance companies, and theater troupes, including theater dybbuk, Rosanna Gamson Dance, Cor Cantiamo, C3LA, Jacksonville Dance Theater, the California EAR Unit, and the Tahoe Symphony Orchestra. His music has been performed in Europe, China, and across the United States. To hear his work, visit fahadsiadat.com.



Abraham Ross, D.Mus., enjoys an active career as a concert organist, harpsichordist, and director, presenting imaginative programmes informed by the most recent research into performance practice, technology, and musicological context. His recently completed doctoral research studied improvisation practices of early modern Italy and won research grants from FRQSC (Québec, CA) and McGill University. 

Abraham’s performances include music ranging over 600 years of written repertory, live improvisation, and new experimental sound creations, including recent collaborations with Resonance Collective (Los Angeles), the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra. Next year, he will launch Ives Retrospective, 1874-2024, a research-creation project examining the work and formative experiences of Charles Ives at the organ. A series of four concerts will present each of Ives’s 5 surviving organ works alongside the modern premieres of 9 reconstructions, bringing his lost music originally written for the instrument to life for the first time in a century. 

Abraham’s formative musical studies took place in his hometown of Bangor, Maine on an 1860 organ by American firm E. & G. G. Hook, an experience that inspired him to take up musicological studies and organ performance as a career. He now serves on the board of St. John’s Organ Society, an organization dedicated to the preservation of that instrument.



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