Special Guest Artists: Cantoral

Event time: 
Saturday, March 31, 2012 - 12:00pm
Event description: 

All This Singing, One Song

Myths and Paradoxes in Musical Improvisation


Institute of Sacred Music, Great Hall

409 Prospect Street, New Haven

Free; no tickets required. Plenty of free parking.

The artists will also offer a public performance on Tuesday, April 3 at United Church on the Green at 5 pm

This interactive workshop, presented by the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, will explore myths and paradoxes around practices of musical improvisation.  Led by Dr. Helen Phelan, the presentation will draw on current doctoral research in vocal performance at the Academy. Presentations will include sung examples from Irish traditional song, Georgian Orthodox chant, Western plainchant, contemporary Irish rituals, and song-writing with children in urban regeneration areas.

The second half of the workshop will include an interactive musical improvisation led by acclaimed Irish musician and composer, Prof. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin with Dr. Phelan.

The workshop is a response to “Ritual and the Improvisational Arts,” a project led by ISM Fellow Ronald Grimes.



Batsheva Battu was born in France and studied at the Medieval Music Centre in Paris before completing an MA in Irish Traditional Music Performance at the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick.  She is now based in Connemara, County Galway, where she works as a writer and singer.  She is part of a number of vocal ensembles including Cantoral, in Limerick, the medieval and traditional music duet Tír na mBeo, in France, and Celtic traditional singing duet Inis, in Connemara. 

Olivia Cantoral was born in Mexico and trained as a classical guitarist before undertaking the Masters in Ritual Chant and Song at the Irish World Academy. She is currently engaged in doctoral research on performative interpretations of the 14th-century Spanish musical manuscript Codex Las Huelgas.  She is a recipient of the Scholarships to Study Abroad granted by the FONCA, which enables Mexican artists and researchers to develop their performance practice.

Sydney Freedman was born in the US and is a music graduate of St. Olaf’s College. She completed a Masters in Ritual Chant and Song at the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick, before commencing doctoral study in Georgian Orthodox chant. Her area of interest is the embodiment of theology through performance in Georgian Orthodox liturgy.

Sharon Lyons completed her Bachelor of Music Education Degree in University of Dublin, Trinity College in 2006 and graduated with a first class Masters degree in Chant and Ritual Song in 2007. She has received numerous awards and scholarships over her years of studies including a Fullbright Scholarship to study music in the US for the summer of 2007 as part of the Fusion Arts Programme. She is currently a doctoral student on the PhD Arts Practice programme at the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick exploring the role of the singer in ritual decision making.

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin is one of Ireland’s best known musicians. He has over ten CD recordings on release of his own compositions and arrangements performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra under his direction.  As a pianist, he is widely acknowledged as having originated a unique Irish piano style out of an Irish traditional base. He is Professor of Music at the University of Limerick where he founded the Irish World Music Centre in 1994, which has now grown into the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. He is widely viewed as the single most important figure in the integration of Irish traditional music and dance into the higher education system in Ireland over the past three decades.

Helen Phelan is a Senior Lecturer at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. She was course director of the MA Ritual Chant and Song programme from 2000-2009 and is currently the programme director of the PhD Arts Practice. She was appointed Associate Director of the Academy in 2009 and is currently Acting Director. She was artistic director of the Anáil Dé: Breath of God Festival of World Sacred Music from 2000-2006 and has published a book and radio series of the same title. Her research interests are in ritual music with particular reference to Irish Catholicism and new migrant communities in Ireland.

Catherine Sergent is a Paris-based early music singer. She has been a member of Discantus, an ensemble of women’s voices specialising in medieval sacred music, conducted by Brigitte Lesne since its foundation in the early 90s. She also records regularly with medieval ensembles such as Obsidienne and Alla Francesca. She teaches at the Centre for Medieval Music and the Centre for Polyphonic Arts in Paris as well as on the Masters programme in Ritual Chant and Song at the UIrish World Academy, University of Limerick. She is the artistic director of the female chant ensemble Cantoral since its beginnings in 2009.

Kathleen Turner is a singer, song writer and community musician. She is currently the Education Officer for the Irish Chamber Orchestra and facilitates a number of projects, including ‘Sing Out with Strings’, which provides singing, song writing and violin tuition for 290 children in regenerating areas of Limerick City.  A graduate of both the MA Community Music and MA Ritual Chant and Song programmes at the Irish World Academy, Kathleen is currently undertaking a PhD in Arts Practice, investigating the role of music in the process of social regeneration.

(Feb. 28, 2012)