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Guest Artist Recital: Nicholas Isherwood, Bass-Baritone

Saturday, May 7, 2022 - 7:30pm
Nicholas Isherwood, bass-baritone
Nicholas Isherwood, bass-baritone (Photo: courtesy the artist).

The School of Music presents a guest artist recital with composer/vocalist Nicholas Isherwood, performing "The Electric Voice,” an exploration via the work of multiple composers of the connections and tensions between technology and the human voice. The program also includes music by Joël-François Durand and Iannis Xenakis. Isherwood is  joined by faculty percussionist Bonnie Whiting for a performance of Xenakis’s “Kassandra,” in celebration of the composer’s centennial.

Nicholas Isherwood also leads a free master class with UW music students on Friday, May 6, 1:30 to 3 p.m., Brechemin Auditorium. Details here.

Masks are recommended in all indoor spaces. Proof of vaccination remains a requirement for everyone 12 and over at Meany Hall and all ArtsUW Ticket Office events, including Meany Center, DXARTS, Dance Department, School of Drama, and School of Music. Individuals unable to be fully vaccinated, including people with a medical or religious exemption, must have proof of a negative provider-administered COVID-19 test (taken within 72 hours of the performance). UW staff will check for proof of vaccination and negative COVID tests at the doors as a condition of entry. Proof of negative test result must come from a test provider, a laboratory or a health care provider. Home or self-administered tests will not be accepted.  Details of these policies and procedures are at 



with Douglas Niemela, live electronics

La lettre perdue (2022)-------------------------------- Luong Hue Trinh

Micromegas (2022)----------------------------------------- Rodrigo Sigal


Nocturno (2005-21)---------------------------------------Jacopo Baboni


Cantique de métèque (2021-22)-----------------------Sina Fallahzadeh

#2020...covid 1984 for Nicholas I.(2020)--------- Aleksandra Bilińska


cuerpo abierto (2022)-----------------------------------Juan José Eslava




She or not, for solo baritone (1998)------------- Joël-François Durand


Kassandra (1987)---------------------------Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)

            with Bonnie Whiting, percussion

THE ELECTRIC VOICE, in its sixth edition, is a voyage around the globe in nine concerts. This year's theme is inclusion: featuring composers from around the world (Mexico, Vietnam, Iran, the U.S. and Europe), women and men, and artists either young in years or young at heart. The unifying forces are the voice of Bass-Baritone Nicholas Isherwood and the unlimited world of electro-acoustic music. Including some video and staging elements, Isherwood's background as a stage director and the presence of opera composers will fuel the visual aspect of the evening.

For the University of Washington's iteration of this project, the performance also includes She or not by Joël-François Durand (Professor of Composition and Interim Director of the School of Music), and Iannis Xenakis' explosive Kassandra with UW's Chair of Percussion Studies Bonnie Whiting in celebration of the Xenakis centennial. 


Nicholas Isherwood

Nicholas Isherwood is one of the leading singers of early music and contemporary music in the world today. He has worked with Joel Cohen, William Christie, Peter Eötvös, Paul McCreesh, Nicholas McGegan, Kent Nagano, Zubin Mehta and Gennadi Rozhdestvensky as well as composers Sylvano Bussotti, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, György Kurtág, Olivier Messiaen, Giacinto Scelsi, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis, but also Pascal Dusapin, Luca Francesconi,  Wolfgang Rihm, Francesco Filidei, Matteo Franceschini and Vittorio Montalti in prestigious venues around the world (La Scala, Covent Garden, the Théatre des Champs Elysées, Salzburg Festival, Concertgebouw, Berlin Staatsoper, Vienna Konzerthaus, Tanglewood). Directors he has worked with include Yuri Lyubimov, Tadashi Suzuki, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Sylvano Bussotti, Michael Hampe, Pierre Audi and La Fura dels Baus.  Operatic roles include "Antinoo" in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria with Boston Baroque, “Plutone” in Monteverdi’s Il Ballo delle Ingrate at the Angers Opera, "Claudio" in Händel’s Agrippina with Nicholas McGegan, "Satiro" in Rossi’s Orfeo and “Pan” in Marais’ Alcione with Les Arts Florissants, "Joas" in Porpora's Il Gedeone with Martin Haselböck, "Frère Léon" in Saint François d’Assise in the last composer supervised production, "Der Tod" in productions of Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis with the Bach Akademie in Stuttgart, the Konzerthaus in Berlin and 2e2m, “Roméo” in Dusapin’s Roméo et Juliette at the Avignon Festival, Montpelier Opera and on tour, “Lear” in Hosokawa’s Vision of Lear for the Munich Biennale, the title role in Mefano's Micromégas , "Bartolo" in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and the title role in The Mikado at the Eugene Opera,  “Truffaldino” in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Long Beach Opera, “Giovanni Falcone” in Nicola Sani’s Il Tempo Sospeso di Volo at the Teatro Cavallerizza in Regio Emilia, the "Hotel Manager" in Adès Powder her Face in Lugo and at La Fenice in Venice, "Astrodamors" in Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre with Zoltan Pesko and La Fura dels Baus and "Il Testimone" in Bussotti's Tieste, the title role in Luca Lombardi's Il Re Nudo, all at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, “General Howard” in Zender’s Chief Joseph, the 7 Attempted Escapes from Silence and Kagel’s Der Tribun, all at the Staatsoper in Berlin, several roles in Zender’s Don Quixote at the Komische Oper Berlin, the bass in Alessandro Solbiati's Suono Giallo at the Bologna Opera, Vittorio Montalti's opera in Reggio Emilia, the man in Matteo Franceschini's Forést in Bolzano, the doctor in Francesco Filidei's  L'Inondation at the operas in Rennes and Nantes, and "Lucifer" in the world premieres of Stockhausen’s Montag, Dienstag, and Freitag aus Licht at La Scala and the Leipzig Opera and in Donnerstag aus Licht at Covent Garden. He has improvised with Steve Lacy, Joëlle Léandre, Sainkho Namtchilak and David Moss, recorded over 65 cd’s and appeared in three films.  He has taught master classes around the world, been a voice professor at schools such as the Ecole Normale de Musique, the CNSMD in Lyon and CalArts and currently teaches singing and chamber music at the Conservatory of Montbéliard.  He has published numerous articles and a book, "The Techniques of Singing" (Bärenreiter, 2013).



Jorge Rodrigo Sigal Sefchovich

​(Mexico City - 1971). Composer, cultural manager and full time professor since 2017 at ENES, UNAM, Morelia, where he is also the coordinator for the Music and Artistic Technology undergraduate program ( Interested in new technologies especially in the electroacoustic music field. Since 2006, Sigal has been the director of the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts ( where he coordinates numerous initiatives of creation, education, research and cultural management in relation to sound and music. He earned a doctorate degree from the London City University and completed his postdoctoral studies at UNAM. He has a diploma in cultural management from the UAM-BID and has continued his studies and creative projects with the help from various scholarships and support from institutions like FONCA (SNCA member 2011-18) and the DeVos Foundation for cultural management, among others. He has the “Researcher candidate” level at the National Researchers System from Conacyt and for 20 years he has taken part in the Luminico project (, he is the director of the “Visiones Sonoras” festival ( and editor of “Sonic Ideas” journal (


Micromegas is a short experiment commissioned by Nicholas Isherwood where the timbre of the voice explores connections with the computer part in a fast and abstract evolving short story inspired by Voltaire´s text.


After studying at Vietnam National Academy of Music since 1998 at age 13, LUONG Hue Trinh received her Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Keyboard in 2010. From 2015 to 2018, she won a full scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the “New Techniques in Composition” program then Master program in Multimedia Composition at Hochschule für Musik & Theater Hamburg, Germany. 

Trinh has received commissions for exhibitions, festivals/concerts, radio and collaborated with artists in different fields of art in Asia, Europe, America, Australia, and Africa. “Illusions” – her first album was released by label Pan y Rosas, Chicago. It had a review and was on the “Best of 2016 – Albums of The Year” list by Avant Music News, San Francisco-USA. She was the Finest Artist selected by Hanoi Grapevine’s Finest 2019. In 2020, she was chosen as one of 15 successful alumni of DAAD Vietnam since 1985 and was written in a publication for the celebration of the 45 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Vietnam.


The title is "La lettre perdue" (2022) for voice, electronics and video. Poetry by Emmanuel Labrande.

Many years ago I lost a letter that I loved. I often read it when I felt empty. This piece is the condensation of certain passages that I remember and the daydreams that their reading did not fail to provoke.


Jacopo Baboni Schilingi comes from the so-called "art music" that combines writing and interactivity. The international press describes him as one of the most representative composers of his generation. He is regularly invited for concerts and performances in "classical" theatres all over the world [32 countries], including Théâtre de Champs Elysée, Opéra Comique, Philharmonie de Paris, Teatro Studi, Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, Auditorium in Rome, Miller Theatre and Alvin Ailey Theater in New York, Tonhalle in Zurich, Arsenal in Metz, Shanghai Concert Hall Chanel Nexus Hall in Tokyo, etc. His works with electronics have been exhibited and performed in places such as the Sanlitung village in Beijing, the UniCredit pavilion in Milan, the Streaming Museum in New York, etc.

His work with Arman in the 2000s initiated a series of creations with Miguel Chevalier, Alain Fleischer, Elias Crespin, Sarkis, etc. In 2015, he participated twice in the Venice Biennale: he created the music for the Turkish pavilion and the closing day concert in the Sala delle Armi. Jacopo Baboni Schilingi has written music for major sponsors such as Hermès and Samsung. From 2015 to 2018, Camille Fournet - Paris was Jacopo Baboni Schilingi's sponsor for his installation ARGO, exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris. From 2018 to 2020, he was sponsored by Chanel for a series of residencies, a monographic concert and a monographic exhibition in Tokyo.

In 35 years of artistic activity, Baboni Schilingi has given more than 450 concerts, including more than 50 monographic ones. The first monographic concert took place in 1989, the year Jacopo Baboni Schilingi was 18, at the Teatro Litta in Milan, and one of the last in 2019 at the Nexus Hall in Tokyo, a concert produced and sponsored by CHANEL.


Notturno is a short composition for Nicholas Isherwood and live electronics. Begun in 2005 for Radio France's Prix Italia, this small composition has been rewritten several times to achieve its final form today. It is a simple descending melodic line on a text by Yannick Liron. Nothing more. This small composition fits into the tradition of nocturnes or lieds for accompanied voice. The electronics are the result of various sound processing techniques used on Nicholas' own recorded voice. This small composition is dedicated to the greatness of my friendship with Nicholas Isherwood.


Sina Fallahzadeh (b.1981) is an Iranian composer, living in France.

His compositions, resolutely contemporary, includes elements borrowed from his rich cultural heritage, but also from other historical periods and often far-off traditions. His music is part of a unique relationship between knowledge and culture. Fallahzadeh’s compositional process attaches great importance to the morphological development of sonic gestures, to the evolution of timbres, and to spatial interactions among different layers of sound.

Sina took his first composition lessons with Alireza Mashayekhi in Iran. After obtaining a master's degree in piano performance, he moved to Europe and studied with Gérard Pesson, Denis Dufour and Édith Canat de Chizy in Paris, and with Michael Jarrell as well as Luis Naón and Éric Daubresse in Geneva. From 2015-2016, he attended to the IRCAM’s practical training in Composition and Computer Music (Cursus) in Paris.


Computer music designers: Serge Lemouton and Quentin Nivromont (IRCAM).

This piece is a kind of autoportrait based on one of my poem, which talk about being constantly emigrant in the world.

I composed The Metic Canticle for Nicholas Isherwood. It’s a kind of 4 parts polyphony so three voices are recorded and the solo voice is performing at the concert.

I use virtual choir, a technology developed by Greg Beller at Ircam, for transforming the voices. This technology let me to create a virtual choir from Nicholas Isherwood’s voice. I complete the composition by using some samples of a real choir and the synthetics sounds.



PhD, is an active composer, lecturer, ethnomusicologist, and improviser. Bilińska graduated from the Department of Composition, Conducting, and Music Theory at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice and Institute of Musicology in University in Warsaw, with specialization- Ethnomusicology. Aleksandra Bilińska has worked as a lecturer in the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland. As a theorist and performer, she has taken part in many international and national conferences and conducted many workshops focussing on contemporary music and piano improvisation. As a composer, Bilińska has won prizes at the prestigious competitions and the turning point of her compositional career was the production in 2003 of P®uder-ja for the famous Polish Dance Theatre in Poznań in co-operation with the distinguished dancer and choreographer, Andrzej Morawiec. Since then, she has created electronic music for many choreographers and dance theatres in Poland and abroad also distinguished artist as Nicholas Isherwood, Alessandra Rombola. Her compositions have been performed in many countries. She is an author of books and articles about contemporary music.

 #2020...covid 1984 for Nicholas I.

Is a third part of cycle titled #2020...

At the beginnig of 2020 our life filled with a run, an excessive number of tasks, repetitions understood with various ways, days ended with insomnia with a head full of emotions, wanderings thoughts has suddenly stopped.We count the time anew. What will it be like (?) ....#2020 is a cycle of compositions symbolically measuring the time of changes coming along with this year.  Third part of  this cycle is written and dedicated to Nicholas Isherwood. Symbolically, it is dedicated to all artists who a long time spent in isolation with no work, practicing and suffering from being cut off from audiance, who lost their work for a long time. The text of this piece is based on interview with an artists representing different culturas and languages conducted  by composer and texts by Samuel Beckett and Geroge Orwell.



Composer, author of the opera Oteiza,  as well as orchestral, chamber, solo, vocal, instrumental and electronic works, he collaborates with artists from the musical, choreographic, theatrical and performative fields, focused on the relationship between space, body and sound.

A student of Gérard Grisey, Emmanuel Nunes and Claude Ballif, he studied at the Conservatory Superior of Music of Paris as well as IRCAM’s music computer course

He has received commissions from institutions such as the AEOS Foundation, BBVA, CNDM, Musical Fortnight, OCN, Grupo Enigma, Nomad Ensemble, Plural, Neopercusión, Sigma, Trio Zukan... His music is present at the main festivals (ICMC, SICMF, Time- of-Music, World New Music Days, Transitio, Puentes, Résonnances, Musikaste, Ensems...) and venues in Europe, Asia, Mexico and Argentina.

His work as a researcher in the field of education as well as the stage is present through various book and record publications.

International Computer Music Conference's Regional Price (2008); finalist in the international festival of electronic art Transitio (Mexico).

He has been organizing the After Cage festival since 2014 as a member of the E7.2 collective.

He has been a professor of Composition and Orchestration at the Conservatorio Superior de Aragón since 2013.


for bass-baritone, electronics and actor

A voice a body a wall.

interior Exterior

In self discovery.

- the reference to Dogville (Lars Von Trier) as space creation code -

Male Female; intimate penetrating; fluctuating choppy; cohesive disintegrated

inspiration expiration; expansion compression.

The subtle irregularities of voice and body.

Come in -


Texts: Khyan. Staging, dramaturgy: Javier Álvaro. Lighting and costume design: Teatrolari. Musical composition, computer production, original conception: Juan José Eslava

Interpreters: Nicholas Isherwood, singing. Jacopo Baboni, live electronics. Javier Álvaro, theater-dance. Sophie Bancon, recorded voice.

Joël-François Durand

Composing, writing, teaching, inventing new ways of hearing – all are linked in the work of Joël-François Durand. As a composer, his career was launched in Europe with important prizes: a Third Prize at in the 1983 Stockhausen Competition for the piano piece “…d’asiles déchirés…,” the Kranichsteiner Preis from the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music in 1990. Commissions and performances from many of today’s most significant ensembles followed – Ensemble Intercontemporain, London Sinfonietta, Arditti Quartet, Jack Quartet, Quatuor Diotima, ASKO, Ensemble Recherche, musikFabrik, Talea Ensemble, Dal Niente Ensemble, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Durand is Professor of Composition at the School of Music, University of Washington, as well as Interim Director. He has been awarded the Donald E. Petersen Endowed Professorship for 2019-22. Durand’s works are singular and powerful, combining rigorous and innovative structures with a prominent lyrical impulse. Durand’s music and personality received critical attention in the 2005 book Joël-François Durand in the Mirror Land (University of Washington Press and Perspectives of New Music) edited by his University of Washington School of Music colleague Jonathan Bernard, which features in addition to analyses by Bernard and several of the School’s students, an innovative self-interview authored by Durand himself. Recent projects for Durand include a work for large orchestra, Tropes de : Bussy, based on some of Debussy’s piano Préludes, commissioned by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, which was premiered April 18-20, 2019 and a work for viola and ensemble, to be premiered by Melia Watras, viola and the Dal Niente ensemble in May 2020.

Commercial recordings of his music are available on the Auvidis-Naïve, Mode Records, Wergo, Albany Records and Soundset Recordings labels. In 2010, Durand embarked on a new path: he designed and started commercial production of a new tonearm for record players. The Talea, as it was called, took the audio world by storm and was followed by three further models, the Telos, the Kairos and most recently (2019), the Tosca also aimed at the most refined audio reproduction systems. For his work at his company Durand Tonearms LLC, he was made a University of Washington Entrepreneurial Fellow in 2010.  As a guest composer and lecturer, Durand has contributed to the “Centre de la Voix” in Royaumont, France where he was co-director of the composition course in September 1993, the “Civica Scuola di Musica” in Milan, Italy (1995), the Royal Academy for Music in London, UK (1997), the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt (1984, 1990, 1992, 1994), the “VIII. Internationaler Meisterkurs für Komposition des Brandenburgischen Colloquiums für Neue Musik”, Rheinsberg (1998), Washington State University, Pullman, WA (2004), and Stanford University (2006), among others. In the Fall 1994 he was Visiting Assistant Professor in Composition at the University of California at San Diego.

Durand is listed in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

She or not, for solo baritone (1998)

Although it may not be immediately apparent, She or not is a love song. If that doesn’t seem obvious at first, it is because the song is nearly four hundred years old (it is actually Shakespeare’s Sonnet 109). In those days, a lover sang a complaint to his loved one who had been away (where to?), or perhaps had left him (why?), to beg the absent lover to take him back. Almost four centuries later, he would like to address his complaint again, but this time has some difficulties remembering his poem—and is also far less articulate. Fragments of the old text come back to his mind, sometimes even whole phrases. But his plea is rendered far less efficient by the mass of words which have been spoken, sung or otherwise uttered in the meantime (nearly four centuries!) by countless lovers in similar situations, and these seem to make his return somewhat suspicious: can he still be sincere, can his heart still be pure? He is all too aware of this, and it only increases his frustration...


Iannis Xenakis (1922–2001) was a radically innovative composer. Violently persecuted for his leftist activism in the Greek Civil War that followed the Second World War, he fled Greece to live the rest of his life in Paris. One of the most explicit expressions of his resultant feelings of trauma, guilt, and displacement can be found in the vocal piece he called Kassandra (1987). This demanding work requires its two performers to enact and explore the alienation experienced by the prophet Cassandra in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. Xenakis’ Kassandra is defined by a symbiotic relationship between percussionist and vocalist, by a simultaneously controlled and improvisatory score based on extracts from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, and by a striking use of the baritone singer’s falsetto as well as his chest voice. These features of the piece mark out Cassandra as ‘other’ in her origins, her sex, and her language, while also hinting that her characteristics are not entirely foreign, but are in fact understood or even shared by the very communities that initially seemed to exclude her. (Emily Pillinger)

Nicholas Isherwood is joined by percussionist Bonnie Whiting in the Xenakis. Whiting performs and composes experimental music, seeking projects that involve the speaking percussionist, improvisation, and non-traditional notation. Recent work includes performances at the John Cage Centennial Festival in Washington DC, an evening-length song cycle for speaking percussionist composed by Eliza Brown and 10 musicians incarcerated at the Indiana Women’s Prison, performances on the original Harry Partch instrumentarium, and concerti with the National Orchestra of Turkmenistan. Her debut album, featuring a solo-simultaneous realization of John Cage's "45' for a speaker" and "27'10.554" for a percussionist" was released on Mode Records label in 2017, and her second album Perishable Structures launched on the New Focus Recordings label in 2020. Whiting has performed with some of the country's leading new music groups, including Ensemble Dal Niente, International Contemporary Ensemble, Seattle Modern Orchestra, and red fish blue fish percussion group. She is Chair of Percussion Studies and an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Washington, Seattle.