Constellation Chor, an immersion in voice, movement, and spirit is a vocal performance ensemble initiated and directed by Marisa Michelson. Vibrating voices and moving bodies create an experience that is deeply human, magical, healing and psychedelic.
Since 2016 we have been in residence at the historic Judson Memorial Church in New York City, and we are endlessly grateful to continue to have a home there. We have also had shorter residences at Spectrum and Pioneer Works, both in Brooklyn, NY.
We are singers, composers, and dancers. We improvise vocal music at an advanced level. We are committed to embodied music-making, to practicing together over a long period of time, and to the liberation of the Singing Being (all of us/all of you).
Our collaborators include Claire Chase, William Britelle, The Metropolis Ensemble, Sarah Hennies, Ashley Fure, the New York Philharmonic, the Kitchen, Heartbeat Opera, Harvard Art Lab, Maria Popova, Paola Prestini, Dave Malloy.
Awards/grants/residencies include: 2021 Toulmin Fellowship with National Sawdust and Center for Ballet Arts, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Dragon's Egg, the inaugural MAD (Modern Accord Depot) Arts Residency.*Chor comes from the Latin Cor meaning: heart, soul, mind; and the Greek Khoros meaning: to dance in a circle. Of course, chor is also meant to evoke the core, the center and the essence. Chor is in “chorus” and “choreography.” The gestures and impulses we are working with might become voice or they might become movement.
We believe in the primacy of the body and nervous system as locations of wisdom, intuition, and healing. In our improvisations together, we aim to allow these locations to have their say. Embedded in our bodies/minds/spirits are wild truths. We seek to understand what is blocked and what needs unleashing, and to learn to channel these truths through voice and movement.
Core Sounding, our specific embodied method of shaping energy into present-moment oriented singing and movement, is unique in centering the artists' inner life in art making. Core Sounding purposefully rejects the common hierarchy of putting the product - the art - before the process - the artist's experience. What differentiates our practice from earlier explorations of process over product (including Fluxus of performance art or Contact Improvisation in the world of dance) is that Core Sounding vigorously asks for each participating artist's self interest as much as it stands on group consciousness. We tune into our own pleasure to sing and move from our personal desires. Core Sounding, for this reason, is a groundbreaking practice that reframes the pursuit of self interest as a way of harmony, and not a depletion of limited resources (as Mankiw of economics argues).
For more information about the teaching aspect of Core Sounding, and to find out about classes in NYC, DC, and online, go here
–The New York Times
Past Performances Include:
Claire Chase’s Reservoir 2: Intrusion by Sarah Hennies; Porches at Mass Moca
Biophony, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Metropolis Ensemble
The Meta Simulacrum, Volume I. Premiere, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Walker Center; A World Premiere Music Film Featuring Music by William Brittelle
Beneath the Surface, National Sawdust: Short film produced by National Sawdust and Pioneer Works, co-created with Miriam Parker: Film by Mariam Parker; Music and Performance by Marisa Michelson
Tree of 40 Fruit, Pioneer Works, Music by Paola Prestin; produced by Maria Popova
Claire Chase: Density 2036, part vi, Reservoir 2: Intrusion by Sarah Hennies, Harvard ArtLab
Sappho Fragments by Marisa Michelson; Vovousa Festival, Greece
Claire Chase: Density 2036, part vi, Reservoir 2: Intrusion by Sarah Hennies; The Kitchen, NYC
Filament, Composed by Ash Fure, World premiere with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Jaap van Zweden; David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
Desire | Divinity Project Parts I & II, by Marisa Michelson; Judson Memorial Church, NY
“The singers could have been excerpts from a dream.”
–San Francisco Classical Voice
“Constellation Chor…made an indelible impression on anyone who saw its visceral, committed work in the New York Philharmonic’s premiere of Ashley Fure’s ‘Filament,’ last season, or who witnessed the group collaborating with the flutist Claire Chase, at The Kitchen, earlier this year.”
–The New Yorker
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“Not Philharmonic regulars...”
–The New York Times
List of Founding Members:
Jen Anaya (Founding Member)
Nikko Benson(Founding Member)
Tamrin Goldberg (Founding Member)
Chad Goodridge (Founding Member)
Marisa Michelson (Founder)
Heath Saunders (Founding Member)
Shawn Shafner (Founding Member)
Kalli Siamidou (Founding Member)
Nick Vaughan (Founding Member)
Active rotating constellation of ensemble members:
Sarah Beth Pfeifer
Chanan Ben Simone
Business Manager: Joshua H. Cohen
Current team building out the Core Sounding Practice Branch:
Alumni/Former additional collaborators:
“They moved about the hall, molding the megaphones to facilitate breath-like sounds that provoked the whole body, not just the ear.”