Constellation Chor is a vocal performance collective founded and directed by Marisa Michelson. Its intention at inception, and still to this day, was to create a space for humans to sing virtuosically together while also prioritizing deep embodied experience and movement. Since 2016, Constellation Chor has been in residence at Judson Memorial Church in NYC, meeting weekly.
We are singers, composers, and dancers. We are committed to embodied music-making, to practicing together over a long period of time, and to the liberation of the singing Being (that is: all of us, and all of you). We have two branches: our improvisational branch (based on a set of principles called Core Sounding), and our written-composition-based branch, in which we learn and perform works by various composers (including originals from within the Chor). We’ve improvised and performed compositions in a variety of spaces including Lincoln Center, the Kitchen, Harvard ArtLab, Spectrum, Pioneer Works, and National Sawdust; we’ve also performed as far afield as Iceland and Greece. Our practice fuels everything we do. We invite our rawest impulses to channel through us, and aesthetically translate those impulses into voice or movement. We practice non-attachment to narrative. We also cultivate vulnerable emotional transparency. We want to show up, to be seen, and to see.
The Chor’s collaborators include Claire Chase, Sarah Hennies, Ashley Fure, the New York Philharmonic, the Kitchen, Heartbeat Opera, Harvard Art Lab, Maria Popova, Paola Prestini. Awards/grants include: 2021 Toulmin Fellowship with National Sawdust and Center for Ballet Arts, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
*Chor from the Latin Cor meaning: heart, soul, mind; and the Greek Khoros meaning: to dance in a circle, 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.