consort : a group of instrumentalists and singers performing together
fonema : (Spanish, phoneme) the smallest unit of speech, which distinguishes words according to their sonic quality.
These concepts define the essence of Fonema Consort as we commission, perform, and promote new music that explores the possibilities of the human voice. We are driven by a fascination with pieces that foster rich interplay of voices and instruments and attempt to close the gap between music-making and drama. The ensemble is also highly committed with bringing works by Latin American composers to US audiences and encouraging the cultural exchange between these regions
Now past its 5th season anniversary, Fonema Consort was founded by singer Nina Dante and composers Pablo Chin and Edward Hamel, and gave its debut its debut concert in February 2012. Named “Best New Vocal-Oriented Contemporary Classical Ensemble of 2014” by the Chicago Reader, the ensemble has quickly earned a place in Chicago’s new music community, and is building a national and international audience with performances across the US as well as in Europe and Latin American.
Fonema Consort is dedicated to the commissioning of new works for voice(s) with instruments, and has collaborated closely with celebrated composers such as Julio Estrada, James Dillon, and Lewis Nielson; as well as young luminaries such as Bethany Younge, Sivan Cohen Elias and Clint McCallum. Described by Chicago Reader’s Peter Margasak as “dazzling“, Fonema Consort’s debut CD, Pasos en otra calle featured the music of emerging composer Pablo Chin and Mauricio Pauly, and was released in 2014 on New Focus Recordings. The ensemble is a recipient of a 2016 Copland Foundation Grant, which funded the production of an audiovisual album of theatrical works released in June of 2017 with Parlour Tapes+.
Fonema Consort has been a guest ensemble at Chicago’s University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin Whitewater, University of Minnesota, North Central College, Saint Xavier University, Columbia College and New England Conservatory; as well as abroad at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg (France), UNAM (Mexico), and the University of Costa Rica..
They have collaborated with celebrated presenters and venues such as the Goethe Institut of Chicago, the Renaissance Society, the Frequency Series, National Sawdust, Experimental Sound Studio, and the University Museum of Contemporary Art (Mexico City); and performers such as Voix de Stras’, Duo X and Miranda Cuckson.
Fonema Consort has been the recipient of prestigious grants from institutions like the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE), the Ernst von Siemens Foundation, and the Copland Fund for New Music.
The ensemble’s upcoming 2017-2018 season includes a residency at Harvard University featuring the work of Julio Estrada, an Ecuadorian tour, and a residency at the Claremont Colleges in California among other events.
Believing that new music offers a journey of discovery for the performer and listener alike, Fonema Consort hopes that our audience will join us on this journey at the edge of musical aesthetics.