Campus News

Soprano Fraser to perform Feldman’s ‘Three Voices’

Juliet Fraser will perform at UB Morton Feldman's "Three Voices," which she recently recorded for the HatHut label. Photo: Dimitri Djuric


Published May 1, 2017

Juliet Fraser, principal soprano of the widely acclaimed EXAUDI vocal ensemble, will visit UB May 4-5 to perform “Three Voices,” the work by the late UB composer Morton Feldman that Fraser recently recorded for the HatHut label.

The concert, part of a U.S. tour, will take place at 7:30 p.m. May 4 in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

The following day, Fraser will hold a composer workshop at 2 p.m. in Baird Recital Hall, 250 Baird Hall, North Campus.

Fraser’s visit is sponsored by the Department of Music and The Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music.

Tickets for the May 4 concert are $15 for the general public and $10 for UB faculty/staff/alumni, seniors and non-UB students. UB students are free with ID. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Center for the Arts box office, online at or one hour before concert time at the Slee Hall box office. 

The workshop is free and open to the public.

“‘Three Voices,’ written in 1982 for Joan La Barbara, was the last solo vocal piece [Feldman] wrote before his death in 1987,” Fraser says. “It sets part of ‘Wind,’ a poem by his friend Frank O’Hara that had been dedicated to him and which he had set earlier in its entirety in ‘The O’Hara Songs’ (1962) for bass-baritone.

“Versions range in length from about 45 minutes to over an hour and a half,” she notes. “My version comes in at 53 minutes, the result of having settled on a workable mean pulse from which I then invited certain passages to deviate gently.

“Designing one’s version,” Fraser explains, “requires an artful balance between the tensions of conflicting demands: the differing exhaustions of a breathless sprint vs. that of a long-distance marathon; a precision that retains its humanity without tipping over either into something clinical or distractingly flawed; a dynamic that points to something delicate and interior, yet allows for flow and freedom in delivery.

Fraser was educated at the Purcell School as a first-study oboist and then at Cambridge University. It was while a student at Cambridge that she started singing in the chapel choir of Clare College. She subsequently sang with such professional choirs such as Polyphony, Tenebrae, the Monteverdi Choir, The King's Consort, The Tallis Scholars and BBC Singers.

In early music, she has worked with European consorts Ensemble Polyharmonique and Gli Angeli Genève. She was a regular soloist with Collegium Vocale Gent, directed by Philippe Herreweghe, for six years, performing and recording Renaissance polyphony by Lassus, Vitoria, Gesualdo and Byrd.

In new music, Juliet has performed as a soloist with Klangforum Wien, ICTUS, Plus-Minus, We Spoke: New Music Company, London Sinfonietta and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Recently, she has created duo projects with pianist Mark Knoop and percussionist Maxime Echardour.

She has premièred more than 100 works, many of which have been written for her, working particularly closely with composers Michael Finnissy, Bernhard Lang, Rebecca Saunders, Stefano Gervasoni, Frank Denyer, Christopher Fox, Matthew Shlomowitz, Cassandra Miller and Andrew Hamilton.

Fraser is principal soprano of EXAUDI, the acclaimed contemporary music vocal ensemble that she founded in 2002 with composer/conductor James Weeks and with whom she makes regular appearances at major European festivals, such as Aldeburgh, Spitalfields, hcmf//, ManiFeste, Festival d'Automne, Ars Musica, Wittener Tage and Darmstadt Ferienkurse.

Her recording of Feldman’s “Three Voices” — her first dedicated solo disc — was released by HatHut Records last November and nominated for a Schallplattenkritik Prize.