Events & Tickets

Silent Voices: If You Listen at National Sawdust

Friday, April 27, 2018 - Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tickets & Info

“One of the most socially aware artistic events in New York this year.” —WQXR


The Series
Silent Voices is a multimedia, multi-composer, and multi-year series of concert works with spoken word conceived, produced and performed by Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Silent Voices amplifies the voices of those silenced or marginalized in our communities and harnesses the power of young people to be instruments of change. The Chorus has commissioned a dynamic group of innovative artists to interpret rich personal stories and historical narratives exploring contemporary themes of identity, orientation, status, boundaries, and belonging.

This Show
If You Listen, the second installment in the Silent Voices series, builds on the success of its 2017 premiere at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, co-commissioned with Brooklyn Academy of Music, and WQXR, New York. In Silent Voices: If You Listen, eight composers, all women, collaborate with the choristers in confronting the challenges of division and categorization, racism, sexism, social and economic disparity, immigration, our environment, and threats to our understanding of truth, as we prepare to move towards a more inclusive and compassionate vision of the future. Featured composers include Julia Adolphe, Olga Bell, Anna Clyne, Paola Prestini, Toshi Reagon, Shaina Taub, Shelley Washington, Bora Yoon. 

Produced and Performed by: Brooklyn Youth Chorus with special guest Shaina Taub
Conceived and Conducted by: Dianne Berkun Menaker

If You Listen Composers: Julia Adolphe, Olga Bell, Anna Clyne, Paola Prestini, Toshi Reagon, Shaina Taub, Shelley Washington, and Bora Yoon
If You Listen Librettists: Caitlin Doyle, Maija Garcia, Jane Hirshfield, Toshi Reagon, Brenda Shaughnessy, Safiya Sinclair, Shaina Taub, Lord Alfred Tennyson, and Shelley Washington

Director: R. B. Schlather
Video Designer: S. Katy Tucker
Sound Designer: Garth MacAleavey
Dramaturg: Peter McCabe
Chorister Interviews: Helga Davis
Chorus costumes provided by rag & bone

Promotional trailer for the Silent Voices world premiere

Watch tracks from the  world premiere production of Silent Voices at BAM

Documentary of Toshi Reagon’s “Brooklyn Bound”

Documentary of Kamala Sankaram’s “Keeping the Look Loose”

“Since its founding 25 years ago by its indefatigable artistic director, Dianne Berkun Menaker, it has given voice to children and young adults from a wide range of backgrounds. Musically, too, it fosters diversity with a targeted training program that teaches choristers to sing in a variety of styles and sounds. Typical members of the chorus’s professional-level concert ensemble know how to shade their voices to sound idiomatically pop, classical or gospel. [of Caroline Shaw’s ‘So Quietly’]…Using novel vocal techniques, including sharp, rhythmic breathwork, the music…(also demonstrated the enormous versatility and polish of these young singers.)” —The New York Times

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“Right out of the gate, in Shaw’s “so quietly,” the seven-stage musicianship program required for the BYC singers paid off as they conquered extremely complex rhythms with accuracy, not to mention perfect intonation. Even the microtonal slides and widely changing vocal timbres – including audible breathing – typical of Shaw were child’s play to these teens.”…“Everybody’s been really transformed.” She was referring to the choristers who created Silent Voices. But it was true of the audience who heard the piece as well.”  —Classical Voice America

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