Experimental Voice Workshop

The VoiceArts Specialization is uniquely designed for creative artists whose primary means of expression is the voice—for those who wish to develop both their unique artistic voice and their vocal mechanism.

The unique project-driven curriculum facilitates the evolution of artists who seek to be distinctive and expressive makers of original art, as well as those who wish to explore already existing vocal music. The program of study assists all students in identifying their own voice and sound, and in gaining the tools, techniques and creative ideas with which to develop and contextualize their work, regardless of direction. At both BFA and MFA levels, faculty provide individualized guidance—and encourage self-initiated projects and collaborative work—to enable students to excel in a wide variety of creative settings once they enter the professional world.

Students in both the BFA and MFA tracks focus on developing a “post-classical” vocal technique, which grows out of the Western classical foundations of voice and tone production to include a more extensive skill and style palette—including extended vocal techniques, improvisation, non-Western vocal styles, sound art, and the use of electronics.

All technical work emphasizes healthy production, vocal control, stylistic adaptability and vocal experimentation. Students also are expected to explore new ideas and arenas, to develop critical perspectives that lead to creative performance of new or existing works, and to reflect on contemporary and historical traditions and perspectives from around the globe.

Voice artists perform in numerous solo and ensemble situations as well as in self-generated, peer and interschool projects. Opportunities include chamber and large ensembles, contemporary and experimental vocal ensembles, opera and concert theater productions, jazz, improvisation and world music ensembles, among others.


Faculty Story

Carmina Escobar
Carmina Escobar VoiceArts MFA 10 Voice Artist

There’s a great interest in the voice right now—throughout the culture—in the arts, in music and philosophy. It’s all about extending one’s own corporeality. My sound art springs from my concept of the voice, which is my primordial instrument. I relate to the world through my voice; it’s a physical experience. Some projects may not even express the voice in the end, but getting there is always a physical process. For example, at an ecology residency at Guapamacataro, a partner and I designed robots with Arduinos and sensors–which I discovered at CalArts—and I composed a four-note melody, which he transcribed into code. The Arduinos were encoded with that, and then information was gathered through the sensors, which was mixed with data from the environment.

Something unique about CalArts is that it prepares you to perform other people’s music; repertoire; but on top of performance practice, you’re also specializing and developing as an artist with your own creative process. What I do ranges from Baroque to contemporary music, however, it’s all community-based, project-oriented work with other artists. I also teach classes here at CalArts, which I love.


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