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Majel ConneryBerkeley, CA
Majel Connery makes day-dreamy electronic pop with repressed classical influences. To paraphrase the Wall Street Journal, her music is part Elvis Costello, and part Schubert. Majel wrote and performed music with collaborator Alex Overington for 5 episodes of the WNYC podcast Radiolab’s “Gonads” series, including a Radiolab Live performance at NYU’s Skirball Center. Her recent solo EP, “Anything Chartreuse,” was called “dreamy art pop with the sensitivity and nuance of classical music—but none of the inhibitions” (Second Inversion).
Majel left a music assistant professorship at UC Berkeley in 2015, had an early mid-life crisis, and launched a career as a solo artist with a focus on generating her own work. Since then, as Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford (2017), she commissioned and performed Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw’s “Contriving the Chimes,” written for Majel and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and staged by opera director Christopher Alden. In 2016, as Mellon Visiting Artist at Wellesley, she commissioned and performed Aeolus, a throat-singing rock opera by Rome- and Berlin Prize-winning composer Ken Ueno.
In opera circles, Majel is best known as Artistic Director for avant-garde opera company, Opera Cabal (2007-2018), whose premiere of G.F. Haas’s ATTHIS at The Kitchen (with ACME) was described as “one of the most … searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times (New York Times). From 2017-2019 Majel performed frequently as one half of Bay Area vocals/violin duo Hae Voces, and with composer collective Oracle Hysterical. Still occasionally lured back into academia, she recently co-taught a FUN! seminar on voice with poet Jeff Dolven at Princeton University.
As restless as her music, Majel is bi-coastal, based in NYC and Berkeley, CA.
“Beauty Is” is from the album “Passionate Pilgrim” (VIA Records, 2017) co-created by Oracle Hysterical (Elliot Cole, Majel Connery, and Doug & Brad Balliett) and performed with New Vintage Baroque. “Beauty Is” is sung by Connery and written by Doug Balliett. On poetry once thought to have been by Shakespeare, but now unknown.
Video by 4/10 Media, mixed by Ryan Streber. Recorded at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn. “Passionate Pilgrim” is a co-production of Opera Cabal and New Vintage Baroque.
“There is No One Like You”
From Aelous (2015), an opera-installation in progress commissioned by Opera Cabal and co-created by
Ken Ueno, Majel Connery and Thomas Tsang.
“There is No One Like You” was written and composed by Ken Ueno with vocals and performance by Majel Connery.
This recording was created during a residency at High Concept Laboratories, April 2015, co-presented by Opera Cabal and High Concept Laboratories, and hosted by Mana Contemporary Chicago. Video by Scrappers Film Group; sound by Greg Figge.
Contriving the Chimes, by Caroline Shaw, with the St. Lawrence String Quartet
“Contriving the Chimes” (Caroline Shaw) & “August is also cruel” (Doug Balliett) commissioned and performed by Majel Connery and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Directed by Christopher Alden. Dramaturgy by David Levin.
Performed and recorded live at Bing Concert Hall Studio April 2017.
Supported by the Shenson Fund, Stanford Live, the Stanford Arts Institute, the Stanford University Department of Music, and made possible by the Mohr Visiting Artist Residency, administered by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts.