a master class with NEW YORK VOICES


Friday, April 15, 2016, 4:00pm


Holden Chapel, Harvard Yard

Presented by: Learning From Performers
Admission: Free and open to the public (tickets/RSVPs not required); seating first-come, first-served, subject to venue capacity.

New York Voices—comprising Peter Eldridge, Lauren Kinham, Darmon Meader and Kim Nazarian—are known for their close-knit vocals, inspired arrangements and unparalleled vocal blend. Their chameleon-like musicianship allows them to move seamlessly from setting to setting, be it orchestral and big band to an intimate trio line-up. With deep interests rooted in jazz, Brazilian, R&B, classical, and pop, their music mixes traditional sensibilities with more than a dash of the unexpected. Like the great jazz vocal groups that have come before—Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Singers Unlimited, and The Manhattan Transfer—they are firmly a part of that legacy and are dedicated to passing it on to generations to come. They will lead a master class with Harvard undergraduate singers, co-sponsored by Harvard’s vocal harmony group VoxJazz.

Formed by Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian, Caprice Fox and Sara Krieger, New York Voices had their first performances in 1988. Meader, Eldridge, Nazarian and Fox attended Ithaca College in New York and were part of an invitational alumni group formed to tour the European Jazz Festival circuit in the summer of ’86. In 1989 they signed their first record deal with GRP Records and released their self-titled debut album, “New York Voices.” The group received rave notices and quickly received domestic and international recognition in the jazz world. From ’89 to ’94, they released four CDs on the GRP label, “New York Voices,” “Hearts of Fire,” “What’s Inside” and “Collection.”

While recording for GRP, they underwent personnel changes. In 1992, Sara Krieger retired her chair, and after auditioning over 60 vocalists from all over the United States, the group found Lauren Kinhan. There was an immediate chemistry, allowing the group to make a quick transition and become the “new” New York Voices. Lauren’s first musical contributions can be heard on NYV’s third CD, “What’s Inside,” released in May 1993. In early 1994, Caprice Fox left the group, forever fixing NYV as the quartet it is today.

In addition to their own CDs, NYV has made many guest appearances on recordings and live performances that have earned them critical acclaim and demand in a variety of settings. “Live at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild” (MCG Records) was recorded with the Grammy Award winning Count Basie Orchestra, and the Latin Grammy Award-winning “Brazilian Dreams” with the great Paquito D’Rivera; other collaborative recordings include the contemporary classical “Visions Within” (Robert Lepley-EarthBeat Records), “Heirs to Jobim” (BMG Records), Don Sebesky’s “I Remember Bill” (BMG), Jim Hall’s “By Arrangement” (Telarc), “A Love Affair—the Music of Ivan Lins” (TELARC), “Louisiana Purchase (DRG),” and many more. They have had the pleasure of performing with a number of influential jazz artists including Ray Brown, Bobby McFerrin, Nancy Wilson, The Count Basie Orchestra, George Benson, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, The Manhattan Transfer, the Boston Pops, The Metropole Orchestra, Ivan Lins, Paquito D’Rivera, Bob Dorough and many more.

In early 1997 they traveled down a different road, paying tribute to Paul Simon with “New York Voices Sing the Songs of Paul Simon.” They explored a variety of styles to express new turns on this singer/songwriter’s rich songbook. All Music Guide said, “The arrangements are brighter and brassier than Simon’s originals, but there’s a real charm to the performances that makes it a thoroughly entertaining experience.”

In 2001, New York Voices released the CD, “Sing! Sing! Sing!” After many years of performing with the Count Basie Orchestra, the group wanted to address the great Big Band songbook and offer their own spin. “The title track quickly lays down what to expect from the balance of the program: complex, interwoven vocal lines, interactive improvising and brisk ensemble accompaniment,” wrote Don Heckman of the LA Times. “And revivalist swing fans—both players and listeners—would do well to check out the Voices’ capacity to bring a contemporary quality to classic material without sacrificing the essence of either.”

Several recordings and many performances later, NYV has traveled the globe with their elegant music, amazing audiences the world over with their impeccable voices and stunning arrangements. “Live, they’re just as impressive to witness,” says Mathew Lurrie of Time Out Chicago. “We dare say there may be no better way to understand the wit and wink of jazz harmony than via these Voices.”

Along with their extensive concert performances and recording schedules, NYV also works in the field of education, giving workshops and clinics to high school and college music students throughout the world. In 2009, they launched the New York Voices-Bowling Green State University Vocal Jazz Camp, a wildly successful venture that admits students from all over the world at different ages and stages in their musical lives.