Cathy Berberian – a Pioneer in Vocal Performance Art
The Singer Cathy Berberian was not only a famous interpreter of such celebrated avant-garde composers as John Cage and her husband Luciano Berio. With her humoristic, slapstick or comic strip- inspired pieces, Stripsody and Morsica(th)y, she also became a key figure in vocal performance art. This relatively new vocal art tradition was mainly formed by female singer- composer- performers in the mid-sixties, early seventies of the 20th century, as for instance Meredith Monk, Diamanda Galás and Joan La Barbara.
In my lecture I would give a short introduction into the history of Vocal Performance Art, as exposed in my thesis KörperStimmen – Vokale Performancekunst als neue musikalische Gattung ('BodyVoices – Vocal Performance Art as new musical genre').
Based on my recently developed vocal database (as central part of the thesis), I would also summarize a detailed analysis of Berberian´s nonverbal vocal sound spectrum, its colours, textures and figures, and compare it with the sound spectrums of other related female and male singer-composer-performers in Vocal Performance Art.
What kind of non-verbal, vocal sound language did Berberian ‘sing’ or ‘speak’? How important and influential was Berberian’s impact in the beginning and the evolution of Vocal Performance Art?
For more information: