Shelley Hirsch’s Book-Bark-Tree-Skin-Line is a celebration of language centered on an investigation of the words of the title—book, bark, tree, skin, line—and their etymological, poetic, mnemonic, and sonic properties. Shelley Hirsch has written a text score and composed a multi-track recording featuring her voice which will be used as a template for its own elaboration through a series of public workshops and group collaborations. Drawing upon her ongoing workshop “Explore Your 1000 Voices”, Hirsch has assembled a diverse chorus of musicians and improvisers who speak several languages and play various styles of music to participate in this experimental work-in-process. During open rehearsals in the park, Hirsch will work collaboratively with the vocalists/musicians to create sung and spoken parts for their particular talents to be performed in varied formations, including sections of solos and improvisations, throughout her residency. Hirsch will also be recording interviews with park-goers about their associations with the words of the title, to be edited and added to her pre-recorded material. For the final presentation she will improvise with these collected associations, conduct the members of the chorus, and prompt the audience to engage in an extended choir. Hirsch’s compositions for voice and tape are often collaged from an enormous variety of musical styles and vocal techniques. Book-Bark-Tree-Skin-Line is a continuation of this compositional practice and lifelong fascination with the way that language, stories, and song grow out of primal vocal utterance and voiced gestures intrinsically located in the body.
Participating vocalist musicians include Sarah Bernstein, Michael Evans, Matt Freedman, John Matturri, Anaïs Maviel, Michela Musolino, Dafna Naphtali, Yuko Otomo, Peter Stampfel, and Emilie Weibel.