BOHÈMES, a modern chamber ensemble from Chicago, has produced a new, fresh, creative, and approachable take on classical, operatic, and contemporary vocal repertoire. Its members have participated in an impressively wide array of collaborations including those with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Jazz at Lincoln Center, legendary reggae producer, The Scientist, and American Social Practice installation artist, Theaster Gates. The ensemble’s unorthodox instrumentation (voice, electric guitar, bass, and drums/percussion) creates both exciting challenges and opportunities when interpreting a body of music largely written for orchestra or piano.
Guitarist, DAVE MILLER, considered by Grammy winning jazz journalist, Neil Tesser, “among my favorite modern guitarists,” uses the ideals of reduction and abstraction to navigate through dense orchestral passages with grace, passion, and exuberance. Meanwhile, bassist, JOE POLICASTRO, and drummer, MIKEL PATRICK AVERY, experts of both chamber ensemble color and rhythmic propulsion, anchor the group with the backbone of a classic jazz rhythm section. The three instrumentalists, together, interpret the material in an effectively malleable way, often finding opportunities for inventive and functional improvisation, bringing the music into an entirely new sonic space. Above it all soars the lush and commanding voice of soprano, TRACY CANTIN, whose numerous performances with the Lyric Opera of Chicago have left critics praising her as a “veteran of power and artistry”, and a “veritable musical powerhouse”.
Paying homage to the artistic ideals of turn-of-the-century Paris, BOHÈMES is vocal chamber music for the 21st century. The ensemble’s creative re-imagining of canonical repertoire, such as works by Puccini, Debussy, and Britten, has garnered high adulation from serious classical fans. Simultaneously, using the same overall unified aesthetic to approach the songs of contemporary popular composers, such as Tom Waits, Cole Porter, and David Bowie, the group has compelled a young audience to initiate a meaningful and curious relationship with classical music.
Above all, BOHÈMES is a collaboration among four musicians who love and respect each other very much, and these attributes shine through in their mesmerizing performances, leaving the audience with an unparalleled and unforgettable aural experience.