summer 2018 workshops in oakland:


June 9, 16, 23
August 18* (with Karen Clark) & 25 
Temescal Art Center
511 48th Street Oakland, CA 94609
Fee: $30-50 sliding scale (participants can attend any single or multiple of classes)

To reserve a spot, please write to:

Please include your: 1) Name 2) Contact phone 3) Workshop date(s)
You will receive a confirmation email with more details.

Theresa will lead a workshop exploring the voice through movement and raising awareness of the body. Topics include: using the breath, singing long tones, attention to body tension, and allowing the voice to take flight in its infinite expressive qualities. The emphasis will not be on ‘having a good voice’, but rather on each individual’s use of their voice in a natural and personal way. All levels/experience with the voice are welcomed!

Sat Aug 18th with very special guest:
Karen Clark
10am-noon, $40-60 sliding scale
Karen R. Clark, contralto is known to Bay Area audiences for her many Early Music performances and vocal workshops. The founder and director of the women’s ensemble, Vajra Voices, Karen holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music, and, since 1999, is certified as a teacher of the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education.


upcoming workshops: may 24 & june 28, 2014 in Berkeley

Upcoming workshops will be held on:
Saturdays May 24th & June 28th, 1-3pm
Berkeley Arts Festival Space
2133 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Cost: $30-50 sliding scale, $20 for students and seniors

1) Name
2) Contact phone
3) Which dates you’d like to attend
You will receive a reply email with more details.

Theresa will lead a workshop exploring the voice through raising awareness of the body. During the workshop, the following topics will be explored: using the breath, singing long tones, awareness of body tension, the location of vibration frequencies and creating sounds via focusing awareness on the body. Simple games of conducting via free movement gestures will be used to generate vocal sounds including textures, melodies, text and noises to allow the voice to take flight into its infinite expressive qualities. The emphasis will not be on ‘having a good voice’, but rather on each individual’s use of their voice in a natural and personal way. All levels/experience with the voice are welcomed.


Monday’s workshop in Berkeley ended with four of us lying down heads together, singing intervals of a 2nd, 4th and 5th. Often we would loose track of which note we were individually singing because of the intense vibration and overtones of the group. This reminded me of the sound of a kind of Sardinian throat singing, as illustrated here by the group Tenore Santu Lussugliu:

circling Lake Erie

I now sit at the MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) before the last concert of a 3 week tour with Ellen Fullman. This trip has taken us from Ithaca, NY (Cornell University) to Oberlin College, Toronto, Guelph and finally Motown. Highlights of this trip included vocal workshops in Guelph, Canada at a newly founded performance space, Silence and in Detroit at an art gallery / music space, 2739 Edwin. I felt a strong sense of community in both places as well as an adventurous spirit to explore the voice. It was a reminder too that singing together can strengthen such as sense of community. Below is a message from Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister’s “The Happy Show” exhibit in Toronto’s Design Exchange – a reminder that growth and well being often involve being uncomfortable.


finding the core of a song

photo by Ben Piekut

I was just on the East Coast performing with pianist, improviser and songwriter-singer Annie Lewandowski. I met Annie in the Bay Area music scene when we both lived in Oakland, and she is now based in Ithaca, NY where she recently began a post in the music department at Cornell. In the last several years, I have seen Annie’s songwriting project, Powerdove, develop and unfold in beautiful ways. As I am someone who composes for very specific performers and sounds, I marvel at the way in which Annie creates the fundamental core of a song (beginning with the melody and then composing text around that) and allows for various intepretations of the song with different musicians and instrumentation. The austerity of her song forms and the brutal sincerity of her vocal delivery create an almost ‘severe’ quality, something we discussed that she actually strives for and embraces.  But the melodies and arrangements of the songs are anything but severe- they breathe with a gentle poetry that makes it clear why her first album is entitled “Quiet Myth”. Below are three versions of the same song, “Be Mine”. The first is Annie singing and playing acoustic guitar. The second version is with Alex Vittum on percussion and Jason Hoopes on upright bass, and the third is with Curtis McKinney on electronics. Annie is also about to release a gorgeous album with collaborators John Dieterich (Deerhoof) and Thomas Bonvalet (L’ocelle Mare).
For more on her work, visit:
* Annie also says drinking a liter of water before a show works magic for the vocal chords!
Go here to check out 3 versions of “Be Mine”

rabbit rabbit radio

Illustration by Mariko Ando

This is a brand new project (launched on Feb.1st) of friends and collaborators Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi. Based on Cape Cod and transforming from touring-musician-road-warrior-champions to dedicated creative parents,  they have launched this online radio station as a way to continue their song making activity and stay in touch with their audience while being present in the formative stages of their daughter’s life. For a minimal $1/month subscription, you can have access to one song that they record and post per month plus photos, recipes, poetry, musings and more about the creative process and life on the Cape through the eyes of two amazing artists.


A Tribute to Julius Eastman: Feb 10 Berkeley Art Musuem 7:30pm

Julius Eastman

Julius Eastman was a composer, pianist, vocalist and dancer. Besides creating his own body of politically provocative pieces, he was part of Meredith Monk’s vocal ensemble and can be heard on her album Dolmen Music. My dear friend composer and musicologist Luciano Chessa has curated a show of several of Eastman’s works, which I’m sure will be stunningly performed in the beautiful Berkeley Art Museum – one of my favorite spaces, designed by architect Mario Ciampi.

For more info on tickets, etc.:

“Julius Eastman (1940–90) was one of the first composers to convincingly combine rock and house influences with minimalist processes. Active in New York throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he endured addiction and homelessness and died alone, likely of AIDS-related conditions. His pioneering work paved the way for generations of experimental composers and pop artists. Coprogrammed by composer/musicologist Luciano Chessa, this performance will be the first major Bay Area presentation of his compositions, including Gay Guerilla, an expansive and emotional work for four pianos.”

musical intonation therapy

I just came across the work done by Gottfried Schlaug, M.D. Ph.D. of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, which deals with using singing to help stroke patients regain their capacity of speech when struck with aphasia. Because melody and pitch are processed by the right side of the brain and language by the left, patients who are unable to speak have shown remarkable process in their speech recovery when retrained to use words in a melodically intoned way.

More on Dr. Schlaug’s work here:
And an NPR article on this research from December 2011: