Elaine Mitchener is an experimental vocalist and movement artist whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary composition, sound art, music theatre, physical theatre and performance art.
Born in East London to Jamaican parents, Elaine studied voice at Trinity College of Music, London and currently studies with Jacqueline Straubinger.
She has performed at numerous UK and European festivals, venues and galleries including Aldeburgh Music, London Contemporary Music Festival, 56th Venice Biennale, Wysing Arts, Café Oto (London), earsthetic (Brighton), Bluecoat (Liverpool), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Muziektheater Transparant (Antwerp), ULTIMA Festival (Oslo), SPILL Festival (Ipswich), La Monnaie (Brussels), Block Universe (London), White Cube (London), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Weserburg MOMA (Bremen), Hepworth (Wakefield), Wellcome Collection (London), and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London).
She has worked and performed in a wide variety of contexts with an array of leading musicians, composers, directors and visual artists including The Otolith Group, Deborah Warner, Christian Marclay, Apartment House, Steve Beresford, Irvine Arditti, Oliver Coates, Sonia Boyce, John Butcher, Attila Csihar, Rolf Hind, Dam Van Huynh, George Lewis, Alexander Hawkins, Tansy Davies, Phil Minton, Evan Parker, Alasdair Roberts, David Toop, Matt Wright, Brodsky Quartet, Jason Yarde, Barry Lewis, Sam Belinfante and Dai Fujikura.
Her production company Elaine Mitchener Projects has researched, developed, produced and toured or staged a number of projects including Industrialising Intimacy (with choreographer Dam Van Huynh, David Toop, George Lewis) which was premiered at Brighton’s earsthetic; The Nude Voice (with Dam Van Huynh) which was commissioned for the Wellcome Collection London’s THIS IS A VOICE exhibition; SWEET TOOTH, which has been presented as a work in progress at Aldeburgh Music and Bloomsbury Festival (London), and premiered in Liverpool in November 2017 in collaboration with Bluecoat, Stuart Hall Foundation, International Slavery Museum and Edge Hill University; ‘I back… I neck… I face… I chest’ which was commissioned by Sonia Boyce for her installation We Move In Her Way at London’s ICA; Of Leonardo da Vinci (with Dam Van Huynh, David Toop, Barry Lewis) which was premiered at Oslo’s ULTIMA Festival; the three hour durational performance [NAMES] premiered at Ipswich’s SPILL Festival; and a presentation of John Cage’s SongBooks for London’s Poetry In The City Festival.
Elaine has participated in residencies at Aldeburgh Music (to develop SWEET TOOTH) and Fondazione Claudio Buziol, Venice (where she developed Of Leonardo Da Vinci supported by Muziektheater Transparant). She is co-founder of experimental jazz quartet the Hawkins/Mitchener Quartet, whose debut album will be launched in November 2017. Recent performances include IRMA by Tom Phillips RA (dir. Netia Jones), a selection of songs by Julius Eastman both with Apartment House in Poland, and The Cave by Tansy Davies, with libretto by Nick Drake, and tenor Mark Padmore, commissioned by London Sinfonietta in association with the Royal Opera House (WP June 2018).
While developing her own projects, Elaine continues to work as a collaborative and interpretive singer and her repertoire includes:
Georges Aperghis – Recitations
Cathy Berberian – Stripsody
John Cage – Songbooks
Cornelius Cardew – Treatise
Ruth Crawford Seeger – Chinaman/Laundryman
Tansy Davies – The Second Key
Julius Eastman – Buddha/Hail Mary/Stay On It
Morton Feldman – Three Voices/Only
Michael Finnissy – Rhymes And Limericks
Fred Frith – Bricks For Six
Heiner Goebbels – Drei Horatii (Surrogate Cities)
Christian Marclay – Manga Scroll
Frederick Rzweski – Coming Together/Attica
Salvatore Sciarrino – Infinito Nero
David Toop – Star-Shaped Biscuit