With a sublime aural imagination, composer and vocalist Erin Gee creates micro-worlds of vocal sound brimming with color and expanding the sonic possibilities of the human voice. Each piece feels like a rare ecosystem with micro-climates where the voice is instrument and instruments have voice. Often performing as vocalist in her compositions, Gee has composed a series of more than thirty works for the Mouthpiece Series. Whether for a string quartet, a solo for herself, an opera, for orchestra and voice, or ensemble, each piece combines a wide array of active timbres.

Through hours of listening in a forested region of India known for its biodiversity, she created an environment of sound featuring 28 imaginary birds, each with their own vocabulary of silence and punctuation. This is just one example of how Gee uses her ear to deepen her relationship to the frequencies of her own voice.

Gee’s work has been commissioned and performed or recorded by Jack Quartet, Kronos Quartet, RSO Vienna, Klangforum Wien; works performed at Tanglewood, Zürich Opera House, Konzerthaus Vienna, Centre Pompidou, Wigmore Hall, Lucerne Festival, Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall, and, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting, by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group. She is Professor of Composition at Brandeis University.

“In her stunning series of Mouthpiece compositions, Erin Gee presents a set of voluptuous enigmas—a taxonomy of finely-etched vocal utterances devoid of meaning; an orderly syntax of sounds that vaporizes fixed forms; an aesthetic environment that feels at once extraterrestrial and uncannily familiar. The elegant sounds and fleeting structures that Gee composes to convey these inscrutable messages emanate from a humid, mysterious place—the inside of our mouths.” 

  --- Martin Brody, CD liner notes, Mouthpieces (2014, col legno)


“The goal is to create a blessing.”

-Erin Gee

photo: François Volpe

Archipel Festival, Geneva, 2019