HYOID is a Brussels-based group of classically trained vocal soloists, specialized in new music and transdisciplinary performance. The group aims to question and expand the traditional concert format, while forging close collaborations with composers, performers and artists of its generation. They perform a cappella as well as with instruments, tape or electronics and adapt their line-up to each production. HYOID takes its name from the U-shaped hyoid bone, a bone that aids in diction and tongue movement, the only free-floating bone in the human body.
Recent performances have taken place at venues and festivals such as the Manifeste festival (Le 104, Paris), De Bijloke (Ghent), November Music (Den Bosch, NL), HCMF (Huddersfield, UK), Transit festival in STUK (Leuven) and GAIDA festival in Vilnius (Lithuania). In 2017, HYOID received critical acclaim for ‘A History of the Voice’ by Irish composer Jennifer Walshe, which premiered at Transit (Festival 20-21, Leuven, BE). The following year, HYOID played in theater group Ontroerend Goed’s ‘Loopstation’ in Vooruit (Ghent) and at KVS/Klara Festival (Brussels). In 2020, HYOID was invited by Opera Vlaanderen to perform Sinfonia by Luciano Berio as part of the production A Symphony of Expectation, a performance directed by Krystian Lada. That same year, newpolyphonies, a collaboration with Myriam Van Imschoot, premiered at Muziekcentrum De Bijloke (Ghent), as well as GAME 245 “The Mirror Stage” by Bernhard Lang, in collaboration with IRCAM, at the Transit festival (Leuven).
In 2021, HYOID created the performance Journal d’un usager de l’espace, based on George Perec’s Espèces d’espaces, in collaboration with choreographer Benjamin Vandewalle, Center Henri Pousseur and composer Maija Hynninen at the Kaaithater in Brussels. HYOID also toured the performances in collaboration with Jennifer Walshe, Myriam Van Imschoot and Bernhard Lang. In 2022, HYOID was asked again to perform Berio’s Sinfonia, this time with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. The following year, a new performance based on Berio’s A-Ronne premieres with Filip Rathé, directed by Joris Lacoste. The following seasons will include a collaboration with Halory Goerger, as well as two new cycles by Mauro Lanza, again with Filip Rathé and his ensemble Spectra. In the past, HYOID has received grants and support from IMPULS Neue Musik, Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung and the Flemish government. From season 20/21, HYOID will be an artist-in-residence in De Bijloke, Ghent.
Photo: Koen Broos
Theater of the ear: live performance with headphones, for 8 voices a cappella and electronics.
Luciano Berio wrote two versions of ‘A-Ronne’. The first for five actors and the second for 8 voices. Joris Lacoste offers a new version of the latter in a contemporary and electronic listening format.
Conceived as a kind of musical documentary about a poem by Edoardo Sanguineti, this piece of music mixes fragments and allusions to numerous other texts: translations of the Bible, Dante’s ‘Divina Commedia’, Goethe’s ‘Faust’, Karl Marx’s ‘The Communist Manifesto’ and Friedrich Engels, and pieces of text by Roland Barthes.
A theater of the ear
In this new stage version, Joris Lacoste fully brings to the fore what Berio called a ‘theater of the ear’ and which he defined as a type of performance in which theatricality is internally generated through vocal expression. In the words of Joris Lacoste: “There are no characters as such, let alone a plot or argument. The sentences themselves, the words and the voices, all amplified, are the real protagonists of the piece. The language(s) is the whole story, from A to Z (Z = ‘Ronne ‘). It is theater of the mind.”
Live version with electronics and headphones, exploring different listening modes
Equipped with wireless headphones, the spectator hears a version of ‘A-Ronne’, supplemented by an electroacoustic prologue composed by Sébastien Roux. “This piece, lasting 20 minutes, places the spectator in a radio-like listening situation that ultimately leads him, almost by chance, to a live rebroadcast of Berio’s piece, exploring the ambiguities between voice and electronics, amplified voices or voices that resounding in the room, voices playing in the headphones or ‘leaking’ through the headphones.” (Joris Lacoste)
Unconventional performance locations
“The performance is not intended for traditional theaters, but rather for large spaces such as empty warehouses or underground parking garages: listening through headphones allows large distances between audience and singers, but also between the singers themselves. The idea is to investigate the difference between what is heard (the same for everyone) and what is seen (depending on the movements of each person). The mobility of the singers and the conductor will allow to play choreographic games of appearing, disappearing, coming together and breaking up, all in function from Berio’s score.” (Joris Lacoste)