Arkora is an electric vocal chamber consort dedicated to blurring lines between the music of our time and masterworks from the ancient repertoire. With music described as “an experience of deep and darkling beauty” (The Austin Chronicle), “simply beautiful” (newmusicbuff.com), and “the standout event of Vancouver’s spring music season” (The Vancouver Observer), the group has in its first six years of existence quickly set a standard for next-level performances and innovative productions. As the brainchild of directors Kathleen Allan and Benton Roark, the group was conceived in 2012 in Vancouver at the premiere of Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge, a production that came to symbolize the ensemble’s broad vision and distinct hybrid sound. Their official debut was in 2014 at Newfoundland’s Sound Symposium, and since then they have offered performances in Brooklyn, Austin, and Vancouver in association with Ear Heart Music, Church of the Friendly Ghost, Fugue Theatre, and Redshift Music. Arkora’s debut CD, Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge, was produced by Benton Roark and released on Redshift Records in 2015 and nominated for a 2016 WCMA for Composition of the Year.
The past two seasons have seen the development of Transfigured Light, a project which explores microtonal vocal music of both the Renaissance and the present day. Featuring collaborations with theorists, instrument builders, and visual artists and seven new commissions by composers from USA, , Canada, and China, this project was called a “seasonal benchmark” by The Vancouver Observer. Upcoming activities include a recording and cross-Canada tour of Transfigured Light, the launch of Mystics, Prophets, Poets, a project exploring connections between Carnatic music, jazz, and music of the Middle Ages, and Cloud Chamber, a collaborative composition project between a chamber group of Arkora composer-performers during the Covid-19 pandemic. These projects, as with all of Arkora’s initiatives, reflect a commitment to working with artists from diverse backgrounds and practices.
Arkora is run by co-artistic directors Kathleen Allan and Benton Roark.