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May 6, 2013

Eric Banks: Esoterics founder an explorer of new vocal worlds

Seattle Times (WA):

Listen to the opening notes of Seattle composer-conductor Eric Banks’ “The Seven Creations,” and you’ll sense instinctively that you’re hearing something both ancient and utterly new. Banks’ 73-minute “a cappella opera” is an astonishing work, and part of its wonder stems from its blending of some of the oldest known melodies in the world with a contemporary choral sensibility.

Much of its thematic material derives from the “Gathas,” Zoroastrian hymns first sung between 3,500 and 4,000 years ago. The text, which describes the world’s creation, destruction and restoration, is in Avestan, a sacred dialect given a written form in the 6th or 7th century A.D. by Zoroastrian priests.

At this point, you may be asking: Avestan? Zoroastrianism? A cappella opera ... ? How much more esoteric can things get?

The question is apt, for the adventurous choral group that premieres and records Banks’ work is called The Esoterics. They’re celebrating their 20th anniversary this season and, in a city that’s teeming with sophisticated choral concert fare, The Esoterics have their own particular niche. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at May 6, 2013 12:00 AM