Intermezzo – Helena Sorokina


VOICE.ONLY – a very personal voice laboratory by Helena Sorokina, where she explores all possibilities and impossibilities of her voice.

Solitude – the situation of being alone, often by choice. Perhaps it is the only situation when one is confronted with one’s own bare self and one’s own inner voice without a possibility to escape. For some it is a necessary discovery or their safe space, others find it a great challenge, characterized by deep emotionality - both negative (sadness, anger, feelings of injustice) and positive (relief, liberation, joy). It is a time of self-experience. In order to expand the sparse repertoire for a solo alto voice and to join forces with composers for the project VOICE.ONLY: Shades of Solitude, 2020 Helena Sorokina launched a worldwide call. The composers were asked to work on a response to aloneness or solitude (not necessarily loneliness) in their individual way and to process it for the audience.

Numerous composers from a wide range of musical genres have responded to the call and within a very short time have agreed to dress the various facets of being alone in sound language. Until now Helena has been able to perform four editions of this project with more than 50 newly (and exclusively for her voice) written pieces in Austria and Latvia. The performance of this project at New Music Festival Arena in Riga has been honored with the Award of Latvian Radio Klasika as the Surprise of the Year 2022 and was also nominated for Latvian Media Culture Award. VOICE.ONLY is also her tribute to the doctoral program in Artistic Research (Doctor Artium) in the notation of contemporary vocal music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, where she currently holds a position of the Research Assistant.

Internal Supervisors and External Advisors: Antonius Sol (KUG) and Christian Utz (KUG).

Helena Sorokina


Latvian contralto Helēna Sorokina began her musical education with the violin and piano already at the age of 5. She later went on to study choral conducting in her hometown Riga. Helena was studying classical vocal performance and vocal pedagogy and since 2021 continues at the Doctoral School for Artistic Research at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, where she currently holds a position of the Research Assistant.

Her gift of perfect pitch exposes her to contemporary music performance, which has become one of her biggest passions. Notable highlights include world premieres at musikprotokoll im Steirischen Herbst in Graz, Austria: Asteroid 62, opera by Dmitri Kourliandski (2013) and Paradise by Laure M. Hiendl (2016). Since August 2017, Helena is a resident member of the vocal ensemble Cantando Admont and has performed in different festivals and venues namely, Salzburg Festival, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wien Modern, Cologne Philharmonie, Klangspuren Schwaz, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Onassis Center Athens, Munich Biennale and others in countries such as Argentina, Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia and Switzerland. Collaboration with composers Beat Furrer, Klaus Lang, Peter Ablinger, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Thomas Kessler, Gerald Resch, Pia Palme, Elisabeth Harnik, Andris Dzenitis, Gundega Šmite, Feliz Macahis, Zesses Seglias, Hannes Dufek, Laure Hiendl, Dmitri Kourliandski a.o.

2020 she started a new project for an unaccompanied solo voice called VOICE.ONLY, which she premiered at CNMAT of UC Berkeley, California, and further developed into a new concert series in Austria. One of the parts called Shades of Solitude has been dedicated to the exploration of different possibilities of a solo alto voice a cappella. More than 50 new pieces have been written for Helena by different composers around the world. For this project she was awarded with "Surprise of the Year 2022" by Latvian Radio Klasika and nominated for the Latvian Media Culture Award 2022.

Since 2018 Helena has been holding masterclasses and lectures in different topics of the contemporary vocal music at the NUS Yale College (Singapore), University of California Berkeley, University of California Davis, New York University (USA), University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Austria), Conservatory of Terceira (Azores, Portugal), Conservatory of A Coruña (Galicia, Spain) and Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music (Riga, Latvia).

Notable highlights include solo appearances in some of the biggest concert halls in Germany and Austria (e.g., “Die Glocke” Bremen, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Muffathalle Munich, Stefaniensaal Graz) performing alto solo parts in works like Deus passus by Wolfgang Rihm, Messiah by Handel, Christmas oratorio and Magnificat by J.S. Bach, Petite Messe Solenelle by Rossini, Stabat Mater by Haydn, Mozart’s Requiem. As a soloist, Helena has worked e.g., with Hamburger Symphoniker, Thüringen Philharmonie, Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester, Mainzer Staatsorchester, Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt and sung under the baton of e.g. Sylvain Camberling, Jonathan Stockhammer, Sir Roger Norrington, Joshua Rifkin, Beat Furrer, Paolo Paroni, Joshard Daus, Erwin Ortner.

2023 you can hear Helena at Salzburg Festival, Vilnius 700, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Impuls Graz, Klangspuren Schwaz, Wien Modern, ARTikulationen Graz and the Summer festival of the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra among other venues and festivals. She is the director of the 4th edition of the festival SONify! 2023 – festival for music, performing arts and artistic research in Graz, Austria.