Octarium is an exceptionally talented ensemble with stunning voices, synergy and stage presence to spare
Lee Hartman - KC Metropolis
The vocal octet Octarium, based in Kansas City, has gained a national reputation for performances suffused with what composer Morton Lauridsen called, “stunning artistry combined with an absolutely beautiful blending of voices.” Composer Stephen Hatfield raves, “Octarium’s ability to change the nuance of their tone and timbre without disrupting the flow of the music enables them to pack their performances with riches without ever over-reaching for their effects.” At each presentation, Octarium offers the polished choral sonority and embodiment of the philosophy, “Eight Singers, One Voice” for which the ensemble has become well-known and respected.
The group has produced four finely-crafted recordings. The self-titled debut was released in 2006. Hodie (2007) is a selection of sacred and secular holiday music. Essentials (2008) is a collection of a cappella music all lovers of the choral art should know. Essentials is designed for students who are learning to love the art as well as former students who want to be reminded how beautiful choral music can be. Modern Masters (2009) includes music of living composers chosen for Octarium by the composers themselves. Modern Masters was designed to highlight overlooked choral works and help them find their way into the choral music lexicon; find their way into history.
Octarium was founded in 2003 by Krista Lang Blackwood, the current artistic director. As the director of choirs at a large Kansas City church, Blackwood hired eight section leaders to support her choral program in 2001. As the program developed, the section leaders formed an octet to provide music at special liturgies. As the octet rehearsed and performed together, a remarkable thing began to happen: musical synergy. The singers began to read each other’s minds; taking unplanned breaths together, phrasing identically and beautifully without discussing it first and creating impromptu choral dynamics in rehearsal and performance. This kind of artistry inspired Blackwood to expand beyond the walls of the church. Octarium produced a subscription season, performed at the national American Choral Directors Association convention and initiated an educational outreach program.
Octarium is Latin for “Eight as One,” and the name defines our mission: Eight Singers, One Choral Voice.
Octarium is committed to fostering and promoting the development and appreciation of the art of choral music through innovative and engaging programming, seeking to inspire, enlighten and educate.