I have been bringing new vocal works to life for over 30 years.
In my world, no feeling or sound is off limits. The human voice is a miracle of nature, unconstrained by rules that make one type of sound preferable over another. As human beings, we have an infinity of sounds at our disposal, but most singers only partake of a very narrow range of what is available to them.
My world is a rich and resonant one, full of sounds that I intuitively connect to underlying emotions and the stories they can tell us. From improvisation to electro-acoustics to extended vocalization and new opera, I have an insatiable curiosity for the never ending potential of the voice.
My performances often explore challenging contemporary issues, the dark side of human existence, mythology, legend, folklore. From dragging chains across the stage to lying naked under a diaphanous chiffon to inhabiting the haunted visions a mythological creature, I am compelled to present works that are both visually and musically evocative.
In my work, I often explore the music of other cultures, the lives of influential women, the difficult stories of the culture in which I live – hard topics that allow the audience to reflect, access deep emotion, and ponder the meaning of their own existence.
My ultimate goal is to be an ambassador for the soul of the music, without judgment or preconceived notions as to what is or is not relevant. I embrace aesthetically beautiful sounds, but I do not shy away from what some would perceive as harsh or ugly. I am constantly exploring new ways of using the voice, allowing the music to show me how to sing it. I wish to be as diverse and open to the voices potential and flexibility as I can and in cooperation with the audience to inspire, communicate, amuse, engage and captivate.
Janice Isabel Jackson – Soprano, Contemporary Music Specialist, Producer, Vocal Instructor – Coach
Janice Isabel Jackson has sung over 200 world premieres, many works written specifically for her, and performed with contemporary music ensembles and in concert halls around the world – Beijing, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Torino, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Berlin, Johannesburg, Cape Town and more. She has appeared in countless contemporary music festivals including the November Festival (Ghent), Wien Modern (Vienna), Ludwigs Lust (Hamburg), The Proms (Amsterdam), IRCAM (Paris), Big Torino 2000 (Turin), the Diem Festival of Electro-acoustic music (Denmark), and the Scotia Festival of Music (Nova Scotia). She is also the Artistic Director of the Halifax based contemporary vocal music society Vocalypse Productions, through which she has produced many new works including: Vonda de Ville in Temporal Follies (2008) by Lukas Pearse, a melodrama in which she sang and acted the role of Vonda de Ville, a jazz opera by New York’s D.D. Jackson entitled Trudeau: Long March / Shining Path (2009) singing the role of Margaret Trudeau, 3 new mini operas entitled HOWL (2013) based on Ginsberg’s famous rant, Miss Fortune’s Portmanteau (2014), a one hour show concerning women from Victorian Halifax, as well as Tim Brady’s new opera Ghost Tango (2015) for 2 singers and electric guitar.
During the 2010 – 2011 Season she premiered 2 works written my Montreal’s Tim Brady: a melodrama entitled “15 Stages in the Search for Radium and Love” about the life of Marie Curie with Victoria’s Aventa Ensemble and 7 songs entitled “We’re Hardcore” based on texts by the Tragically Hip’s Gordon Downie with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. During Oscillations 2012, she premiered a mini opera by Anna Pidgorna entitled Mirror Mirror for voice and electronics as well as Jerome Blais’ Dremlen feygl with Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain and reprised her performance of Tim Brady’s “We’re Hardcore” during the Scotia Festival of Music. In 2015 she premiered Jerome Blais’ Songs for Milena with the Symphony Nova Scotia. She can be heard on many CD’s, including Live Wired (2015), on which she premiered (Un)Forgotten Voices (first prize in Concours Collégien de musique contemporaine) by Jerome Blais.
During her career she has been the recipient of many grants including professional development grants through Arts Nova Scotia and a long term project grant through The Canada Council. She recently spent 5 weeks at the Banff Arts Centre as a musician in residence. She has received recognition for her contribution Nova Scotian culture from The Honorable Myra A. Freeman, Lieutenant Governor, as well as an Established Artist Award through Arts Nova Scotia.
Future projects include: The role of Mona Parsons in Sandy Moore’s new opera Escape to Freedom; 3 new solo programs including Protest, a program of 5 pieces with voice and electronics and / or sound score highlighting various protests and social / environmental issues around the globe; solo program entitled Show Off featuring some of the most challenging works of contemporary music, highlighting the vast array sounds which the voice is capable of and the deep emotional connection which sound elicits; program of 4 mini operas entitled Echoes of Time – Saga, Tales and Myth, which encompasses 4 decades of music, most written for Jackson, and include mythological tales from Japan, Greece, Mexico, and Denmark.
Her performances bring out the beauty of contemporary vocal repertoire. Music Weekly, Beijing, China
Janice Jackson as a singer alone is top class. Jackson has daring and an exceptional talent. Brabants Dagblad, Netherlands
Music can move you. Listening to the singing of Janice Jackson brought to me a sense of sorrow. Sadness that came from the realization that such intense music making is seldom experienced and so very worthwhile. De Limburger, Netherlands
Soprano Janice Jackson gave a literally breathtaking performance of Luciano Berio’s Sequenze III. In a few minutes time we not only heard a vast array of possibilities of the human voice, but also of emotions. Stad Amersfoort, Netherlands
Janice Jackson garnered much admiration for her interpretation of Heppener’s Candens (1990). Trouw, Netherlands
Jackson’s performance was extraordinary – there were a couple of occasions when I would have sworn there were two people singing – and totally mesmerizing. Music in Victoria, Deryk Barker
… a tour-de-force of the highest order. I doubt there is another singer in Canada who can for so long grip our attention in a chemical-like bond as Jackson does. The Halifax Chronicle Herald[Berio’s] music still sets the standard for extended vocal techniques but Janice Jackson can meet that standard proudly.
…a crystal-cracking voice of astonishing purity. The Halifax Chronicle Herald
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Rupert Holmes
June 2nd – 25th, 2016 @ 8PM
Theatre Arts Guild, Halifax
Janice Isabel Jackson, director
CMC Atlantic Concert
April 17th, 2016
1313 Hollis Street, Halifax, NS
Janice Isabel Jackson, soprano
Works by Alice Ho, Rick Covey, Leslie Uyede
A NEW play by Emma Leigh Rivera
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Emma Leigh Rivera as Emma
Janice Isabel Jackson as Isabel
Opera From Scratch
August 21st – 28th, 2016
Halifax, Nova Scotia
One week workshop, 6 mini operas
Janice Isabel Jackson
Producer, Director, New Music Coach
Escape to Freedom (workshop)
A NEW opera by Sandy Moore
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Janice Jackson as Mona Parsons
2016 – 2017
A new electro-acoustic / multimedia program
Janice Jackson, soprano
New works by:
Derek Charke and Rachel Devorah Trapp