Soharóza – founded in 2008 – is an experimental choir led by Dóra Halas. As a collective we have been playing and working with the human voice, different tones and timbres, sounds of the human body and of the surrounding space, creating unique, uncategorizable performances. Our ars poetica is collective composing where the members are not only performers, but co-creators of each performance. The common interest for us all involves the formation and perception of sounds in an extraordinary manner, be it choral improvisation or sound-choreography, resulting in unusual performances. (Check out the project archive page.)
The repertoire is constantly growing as we often think and create together with artists from a wide range of fields: a performance inspired by desserts by Hungarian gastro-blogger Zsófi Mautner, Spanish civil war marches at a Robert Capa exhibition, collaboration with bands of different styles, reciting poems collectively in tuxedos on the stage of the Franz Liszt Music Academy, just to mention a few examples. As a result of experiments with cross-disciplinary forms, our first catwalk-concert, ‘Taboo Collection’, was created in 2016 as a joint project with costume designer Fruzsina Nagy, followed by ‘The Issue’ in 2018.
We are also attracted to extreme venues. We have sung in caves, abandoned factory buildings, old Turkish baths and courts of apartment blocks in Budapest. We have performed at the biggest theatre and music festivals in Hungary, the Budapest State Opera House, at the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin and at an international choir competition in Macedonia.
The choir was named after a 9-month-old baby girl – Róza Soha –, who is still our conductor’s neighbour to this day.
DÓRA HALAS, DLA
Dr. Dóra Halas is a music conductor, pedagogist and collective choral composer, who works with ensembles – both amateur and professional –, choirs and theatre companies to produce brand new music for each performance. She uses and deconstructs already existing music from around the world, writes her own minimalist compositions, but most of all embraces the ideas and concepts coming from the group members themselves through her own methods of collective brainstorming, improvisation and musical construction.
Dóra Halas (b. 1978) spent her childhood in Syria, Cyprus and Hungary – hence her openness to the different cultures and people of the world. She received her first master degree majoring in English Language and Linguistics at the ELTE University of Budapest, then gained a master degree in Choral Conducting and Music Teaching at the Budapest Music Academy, and also a DLA (Doctor of Liberal Arts) title specializing in choral improvisation. After working with traditional choirs and receiving international prizes (she is holder of the renowned Hungarian conductor's prize, the Rezső Lantos Award), she moved onto a more experimental field. The ensembles she founded all revolve around her newly developed methodology of collective choral composing (which she likes to call KOMP). Her current and most successful ensemble – her biggest and craziest hobby – is Soharóza, who have premiered innovative performances, fusing different arts and genres. Her aim is to make performers into actual creators of a project on all levels under her direction. She has worked several times as a musician in theatre plays too and is the director of the two Soharóza catwalk-concerts together with Fruzsina Nagy, currently working on their next piece to be premiered in Luzern, Switzerland.
Dóra Halas also applies the KOMP methods in her work with children: together with her colleague Fanni Eckhardt, their aim at KISKOMP is to teach music and sing with children with absolute freedom and no judgement. Her workshops for adults of all levels also revolve around the notion of creativity, openness, freedom and playfulness:
KOMP WORKSHOP: Playing around with Collective Choral Composing techniques
A Systematic World of Accidental Sounds and Movement or
An Accidental World of Systematic Sounds and Movements? or
A World Sound of Movement and Accidental Systems…??? or ...
Choral improvisation and collective choral composing – the first question that comes to mind in connection with these expressions is how it is at all possible to produce spontaneous music with a whole group of singers, even large masses. This workshop offers different recipes for such activities: musical games that allow participants to piece together the fundamental elements of singing, vocal and body sounds to produce musical moments that surprise both the performer and the audience.
Music composing is a serious thing, but if you do it with a group a people, then it all becomes just a huge game for everyone. Dóra Halas plays together with the participants spontaneously, trying to open up their perception of music in general and to free their body and way of singing. The games can be used as simple exercises in the different fields of music – pedagogy, therapy, performance – for development of creativity, listening, concentration, collective sound, stage presence, collaboration with the other members and so on, but can also be further elaborated to form actual concert material.
+ SOHARÓZA CLOUD: Soharóza Cloud is a project-based collective that works in cooperation with the Soharóza core team. During the past few years we have reached the limit of the number of our permanent singers, yet we were coerced to decline interesting projects due to lack of time and capacity. Members of the brand new SR Cloud are now here to help us out in such situations. We reach out to them when we are missing singers for a project or at times when we have several shows running parallel. The team is still juvenile, but we strive to create a close symbiosis between the members of the Core and the Cloud.