Aquava New Music was created by Carmen Helena Téllez and Cary Boyce in 1996, joined by Alain Barker in 2000.
Venezuelan-American conductor, scholar and interdisciplinary artist Carmen-Helena Téllez has been called “a quiet force behind contemporary music in the United States today” by the New York-based journal Sequenza21. She founded Aquava New Music Studio (as Aguavá New Music Studio) in 1996 with composer Cary Boyce. A multifaceted artist, she takes a co-creative approach to new music performance, devoting special attention to vocal-instrumental and staged genres, involving interdisciplinary media and musical scholarship, in an approach that The Washington Post has called “immersing and thrilling.” She advocates for the co-creative role of performers and spectators in the emergence of the art work; and for an expanded understanding of the concept of art music including underrepresented composers and genres. She has lectured on her views for universities in the US, Europe and Latin America, and in a TEDxTalk in 2014.
In her practice, Carmen-Helena Téllez has balanced activities as a creative artist, conductor, scholar, producer and administrator. She carries her research projects in new modes of presentation through the collective Kosmologia Music and Intermedia, also sponsored as a special project of Aquava New Music Studio.
Cary Boyce is artistic co-director and composer-in-residence of Aquava New Music Studio since its foundation in 1996. His music has been heard around the world in concerts and festivals in more than 25 countries, on nationally syndicated public radio and television, and in two films by Prix-de-Rome-winning director Evelyne Clavaud, Aria ou les rumeurs de la Villa Medicís, and her artistic documentary Mandiargues: L’amateur d’imprudence. Boyce’s credits include original music for the soundtrack of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary American Horizons: The Photography of Art Sinsabaugh, also part of the Sinsabaugh exhibit currently touring museums in the United States, and music for Harp Dreams, the PBS documentary on the USA International Harp Competition which won three regional Emmy Awards in 2011, including original music.
His oratorio, Dreams within a Dream, was the subject of a public radio special released in 2004. Boyce’s Ave Maria was featured on the Dale Warland Singers’ Cathedral Classics nationally syndicated radio special, as well as on their concerts in Minnesota. Boyce’s music, often performed by Aguavá New Music Studio, has also been featured on such syndicated shows as Harmonia, Center Stage from Wolftrap, CD-Tipp (Europe), and syndicated on Deutsche Welle. His cantata, Ave Maris Stella, was premiered by Aquava at the International Festival Cervantino in Mexico, and subsequently broadcast throughout Latin America by the BBC. His Hodie Christus natus est premiered at Washington National Cathedral’s 50th anniversary holiday concert, winning the National Young Composers Award. His quartet, Nightshade, was recorded for Aquava by the Corigliano String Quartet. Current projects include The Flower of Departure, a concerto for viola, chorus, and orchestra.
Alain Barker joined Aquava New Music Studio as artistic co-director in the year 2000, as we prepared for our tour of Israel. He has an entrepreneurial career that includes arts organization development, arts policy research, communications and marketing, teaching and performance and joined the Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development of Indiana University’s famous Jacobs School of Music as its founding director in July, 2014.
From 2004-2014, Alain directed Jacobs School of Music marketing and publicity operations. He was executive director of the Bloomington Early Music Festival from 1994-2004. He has also worked as a consultant to the Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia; agent, organizer and publicist for local not-for-profits, concert series and artists; manager of three international tours.
Alain was co-principal flute in the Orchestra of the Asturian Principality, in Oviedo, Spain, and principal flute in the Marion Philharmonic. He has performed in numerous recitals and music festivals around the U.S. and toured across the U.S., as well as to Mexico, Colombia, and Israel. He taught for four years as a visiting lecturer in flute during the Jacobs School’s summer semester.
Alain has served on a number of local board and commissions, including the City of Bloomington Arts Commission, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater Board of Directors, WFIU (Public Radio) Community Advisory Board, and the IU Arts & Humanities Council.
He holds a BM from the University of Cape Town, and an MM and DM from the IU Jacobs School of Music.