Location: Brussels, Belgium

Sotto Voce: Building cultural and musical bridges

The mezzo-soprano Sarah Théry and the pianist Christia Hudziy are driven by the wish to bring classical music to a public who can’t access it because of the social and cultural fracture. Their work led them to give concerts in prisons and they decided to develop it.

The origin of Sotto Voce is the idea that classical music speaks to all, no matter the sex, age, level of education or nationality. Unfortunately, in today’s world, a tremendous fracture is separating social and cultural universes, only a small part of the population has access or feel concerned by symphonic concerts, chamber music or opera. That is why Sarah Théry decided to create Sotto Voce: a project that proposes pedagogical récitals in schools, homeless shelters, hospitals, refugee center. In duets, trios or quartets, the project brings the classical music outside the normal concerts venues in order to meet the new audience, open a dialogue and connect the pieces to our contemporary world.

In November 2017, Sotto Voce gave a concert in the high-security prison of Ittre in Belgium. This powerful experience gave the impulse to push the project further. Indeed, the time frame of a concert was too short to build a sustainable bridge.

In the frame of 2018 Medinea Outreach Programme, Sarah and Christia proposed vocal and musical workshops in prisons: a long-term work for the inmates to rediscover their voice and get acquainted with classical music.

During October 2018, every Friday afternoon, Sotto Voce proposed workshops in the high-security prison of Saint-Gilles: a long-term work for the inmates to rediscover their voice and music. By developing the tools of a singer – posture, breathing, resonance – the inmates were invited to listen to the world with new ears and express themselves with a new voice.

Sotto Voce hopes to develop those workshops to other institutions, especially refugee centers or female prisons.

High-security prison Saint-Gilles – Brussels, Belgium