Majel Connery is a vocalist, composer, ex-opera singer, and recovering musicologist. Most recently, her vocal compositions appeared in the Radiolab series, "Gonads," where she wrote songs about porn and periods. She performs & records as one half of Bay Area duo Hae Voces (with Kristina Dutton), with NYC-based composer-performer collective Oracle Hysterical, and as a solo artist. Her solo EP, Anything Chartreuse, a book of vocoder sonnets, debuted May 2019.
With past lives as an opera singer, yoga teacher, and a musicologist, vocalist & composer Majel Connery combines roots in classical opera with a devil-may-care embrace of influences from pop to indie-rock. Most recently Majel wrote and performed music for 5 episodes of the WNYC podcast Radiolab’s “Gonads” series, including a Radiolab Live performance at NYU’s Skirball Center.
Former New York Times critic Steve Smith favorably compared her voice to Shara Nova/My Brightest Diamond and Joanna Newsom; Peter Margasak, writing for Bandcamp Daily, describes her vocals as “expertly drawing upon a wide swath of approaches—British folk, madrigal, art rock.” Majel’s writing is influenced primarily by a random assortment of cassette tapes in her parents’ boombox circa 1982, which explains a compositional style that can sound simultaneously like Elvis Costello and Schubert (the Wall Street Journal actually said that). In opera circles, she is best known as Artistic Director for avant-garde opera company, Opera Cabal (2007-2018), whose premiere of G.F. Haas’s ATTHIS at The Kitchen (with ACME) was described as “one of the most … searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times (New York Times).
Majel left a music assistant professorship at UC Berkeley in 2015, had an early mid-life crisis, and launched a new career as a solo artist with a focus on generating her own work. Since then, as Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford (2017), she commissioned and performed Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw’s “Contriving the Chimes,” written for Majel and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and staged by opera director Christopher Alden. In 2016, as Mellon Visiting Artist at Wellesley, she commissioned and performed Aeolus, a throat-singing rock opera by Rome- and Berlin Prize-winning composer Ken Ueno. Majel appears most frequently as one half of Bay Area vocals/violin duo Hae Voces (with Kristina Dutton). She is currently co-teaching a "Voice" seminar with poet Jeff Dolven at Princeton University. As restless as her music, Majel is bi-coastal, based in NYC and Berkeley, CA.
“…dreamy art pop with the sensitivity and nuance of classical music.”
“…uninflected and vibrato-free, alternately borrowing from the interpretive sophistication of jazz or musical theater and the deliberate naivete of folk-rock.”
—Wall Street Journal