Skip to content

York celebrates World Voice Day with new research into choir singing

Posted on 11 April 2016

The University of York will mark World Voice Day with an afternoon of free interactive masterclasses and live research on Saturday 16 April.

World Voice Day

World Voice Day is an annual global event designed to celebrate the incredible emotion and power of the voice, demonstrating its importance for communication and expression in our daily lives.

This year, Robert Hollingworth, Anniversary Reader in the University of York’s Department of Music and Director of solo voice ensemble I Fagiolini, will lead a masterclass with students and Barbershop expert Rob Barber, will lead a Barbershop masterclass with guest group Delakate.

Audience participants will contribute to research by voting on how different performances sound, whilst researchers explore different methods of measuring aspects of the performance using bespoke technologies including the Microsoft Kinect.

Dr Helena Daffern, UK National Representative for World Voice Day and Lecturer in York’s Department of Electronics, said: “Singers spend years training to be experts in ensemble singing in order to evoke the ‘wow’ factor for an audience. At World Voice Day, we are lifting the lid on what some of that training involves, demonstrating live how different areas of expertise can be practiced, and how they might be measured using scientific tools.

“Choral singing is a special experience for both performers and audiences; it requires performers to communicate with one another without words, and often without overt physical gestures, to ensure that all the nuances of their performance are perceived as collective rather than individual.

“The interactive masterclasses will highlight the special skills required for effective ensemble singing, and illustrate how scientific methods can be used to understand these techniques.”

Mastering Ensemble Singing: The Science and the Art will take place from 1:30pm - 4pm on 16 April at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York.

Tickets are free and can be booked at:

Further information:

  • For further information about the York World Voice Day event visit:
  • This event is part of a White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities research project ‘Expressive non-verbal communication in Ensemble Performance’, in which researchers at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York explore different aspects of expressive ensemble performance (
  • For more information about World Voice Day 2015, visit:
  • For further information about the University of York’s Department of Electronics, visit:

Media enquiries

Saskia Angenent
Press Officer

Tel: 01904 323918