Baird Hersey Baird Hersey

Founder, Prana Ensemble; NEA Fellow

Baird Hersey is a National Endowment for the Arts Composition Fellow. He is best known for his vocal ensemble Prana. Hersey's composing is a unique blend of traditional western vocal music and the music of India, Tibet, Mongolia, Bulgaria, and Georgia, with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonics. Hersey has recorded 12 albums under his own name, and recorded or performed with Krishna Das, Wah!, Steve Smith (Journey), Doane Perry (Jethro Tull), Graham Parker, and Aine Minogue. He has received commissions from Harvard University, New York State Council for the Arts, New Mexico Council for the arts, The Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Sound and Light Spectacular, the Public theater, Meet the Composer, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and performances throughout the US and Europe in such different settings as the Berlin Jazz Festival and MTV. He studied Ashtanga Yoga for 9 years with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in the US and Mysore India. Baird is the author of The Practice of Nada Yoga, Meditation on the Inner Secret Sound (2012, Inner Traditions).


The perfection of harmonic vibration relaxes the body, focus the mind, and opens the hear. This class introduces Natural Voice Harmonic Singing techniques and explores Our Higher Voice. When the mouth and throat are shaped into a resonant chamber for the voice, a second beautiful high whistling harmonic tone is produced. This is how Tibetan Buddhist monks and Mongolian throat singers both, with their low and gravely sustained tone, sing two or more pitches at once. These age-old sacred musical forms are the roots from which Natural Voice Harmonic Singing has grown. By applying the fundamental techniques of these ancient vocalizations it is possible to sing a regular pitch and add a mellifluous harmonic tone above it. Through playful exploration and singing meditations, students will be able to deepen their listening and develop their Harmonic Voice. Techniques include: Focusing harmonics through vowel production; Filtering harmonics by tongue shaping and placement; Sharpening your external and internal listening; Breath control and expansion; Understanding the Harmonic Series.

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