After forty years of touring globally as a professional singer and violinist, it has become my dream to open a small vocal school in Rhinebeck, NY. Over the years I have received many invitations to teach. Now I am ready to make this the focus of my work. Through my experiences offering workshops and mentoring students one on one, I know teaching to be immensely gratifying for both my students and me. I believe in the freedom of the voice, and of using the voice as a tool for expressing our deepest needs and desires. I have worked with children and adults, professional singers and people who have never sung before. It would be my goal to create a school that welcomes people from all different backgrounds, including families and those who are unable to pay the full tuition.

As the school grows it would be bring me great joy to invite musicians I have met from around the world to share their expertise as guest teachers. At first, the curriculum will take its focus with the Moravian, Slovak and Roma folk melodies that have been central to my music. In addition, my teaching will emphasize free expression, improvisation, and connection with nature.

In the woods, we will be in direct relationship with nature, listening and responding to birds, trees, wind, and rain. As a musician working in folk traditions, living in harmony with and paying close attention to the sights and sounds of the woods has always been a crucial component to my personal and professional inspiration. The woods are a place of deep rest, guidance, and creativity. My workshops will invite students to participate in this process of careful observation – both of their surroundings and of themselves. I believe singing to be a potential path toward personal growth and healing through self-exploration and expression, and that the positive vibrations of song have the potential to create profound shifts in individuals and their communities.

Iva Bittová

Iva Bittová

BIOGRAPHY

I was born in 1958 in Bruntál in northern Moravia in what was then Czechoslovakia and nowadays the Czech Republic. My mother Ludmila was a pre-school teacher who spent most of her life with her family; my father Koloman Bitto (Bittová is the surname’s female form) was a musician strongly influenced by the land of his birth: southern Slovakia. His main instruments were string bass, cimbalom, guitar, and trumpet. This exceptional ability to play almost any instrument he laid his hands on, whether performing in classical or folk music styles, proved a major influence on his three daughters as they grew up. Both my sisters, the older Ida and younger Regina, are professional drama and music performers. . . .

I attended drama pre-school, specializing in violin and ballet. In due course I gained admittance to the Music Conservatory in Brno, often called the Czech Republic’s second city. I graduated in the drama-music program. During my studies I took part-time engagements as an actress and musician in Brno’s Divadlo Husa na provázku (Goose On A String Theater). Around this time I was also featured as an actress in radio, TV, and movie productions. Later on, while working full time in theater, I re-kindled my interest in playing the violin, an instrument I had set aside in my younger years. After my father’s early death, I decided to follow in his professional footsteps as an instrumentalist and by composing my own music. In 1982, I started studying with Professor Rudolf Šťastný, the first violinist of the Moravian String Quartet. In the intervening years the violin has become my life’s passion and the most inspiring musical instrument in my professional life. I firmly believe that, as playing the violin places extreme demands on musicians, the composer’s work depends utterly on commitment and diligence.

After living in the countryside near Brno for 17 years, I decided to relocate my personal and professional life to the United States. In the summer of 2007, I settled amid the splendors of nature in upstate New York. I shared my Hudson Valley home with my younger son Antonín (born 1991), also a dedicated musician and another chip off the Bitto block, who is these days in music program at Irvine University for his masters and PhD degree. Older son Matous lives in Czech Republic.

In 2015 I finished my studies at the Academy of Ancient Music/Musicology at the Masaryk University in Brno and received a bachelor's degree and in February 2018 I received my masters degree. Since 1985 I have released 37 CD recordings.

Selected achievements in music:

  • Several records in the Czech music charts
  • Record of the Year 1988 – Bittová & Fajt (1987) by Panton Publishing Co., (Czechoslovakia)
  • Four awards from the Czech Musical Academy for Record of the Year
  • Several awards from the Czech Musical Academy for Singer of the Year
  • Winner of the 2006 Brno-Top 100 Chart as Personality of the Year and following other years until 2017
  • Live performances at national state ceremonies, such as the 1999 Hrad performance with the Škampa Quartet for President Václav Havel and such guests as George W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, and Margaret Thatcher.

Collaborations with other musicians: Antonín Fajt, Fred Frith, Bill Frisell, Bang on a Can All Stars, Bobby McFerrin, Calder Quartet, David Krakauer, David Moss, Don Byron, Vladimír Václavek, Paolo Angeli, Ethel Quartet, Fred Frith, Tom Cora, George Mraz, Hamid Drake, Jiří Stivín, Philharmonic Orchestra: Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Cleveland; Lelky – girl chorus, Lisa Moore, Marc Ribot, Marek Eben, Marek Štryncl, Miloš Štědroň, Miloš Valent, Netherlands Blazers Ensemble, Pavel Fajt, Phil Milton, Pierre Favre, Richard Müller, Solamente Naturali, Susumu Yokota, Škampa Quartet, Vladimír Godár, Timothy Hill, David Rothenberg, Michael Bisio, Pauline Oliveros, Mucha Quartet,...

Throughout human history the voice has been a carrier of knowledge and tradition, an accompaniment to courtship, child-rearing, manual labor and ritual, and the clearest indicator of the bearerʼs spiritual state. Around the world these factors have led to myriad modes of expression. At Žingora School of Voice we dig beneath the surface of styles to uncover the individualʼs truest embodiment of their own voice.

Timothy Hill

Timothy Hill

BIOGRAPHY

In a uniquely satisfying musical synthesis, singer/composer Timothy Hill weaves a natural purity of voice with threads of otherworldly abstract sound, blending seamlessly into a style that defies description.

Having performed with such diverse artists as John Cage, Bill Frisell, Jeff Buckley, Allen Ginsberg, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Pauline Oliveros, Iva Bittova, Madan Gopal Singh, and Brooklyn Raga Massive, Hill's musical explorations span the genres of folk, jazz, world music, contemporary classical and improvisation.

As a member of David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir, he was a pioneer in the art of harmonic singing, prompting The New York Times critic Robert Palmer to praise Hill as "a virtuoso of the Tibetan chanting technique." . . .

Hill performed on eight recordings by David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir, including their seminal work, Hearing Solar Winds. Hill has released three recordings of his original songs - This Bright World, The Human Place, and Spirit's Body. He contributed to the Grammy nominated spoken word with music collection Pete Seeger: The Storm King, Vol. 1 & 2.

Hill has been a visiting lecturer on voice at NYU, Dartmouth College, University of Minnesota, and Bard College Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program under the direction of Dawn Upshaw.