Photo: Jon Edergren

Freedom to Move: Open Call for Singers

Freedom to Move: Open Call for Singers

Are you a singer? Do you long to experiment and push yourself beyond your comfort zone?

The voice is not only a physical instrument. It is also a cultural and personal one. It reflects the rich tapestry of human diversity. Through our voices we express our individual and collective identities, influenced by the cultural backgrounds that shape us.

Freedom to Move is a workshop for singers organised by Ultima and Sounds Now. The workshop is led by Swedish-Ethiopian contemporary singer, composer and improviser Sofia Jernberg, known for her amazing voice and wide range of singing techniques, across opera, new music,jazz and improvisation.

Workshop participants are invited to a 3-day workshop followed by a concert during Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival. Together with Sofia, the five participants selected for the workshop will explore their voices, the relationship to text and other instruments, collective and individual singing, and the boundaries of musical genres, stretching them towards greater creative and personal freedom. Experimenting and testing boundaries is the common thread: What is our voice capable of?

The presentation will be documented through video, photos and individual interviews, which may be used in Ultima's and Sounds Now’s documentation and promotional material.

Freedom to Move is open to singers from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds:

  • Who are interested in moving outside defined genres
  • Who are interested in improvisation
  • Who want to explore new vocal techniques on the border of language and noise/sound

Singers with limited or no exposure to professional concert stages and music institutions, due to experiences as a minority, socio-economic challenges, or other structural factors, will be prioritised in the selection process.

Knowledge of Western classical notation is not required. 


The dates for the workshop and performance are 11-13 September 2024.
Participants will receive a fee of 5000 kr. Travel expenses within the Nordic region and accommodation will be covered for participants living outside of Oslo. Any other expenses including food and local transport must be covered by the participants.

Application and selection

We would like to know more about you and your motivation for joining. Make a short video of yourself or write a motivation letter explaining why you would like to join the workshop and send it per email, including relevant videos or audio links of you singing, to Torunn Forland Bjella at with ‘Freedom to Move – Ultima 2024’ in the subject line. Deadline is 5 March.

The selection of the candidates will be made by 22 March.


Like some people collect stamps, Sofia Jernberg collects vocal disciplines. Born in Ethiopia, the Sweden-based artist mastered myriad styles – from classical singing to pitchless singing – to accommodate just as many creative fields, namely music theatres, visual art, film, orchestral and & jazz ensembles. Jernberg reconciles the art of improvisation and composition, both under her own name and as a key member of Trondheim Jazz Orchestra.

Ultima has been opening ears and minds through contemporary music and sound-based art since 1991.

Every September, in various venues across the city of Oslo, Norway, we present an intensive ten-day festival featuring orchestral, chamber, instrumental and electronic music concerts, music theatre, opera, sound installations, dance, multimedia, performance art and more.

Sounds Now is an European network composed of comprising nine festivals and music institutions dedicated to contemporary experimental music. Sounds Now aims to actively stimulate inclusion in our professional field and thus open up the capacity and possibility for different experiences, conditions and perspectives in shaping the sonic art that reaches audiences today.

Published Friday, 2 February 2024