The San Francisco based vocal ensemble Euouae was founded in 2010 by Sven Edward Olbash on the belief that music, being made of sound, cannot be written down any more than one can make a flat map of the Earth.
Taking its name from the 10th century scribe’s shorthand for the Latin “Glory be to the Father…” (“…et in saecula saeculorum, amen”), Euouae performs Medieval and Renaissance polyphony in the context of the Gregorian chant from which it developed, using 1,000 year old manuscripts and innovative rehearsal techniques to recreate the ecstatic spontaneity of pre-notational performing traditions.
Euouae members have sung with American Bach Soloists, AVE, Philharmonia Chorale, Chanticleer, Pacific Collegium, Volti, Schola SF, Clerestory, M6, California Bach Society, Josquin Singers, Chalice Consort, and SF Renaissance Voices, as well as some of the finest church choirs in the Bay Area.
Sven Edward Olbash
Artistic director Sven Edward Olbash began his musical career as a specialist in avant-garde and experimental vocal music, making his San Francisco professional recital debut at Old First Concerts in a program of all 20th century works as a tribute to his late mentor, composer and fellow Lynn, MA native Daniel Pinkham. During his four seasons as a member of new music ensemble Volti, Olbash performed works by over 50 living composers—including 20 world premieres—and worked with Per Nørgård as soloist in his Wie ein Kind at the Other Minds Festival.
As organist and music director for San Francisco’s Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires from 2005-2012, he established the concert series Music at the French National Church, applying his experience with new music to the performance of Renaissance polyphony, approaching this early repertoire not as historical artifact, but as it might have been experienced by the first interpreters of the then “new” music. His work with the choirs of NDV led them to be invited to perform music of Lassus and Gregorian chant at La Sainte Trinité in Paris.
In 2008, he recorded the Gregorian chant album Blessed is the Ordinary with the Vermont-based Stepping Stone Chant Project, sparking a two year intensive study of the pre-notational performance practice of Medieval music. This led to the formation of the vocal ensemble Euouae in 2010 and their sold-out inaugural performance of the Messe de Tournai, the oldest surviving polyphonic setting of the Mass to be collected under one cover.
As the choirs of NDV began to perform more and more concerts every year, and in the interest of bringing his work with Euouae to a wider community, Olbash established the Lacuna Arts Workshop and Ensemble in 2012 in order to “promote excellence in vocal music through performance, education, outreach, and community service.”
Olbash holds degrees in voice performance and vocal pedagogy from Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music. His stage directing credits include Handel’s Xerxes at NEC as well as assisting director Colin Graham in the East Coast premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight at Boston Lyric Opera. He has been a clinician with SF Choral Society, Piedmont Choirs and SF Lyric Opera, leading sessions on music history, theory, singing technique, and French diction; and is a Teaching Artist with San Francisco Opera’s ARIA program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Circus Center, a nonprofit circus training school in San Francisco.