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part band, part book club –


we turn great stories into unique concerts, weaving
bardic storytelling and baroque pop with the classical avant-garde.

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Oracle Hysterical is a collective of 4 composer-performers: twin brothers Doug Balliett (double bass, viola da gamba) and Brad Balliett (bassoons), Majel Connery (vocals), and Elliot Cole (guitars, vocals, harmonium). Half band, half book club, OH combines eclectic musical influences with literary breadth, adapting great works of literature through the medium of song. OH has created hip-hoperas, art-rock song cycles, rap cantatas, and other genre-bending works all over America and Europe, collaborating with a variety of ensembles to cultivate a unique sound palette for each project.  

Most recently, OH was commissioned by Grammy-nominated ensemble, A Far Cry, to create the orchestral song cycle, Tales of Lapham: The Sea, an adaptation of the "Sea" issue of literary journal, Lapham's Quarterly. Tales of Lapham debuts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston October 6, 2016. Preview performances of Tales were presented at Spectrum (NYC), Omaha Under the Radar Festival (Omaha), and in Chicago at The Hideout and High Concept Labs. OH's first album, "Passionate Pilgrim," will be released on Vision Into Art/Naxos December 2016 (with Ryan Streber, mix engineer). A collaboration with New Vintage Baroque ensemble, "Passionate Pilgrim" sets poetry once thought to be by Shakespeare. OH is also putting the finishing touches on its second album, Hecuba, after the eponymous tragedy by Euripides. Hecuba is commissioned and produced by Opera Cabal (with mix engineers Chris Botta and Alexander Overington). 

In its early years, 2009-11, Oracle Hysterical appeared at the MATA Festival (The Rake, with Metropolis Ensemble), the Berkshire Fringe Festival (Grimms’ Fairy Tales), and at the Lucerne Festival Academy (Billy Budd), where they were Spotlight Artists in 2011. In 2013, vocalist Majel Connery joined the group. The influence of her semi-operatic vocals fired a generation of chamber pop cycles for groups like the Marcel Trio (Afghani folktale "Babinigar") and Washington Square Winds (Grimms' "The Fisherman and his Wife"). OH has also performed at The Stone, Spectrum, Le Poisson Rouge, and National Sawdust in NYC, and at Constellation, The Hideout Inn, and High Concept Laboratories in Chicago. OH will be in residence at Millay Colony in Upstate NY November 2016.


We Have Written



An evening length set of songs inspired by history’s greatest seafarers, found in the literary publication Lapham's Quarterly.

An song cycle that sets poems falsely accredited to Shakespeare.

Psychedelic baroque album based on the tragic play by Euripides.

Based on the folk tales of the Brothers Grimm and the macabre humor found within.

Telescoping one terrifying moment in the mind of Tom Rakewell, the doomed fool from Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress, into a hip hop odyssey.

Inspired by the imaginative materialism of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things).  A history of the world to 2000BCE in 20 minutes.

"A living-room opera on a folktale from Afghanistan.  It's a familiar story to anyone who knows what happened to Cupid & Psyche: a marriage, a breach of trust, and redemption through trials..." - EC


As well as,

Alcestis ( ON Euripides )
BILLY BUDD ( ON Melville )
Lucretia ( ON Shakespeare )
Bonnie Brae Tierkreis ( on Stockhausen )
The Fisherman and His Wife ( on Brothers Grimm)