We had a great time hangin out behind Bob Boilen’s undersized desk a few weeks ago. The first tune, Wally Gunn’s The Fence is Gone, is featured on our forthcoming album along with the third track, Brad Wells’s Otherwise. In the middle, an old favorite, Rinde Eckert’s Cesca’s View.
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Because we can’t contain ourselves, and because of our love for New Music USA, we want to share a small rough cut off the new album with you guys. It’s a track William Brittelle wrote for us during our 2012 residency called High Done No Why To. We’re really stoked about it. Hope you enjoy.
roomful of teeth
Hello from Vermont!
And hello from the second leg of our fall tour here on the East Coast. If you missed us at MASS MoCA this past August, well, we missed you, too. But if you’re nearby in the next couple weeks, please do come say hello. After tonight in Burlington, we’ll be headed through Williamstown down to North Carolina (Greenville and Carrboro) and then back up to DC for a couple days.
Later in October we’ll be giving the NY premiere of Sam Amidon’s Hiram Stamper on the 21st. We’re looking forward to sharing this piece with a larger audience after the initial premiere last month at MASS MoCA. Hiram Stamper is a piece inspired by shape note singing, Arthur Doyle, and John Coltrane.
Also on the bill will be Caroline’s Partita, Brad’s Render and Rinde Eckert’s I Have Stopped the Clocks. Tickets are limited but you can call 212.721.6500 to get more details.
In the meantime we’re hoping to get some recordings from the residency up soon. So check back in a bit for that.
roomful of teeth
Two weeks ago, we gathered at Sessions Two Recording Studio in Brooklyn, NY to lay down the tracks for our second album showcasing new music by Sarah Kirkland Snider, William Brittelle, Wally Gunn, Missy Mazzoli, Caleb Burhans, ensemble member Eric Dudley and founder/artistic director Brad Wells. It’s finally off to post production and we can’t wait to share it with you all next spring!
Currently, we’re nearly finished with our fifth residency here at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. We spent last week working with two amazing teachers and performers on Persian and Hindustani music.
Warren Senders, our Hindustani coach, is an internationally recognized vocalist, composer and performer who has studied and rendered Hindustani music for over 30 years. Sepideh Raissadat, a world-renowned ethnomusicologist, singer and instrumentalist, coached us on Persian classical singing.
This week has been focused on writing and workshopping new music with three exceptional composers, pianist and just intonation expert Michael Harrison, Bang on a Can co-director Julia Wolfe and singer/songwriter Sam Amidon.
More updates to come from the beautiful Berkshires and beyond as the season progresses.
roomful of teeth
Roomful of Teeth is a vocal octet dedicated to re-imagining singing in the 21st century. Through study with vocal masters from non-classical traditions all over the world, Roomful of Teeth continually expands their vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an on-going commissioning project, invites today’s brightest composers to create new music without borders. The project’s aim is to mine the expressive potential of the human voice by embracing the fullest span of vocal styles and to build a new repertoire of vocal music based on this vision.
Since its inception in December, 2008, the ensemble has completed four summer residencies. Its singers have learned and performed pieces incorporating the techniques of yodeling, belting, Tuvan throat singing, Inuit throat singing, Korean P’ansori, Sardinian cantu a tenore, and Georgian singing styles. Commissioned composers include Rinde Eckert, Judd Greenstein, Caleb Burhans, Merrill Garbus (of tUnE-yArDs), William Brittelle, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Missy Mazzoli.
In addition, ensemble members are encouraged to compose for the group. Group member Caroline Shaw won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Composition for her work Partita, which was performed and recorded by Roomful of Teeth on New Amsterdam Records.
Roomful of Teeth’s Grammy winning first album (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance) was released in October, 2012 to great critical acclaim: “[I]t will send an unnameable thrill down your spine” (Pitchfork); “fiercely beautiful, and bravely, utterly exposed” (NPR); “the future of vocal music” (WQXR). WNYC’s Soundcheck chose it as Album of the Year.
Teeth has performed at Merkin Hall, (les) Poisson Rouge, Town Hall (Seattle), Carlsbad Music Festival (California), among others. The group has led vocal technique workshops, master classes, improv-based workshops, and concerts at colleges, elementary and high schools, and community centers. They will be spotlighted at the International Federation of Choral Music symposium in Seoul, Korea in early August, 2014 (one of only three American vocal ensembles invited).
In mid-August, 2014, Roomful of Teeth will hold its fifth residency at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. There the group will study with masters of Hindustani and Persian singing styles — Warren Senders and Sepideh Raissadat — and will work with three spectacular composers — just intonation specialist, pianist and composer Michael Harrison, singer/songwriter Sam Amidon, and Bang on a Can co-director Julia Wolfe — to create new pieces incorporating these and other singing techniques. Along the way, the group will sponsor open rehearsals and end the residency with a concert premiering the new works alongside previous commissions.
Also in mid-August, the group will gather to record its second album on the New Amsterdam label. After the acclaim their debut album received the group is excited to share more of its remarkable repertoire.
The unparalleled sounds of Roomful of Teeth at the service of uniquely moving compositions created for the group by outstanding composers has thrilled audiences. We have begun to fulfill our mission of creating a new repertoire of music using the world’s rich vocabulary of singing styles and techniques. We can’t wait to continue this journey and reach new audiences.
This is the second part of Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer-winning “Partita.” It was written during the third Roomful of Teeth residency at MASS MoCA and makes persistent use of a vocal gesture from Korean p’ansori singing (which the ensemble studied that summer). The delicate ornamentation in the men’s parts was inspired by Georgian singing traditions, another technique Roomful of Teeth studied in 2011.
Amid the Minotaurs features Roomful of Teeth singing in both classical and pop/jazz vocal modes. In addition, a heavy Inuit throat singing-style groove adds strong rhythmic propulsion to several passages. The work reaches its climax when alto Virginia Warnken (at 4:54) belts “there is no subtlety in death…” The work was written during the second MASS MoCA residency (2010) and recorded in fall of 2011. It is one of three works written by William Brittelle for the ensemble.
Recorded live in concert at the conclusion of Roomful of Teeth’s fourth summer residency at MASS MoCA in 2012, Otherwise features the group’s most recently studied vocal tradition: Sardinian ‘cantu a tenore’ singing (in the ‘bim-bom’ groove starting at about 1:10). This supports melodic material shared between a trio of belting women and Dashon Burton using western bel canto technique.
Start and End Dates
08/01/2014 — 06/30/2015
North Adams, Massachusetts
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