Roomful of Teeth is a GRAMMY-winning vocal project dedicated to mining the expressive potential of the human voice. Through study with masters from singing traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an ongoing commissioning process, forges a new repertoire without borders.
Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, the group gathers annually at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Massachusetts, where they’ve studied Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, belting, Inuit throat singing, Korean P’ansori, Georgian singing, Sardinian cantu a tenore, Hindustani music and Persian classical singing with some of the world’s top performers and teachers. Commissioned composers include Rinde Eckert, Judd Greenstein, Caleb Burhans, Merrill Garbus (of tUnE-yArDs), William Brittelle, Anna Clyne, Fred Hersch, Wally Gunn, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Missy Mazzoli, Michael Harrison, Sam Amidon, and Ted Hearne.
The project’s self-titled debut album was released in October 2012 on New Amsterdam Records. Called “sensually stunning” by the New York Times, the album topped the classical charts on iTunes and Amazon, broke into the top 10 on the Billboard charts and took home a GRAMMY Award in 2014 for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.
In April, 2013, ensemble member Caroline Shaw received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Partita for 8 Voices, the four movements of which appear on the Roomful of Teeth’s debut album.
Roomful of Teeth’s sophomore album, Render, was released April 2015 on New Amsterdam Records. Dubbed “both beautiful and groovy as hell” (The Thoroughfare), the album features debut recordings of works by William Brittelle, Caleb Burhans, ensemble tenor Eric Dudley, Wally Gunn, Missy Mazzoli and artistic director Brad Wells. The recording was produced by Jesse Lewis and, on three tracks, features Jason Treuting of So Percussion. Upon the Render’s release, the Nation wrote, "Roomful of Teeth is making some of the most rigorously venturesome and thrillingly inventive music being made by any ensemble, vocal or instrumental, today.”
Projects in 2016-2017 include The Colorado, a music-driven documentary film that explores water, land and survival in the Colorado River Basin (featuring former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and Wilco’s Glenn Kotche); collaborations with A Far Cry and Nick Zammuto of The Books; appearances at new music festivals in the US, Canada and Sweden; and partnerships with nearly two dozen higher education institutions across the country.
Lead sponsorship for Roomful of Teeth’s 2016-2017 season is generously provided by Sharon Banker, the Lenore S. & Bernard A. Greenberg Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and New Music USA. Additional support provided by Herb Allen, Katie Schmidt, Virginia Philhower, Pacific Harmony Foundation, the Amphion Foundation and the Cheswatyr Foundation.
July 2–6, 2017
Presented by the
RCCO, & CIOC
Pre & post-festival activities July 1st and 7th
Roomful of Teeth
Performing Tuesday, July 4, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde (Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral)
Program to feature works by Caroline Shaw, Toby Twining, William Brittelle and Eric Dudley