Roomful of Teeth Return to MASS MoCA on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

August 27th, 2015, 1:00 pm by Sara
Roomful of Teeth (photo: Nicholas Whitman)

Roomful of Teeth (photo: Nicholas Whitman)

Exploring new vocal territory and sharing music from their new 2015 album Render, the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth comes home to MASS MoCA in North Adams to celebrate the work of composer-in-residence Ted Hearne, harnessing all sorts of colors, gestures and timbres as the group explores all possibilities of the human voice. Roomful of Teeth’s annual two-week residency culminates in a concert at 8pm on Friday (August 28).

Both as an expansion and a tribute to the group’s self-titled predecessor (called “sensually stunning” by The New York Times), Render is the next leg of Roomful of Teeth’s journey to mine the expressive possibilities of the magnificent vocal palette offered by each of the ensemble’s eight powerful singers. Group alto and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw relates the title of the album to the “idea of seeing…distinct particles slowly come together [to] create an image” (NPR). The recording emerges as one likeness, but remains unforgettably composed by distinct and enormously talented contributors, including founder and artistic director Brad Wells, as well as William Brittelle, Wally Gunn, Missy Mazzoli, Caleb Burhans and ensemble tenor Eric Dudley.

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Five Firsts: Caroline Shaw of Roomful of Teeth

February 10th, 2015, 10:30 am by Greg
Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw

NAME: Caroline Shaw
BAND AFFILIATION: Roomful of Teeth
INSTRUMENT: voice, alto

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Billy Joel’s River of Dreams

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Five Firsts: Martha Cluver of Roomful of Teeth

February 9th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Martha Cluver

Martha Cluver of Roomful of Teeth

NAME: Martha Cluver
BAND AFFILIATION: Roomful of Teeth
INSTRUMENT: soprano and whistler

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Vanilla Ice’s single “Ice Ice Baby” on cassette. Wow…

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Sounding Good, But Strange: Roomful of Teeth @ MASS MoCA on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

August 27th, 2014, 1:00 pm by Sara

Roomful of Teeth

Upon receiving a 2014 Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance,” Roomful of Teeth director Brad Wells said, “We wouldn’t have this album without our work at MASS MoCA.”

You can hear them in the open air courtyard space at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Friday (August 29) at 8pm. Listen for Hindustani and Persian singing styles, Ritornello with music and film by vocalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, and compositions by MASS MoCA and FreshGrass favorite, Sam Amidon.

On the heels of the success of its self-titled debut, Roomful of Teeth has been in residency at MASS MoCA since August 18 to explore different vocal techniques and create new groundbreaking work with a roster of guest composers. The group collaborates with American roots singer-songwriter and Vermont native Amidon, a virtuoso in the indie music world. Amidon reinvents traditional songs and contemporary hip-hop covers on guitar, banjo and fiddle and delivers them with eerily deadpan vocals that both charm and unsettle. According to Pitchfork, Amidon’s performances “meld the rural and the urban, the organic and the synthetic, the oral tradition and the written score.”

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A River Sings: Roomful of Teeth Follows the Colorado as Art and Nature Intersect [Berkshire on Stage]

February 27th, 2014, 12:00 pm by Sara

At moments it’s almost like hearing the Colorado River – and even the surrounding landscape – sing. There is joy. Sorrow. Hope. Progress. Destruction. It is nature and civilization in constant conflict.

Water Songs: Ha Tay G’am is a new live music and video project exploring the profound history of the Colorado River. Featuring compositions by John Luther Adams, William Brittelle, Shara Worden, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Paola Prestini, the delightful collaboration will be performed by MASS MoCA favorites (and recent Grammy Award winners) Roomful of Teeth on Saturday (March 1) at 8pm in the Hunter Center.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Roomful of Teeth will Cap Third Year Residency with Performance August 31 at Mass MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

August 29th, 2012, 2:00 pm by Sara
Composer Missy Mazzoli headed for MASS MoCA

Composer Missy Mazzoli headed for MASS MoCA

After three years of well attended performances at MASS MoCA in 2009, 2010, and 2011, Roomful of Teeth returns to perform what is quickly becoming an annual sold-out favorite on Friday, August 31, at 8 PM in the museum’s intimate Club B-10. Roomful of Teeth is a vocal octet that embraces the full spectrum of non-traditional vocal practices and develops new compositions through an ongoing commissioning project. Founded in 2008 by Williams College music educator, conductor, and singer Brad Wells, the ensemble is built upon the idea that any singer can learn any “non-native” singing language, regardless of his or her background. Roomful of Teeth incorporates an ever-widening circle of singing styles and invites composers to develop new works for this new model of vocal ensemble. For this year’s work-in-progress concert, Roomful of Teeth will perform work by young composer Missy Mazzoli, who Time Out NY calls “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart”.

Roomful of Teeth is founded upon the notion that the membranes that separate one vocal style from another are wholly permeable. Brad Wells says singing styles are “audible fingerprints”, as they serve as markers of the human diaspora on the original instrument, the voice. He believes that the vocal techniques required to create these diverse fingerprints can be taught to anyone despite cultural, ethnic, and musical background. Wells hopes to “bring the full range of human voice back together for a family reunion” by incorporating and overlapping varied singing techniques from around the world into one ensemble of performers.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Be Here Now: Roomful of Teeth @ Williams College, 2/18/11

February 17th, 2011, 11:00 am by Greg

Roomful of Teeth is a vocal group with serious attitude. The eight voices are all classically trained, but they incorporate and experiment with a wide variety of globe-trotting vocal techniques from yodeling to Tuvan throat singing in their envelope-pushing music.

Performing at Williams College’s Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at 8pm on Friday, the group’s wide-ranging program will feature rising star Oakland-based musician tUnE-yArDs (Merrill Garbus) in works she has written exclusively for the ensemble. tUnE-yArDs’ self-produced album, “Bird-Brains,” utilizes shareware mixing software and a digital voice recorder. The New York Times has described her free-thinking vocals as “somewhere between Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono,” which leaves an awful lot of ground to cover. And she recently toured with Dirty Projectors, adding yet another dimension to her work.

Works by composers Caleb Burhans (hailed as a “new music virtuoso” by The New York Times) and William Brittelle (former lead singer of The Blondes) will also be featured, and they will join the ensemble as performers in their own expanded arrangements.

Roomful of Teeth and their guest composer-vocalists perform at Williams College’s Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall in Williamstown at 8pm on Friday. Admission is free.

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