Centenary hosts concert by national vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth


March 8, 2017

SHREVEPORT, LA — On Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., Centenary College will present a concert by one of the most exciting and progressive vocal groups in the United States today.  Calling themselves a “vocal project,” Roomful of Teeth is an eight-voice a cappella ensemble that explores new vocabularies in vocal singing through study with masters from vocal traditions the world over.

“I heard Roomful of Teeth in person during a conference in St. Louis in the fall 2015,” says Dr. Gale Odom, Dean of Centenary’s Hurley School of Music. “It was a transformative experience to hear the exquisite combinations of sounds they were able to make, using just the human voice.  The perfect tuning and timbre matching was breathtaking, and it was all such healthy singing.”

Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, Roomful of Teeth gathers annually at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Massachusetts, where they study with some of the world’s top performers and teachers in Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, Broadway belting, Inuit throat singing, Korean P’ansori, Georgian singing, Sardinian cantu a tenore, Hindustani music, Persian classical singing, and Death Metal singing.

The project’s debut album, Roomful of Teeth, was released in 2012 and nominated in three categories for the 2014 56th Annual Grammy Awards. The album received a Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.  In April 2013, ensemble member Caroline Shaw received the Pulitzer Prize for Music for Partita for 8 Voices, the four movements of which appear on the group’s debut album.   An iTunes exclusive EP of Partita was subsequently released and ranked no. 1 on iTunes Classical charts.  You can listen at http://bit.ly/ZBMRla.

Caroline Shaw’s Partita will be part of the concert at Centenary College on March 18, as well as musical selections by William Brittelle, Brad Wells, Rinde Eckert, Eric Dudley, and Merrill Garbus (of tUnE-yArDs).  Other commissioned composers for the group include Fred Hersch, Toby Twining, Missy Mazzoli, Julia Wolfe, Ted Hearne, and Ambrose Akinmusire, among many others.

Projects for Roomful of Teeth in 2016-2017 include The Colorado, a music-driven documentary film that explores water, land, and survival in the Colorado River Basin and features 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.

The performance at Centenary College will take place in the Anderson Auditorium of the Hurley School of Music.  Admission is free and open to the public.

This event is generously underwritten by the Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture Program and the Shreveport Opera.

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