Acclaimed chamber ensembles A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth to perform works by Caroline Shaw and Ted Hearne

Caroline Shaw ’07MM

The Michigan Daily | Dayton Hare

At its heart, public music making is about the way in which we exist in the same time and place as other people. It’s about how we communicate with and relate to one another. The playing of music is a conversation of sorts, an interaction undertaken between the musicians and the listeners, each member of the dialogue giving something and taking something away. It’s not a coincidence, then, that some of the most interesting and engaging music composed both throughout history and today comes from a wellspring of mutually supportive and inspiring relationships between musicians. On Wednesday night, concert goers at Rackham Auditorium will have the chance to witness the fruits of some of these relationships in a joint concert by the contemporary music ensembles A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth.


Published April 11, 2017
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[ alumni in the press ]

Alumni appear in NYT’s Best Classical Music of 2015 list

David Kaplan | Photo by Samantha West

David Kaplan | Photo by Samantha West

When the classical music team of The New York Times shared its picks for the best performances of the year, several alumni of the Yale School of Music made the list.

Performers include the pianist David Kaplan ’07 MM, ’08 MMA, ’14 DMA, and the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, directed by Brad Wells ’98 MM, ’05 DMA. Among the ensemble’s members are Estelí Gomez ’08 BA, Caroline Shaw ’07 MM, Eric Dudley ’03 MM, ’04 MMA, ’11 DMA, Dashon Burton ’11 MM, and Virginia Warnken ’13 MM.

Composers mentioned include Shaw, Dudley, Missy Mazzoli ’06 MM, and Ted Hearne ’08 MM, ’09 MMA. Below are excerpts from the article. MORE

Published December 10, 2015
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Alumni receive Grammy nominations


Darrell Ang

Several Yale School of Music alumni were among the musicians nominated for Grammy Awards. The nominations for the 2016 awards were announced Monday, December 7.

In the category of Best Orchestral Performance, conductor Darrell Ang ’08 MM was nominated for his recording of Zhou Long and Chen Yi’s Symphony Humen 1839. The recording, which featured the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, was released on the Naxos label.

In the category of Best Choral Performance was Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings, recorded on Harmonia Mundi with Craig Hella Johnson ’90 MMA, ’95 DMA leading the ensemble Conspirare.

Brad Wells ’05 DMA and the vocal octet Roomful Of Teeth were nominated in the category of Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for Render, released on New Amsterdam Records. There are numerous YSM alumni among the members of Roomful of Teeth. MORE

Published December 7, 2015
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YSM alumni receive grants from New Music USA


On February 24, 2014, New Music USA awarded $337,000 to sixty musical projects, six of which involve YSM alumni. New Music USA is dedicated to public advocacy for new music.

The 2013 Grammy award-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth, an avant-garde vocal octet, blends all forms of non-Western singing techniques to create a unique 21st-century classical music sound. The ensemble’s first album was lauded as “fiercely beautiful, and bravely, utterly exposed” (NPR) and “the future of vocal music” (WQXR). The ensemble will use the grant to take on two new commissions featuring Sufi and Persian singing and to record a second album.

Yale faculty composer David Lang received a grant for his piece love fail, written for the vocal quartet Anonymous 4. MORE

Published March 4, 2014
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‘Water Songs’ will chart the Colorado River

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By Christopher Marsicz

NORTH ADAMS — Over the course of the Colorado River’s 1,450-mile journey from La Poudre Pass in the Rockies to the Gulf of California, gathering water from a basin encompassing seven states, it picks up many stories. It weaves through layers of geology and geography, becomes a crucial part of ecosystems and economies, and includes breathtaking natural and engineering wonders. Its flow affects the lives of millions.

And for a diverse group of filmmakers, composers, singers, and educators who are gathering at Mass MoCA this week, it is the guiding theme for a multimedia project to explore a visually stunning part of the world that is not only central to US economy, but surprisingly delicate and with an uncertain future.

“This is a sensory gateway into that region, portrayed in a rich and nuanced way,” said Murat Eyuboglu, the director and filmmaker who is driving the project. “We’re providing the tools for people to learn more, experience more, and become more engaged.”

The end result is planned for late next year, but Mass MoCA will host a “work in progress” screening of the project, called “Water Songs: Ha Tay G’Am” from name for the river in the native Havasupai language. The showing on Saturday will include footage from the film and music composed for it, performed by the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, who are familiar faces at Mass MoCA.


Published February 27, 2014
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[ in the press ]

Something Unique

ROOMFUL OF TEETHCentral Jersey Entertainment
By Anthony Stoeckert

The word “unique” is tossed around so liberally that its true meaning gets lost. But the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth truly is unique, in a unique sort of way.

The group was founded five years ago by Brad Wells, and performs music written specifically for its members. In fact, the groups says the pieces it performs cannot be sung by any other group.

“They are written specifically for our voices,” says Roomful of Teeth member, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. Of her own piece, she says, “it’s specifically for this group, so it couldn’t be done, not only by any other instrumental ensemble, but by any other vocal ensemble that exists in the world.” MORE

Published February 26, 2014
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Grammy winner Virginia Warnkenreflects on win

The Times-Picayune 
By Kara Martinez Bachman

At the recent Grammy Awards, Roomful of Teeth mezzo-soprano Virginia Warnken waved discreetly to her mother. Her mom saw it, and anyone watching that portion of the awards – untelevised but available on desktop or laptop – may have seen it, not knowing the wave was intended for someone special.

“The classical side of the Grammys is not something that’s paid much attention to,” Warnken said, noting that awards for classical music, along with technical and other less popular awards, often are not included in the network broadcast. MORE

Published February 25, 2014
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Yale alumni victorious at Grammys


Roomful of Teeth 

On January 26, 2014, several Yale School of Music alumni won Grammy awards. Thomas Newman ’77BA, ’78MM won Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for the James Bond film Skyfall, and Brad Wells ’05DMA and his ensemble Roomful of Teeth won Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for their self-titled debut album.

Roomful of Teeth is a vocal ensemble founded and directed by Wells, whose members include alumni Estelí Gomez ’08BA, Caroline Shaw ’07MM, Eric Dudley ’03MM, ’04MMA, ’11DMA, Dashon Burton ’11MM, and Virginia Warnken ’13MM. The group performed at the pre-telecast ceremony; the video is online here, with the ensemble’s performance at about 1:09. MORE

Published January 27, 2014
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Feast of Music: Conversation with Roomful of Teeth’s Brad Wells ’05 DMA

Feast of Music
By Peter Matthews

RoomfulofTeethIt’s been an exciting year for contemporary vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, whose debut album (New Amsterdam) — including Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Partita for 8 Voices — is up for three GRAMMY Awards this month, including Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. I had the chance to sit down a couple of weeks ago with Roomful of Teeth’s Founder and Director, Brad Wells, to talk about the group’s working methods and influences and why they’re not “a &$%ing choir!” (Note: Roomful of Teeth will be performing as part of the upcoming Winter Jazzfest at Judson Memorial Church next Friday, January 10 at 945 p.m. Tickets and info here.)

On Starting Roomful of Teeth: There were these hard lines that had been drawn between classical voice pedagogy and everything else. The mentality was: keep everything else out, because everything else is an inferior use of the voice. But, thinking about how long people have been using their voice in different parts of the world, how could those other techniques be wrong?  MORE

Published January 6, 2014
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Music of Caroline Shaw with Roomful of Teeth & ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble)

WNYC Radio

carolineshaw2This fall’s New Sounds Live events in October represent the first-ever survey of the music of Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, “a musician of many sorts.” Shaw performs as a violinist with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and as a vocalist with Roomful of Teeth. Earlier this year, the composer/vocalist/violist/violinist became, at the age of 30, the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in Music for her work “Partita for 8 Voices.” Hear Shaw’s remarkable music in a two-part series, featuring both of the ensembles she plays in and her interactive film/music piece called “Ritornello.” MORE

Published September 13, 2013
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