Gabriel KahanePiano Roomful of Teeth

Gabriel Kahane and Roomful of Teeth

PIVOT Festival

Thursday, January 25, 2024 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

For the ninth year of PIVOT, guest curator Gabriel Kahane and friends dig deep into music that asks enduring and enlightening questions about our ever-changing world and seeks the uplift of answers rooted in shared experience. Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work exists at the intersection of art and social practice, and “his music is suffused with idiosyncratic, enriched tonal harmony…he is one of the finest, most searching songwriters of the day” (The New Yorker). Grammy-winning vocal band Roomful of Teeth can seemingly make anything cool, “From death metal to throat singing to alpine yodeling, the experimental group is changing what it means to harmonize” (The New Yorker).



PETER SHIN: Bits torn from words, Movement. 4
ANGÉLICA NEGRÓN: Math, the one which is sweet
KAHANE: Elevator Songs

Texts from this performance have been appended to the program notes below.

Performance Sponsors

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Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work increasingly exists at the intersection of art and social practice. Hailed as “one of the finest songwriters of the day” by The New Yorker, he is known to haunt basement rock clubs and august concert halls alike, where you’ll likely find him in the green room, double-fisting coffee, and a book.

He has released four albums as a singer-songwriter, including, most recently, the intimate Book of Travelers (Nonesuch Records), which Rolling Stone called “a stunning portrait of a singular moment in America.” As a composer, he has been commissioned by many of America’s leading arts institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Public Theater, which in 2012 presented his musical February House.

In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere in Portland of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form, a work that explores inequality in America through the lens of housing issues. The piece was released as an album in March of 2020, and is scheduled for performance by half a dozen other American orchestras in the coming years.

Kahane’s discography also includes 2014’s The Ambassador, which received an acclaimed staging at BAM, directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Tiffany; an album of chamber music, The Fiction Issue, with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and vocalist/composer Shara Nova; a recording with The Knights of his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest; as well as the original cast album for February House.

A frequent collaborator across a range of musical communities, Gabriel has worked with an array of artists including Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, Caroline Shaw, and Chris Thile. After nearly two decades in Brooklyn, Kahane relocated with his family to Portland, Oregon, in March of 2020. Their freakishly self-possessed cat, Roscoe Greebletron Jones III, when not under investigation for securities fraud, continues his fruitless attempts to monetize his Instagram account.

Roomful of Teeth is a Grammy® winning vocal band dedicated to reimagining the expressive potential of the human voice. By engaging collaboratively with artists, thinkers, and community leaders from around the world, they seek to uplift and amplify voices old and new while creating and performing meaningful and adventurous music.

Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, the band was incubated at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Massachusetts, where members studied with some of the world’s top performers and teachers and commissioned composers who were known for breaking molds. In the group’s words, “We have learned that the boundaries of the human voice are never what they seem, that rules can be bent, and broken, and perhaps they should be.”

As the world rapidly changes, Roomful of Teeth is cultivating deeper relationships with technology, continuing to expand the capabilities of the human voice, aiming to be unburdened by physical limitations. The group is excited about new collaborative projects that are focused on the stories of place, home, and community in the diverse environments our planet has provided.

Roomful of Teeth explores these boundaries with passionate curiosity, contagious enthusiasm, and deep gratitude.

Artist Video

Roomful of Teeth Performs Fall Into Me