Roomful of Teeth
Friday, January 26, 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). “We’re living in a golden age of string quartets…It’s hard to disagree when you hear the vibrant young players in New York’s Attacca Quartet” (NPR). 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).
KAHANE: Where Are the Arms; Under A Tree (World Premiere)
LOUIS COUPERIN: Unmeasured Prelude in D Minor
CAROLINE SHAW: Partita for 8 Singers
FRANÇOIS COUPERIN: La Logivières; Le Tic-toc-Choc;
Le Carillon de Cithère; Passacaille in B Minor (8e Ordre)
PAUL SIMON: American Tune
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.
Grammy© award-winning Attacca Quartet, described by The New York Times as “exuberant, funky and more exactingly nuanced,” are recognized and acclaimed as one of the most versatile and outstanding ensembles of the moment—a quartet for modern times.
In 2021, the Quartet announced their exclusive signing to SONY Classical, releasing two albums that embody their redefinition of what a string quartet can be. The first album, Real Life, features guest artists such as TOKiMONSTA and Daedelus; their second album, Of All Joys, features their original take on great Minimalist and Renaissance works seamlessly. In September 2022, Nonesuch Records released the quartet’s new album with Caroline Shaw, Evergreen, a follow up to their Grammy©-award winning album, Orange, in 2020.
Recent touring highlights include Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival and Miller Theatre, Phillips Collection, Chamber Music Detroit, Chamber Music Austin, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Banff String Quartet Festival, Dumbarton Oaks, Howland Chamber Music Circle and Ojai Festival.
The 2022–23 season will see Attacca Quartet return to Japan for a series of concerts with Nagoya Philharmonic and recitals in Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya. Other recent international performances include their debut in London at Kings Place and in Oslo at the Vertavo Haydn Festival as well as performances at Gothenburg Konserthuset, MITO Septembre Festival in Italy and Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao. In the US, the quartet will perform at Carnegie Hall, Of All Joys at Catacombs series, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Lawrence University, GroundUP Music Festival, UCSB Arts & Lectures and a residency at Chiarina Chamber Players.
Passionate advocates of contemporary repertoire, the Quartet are dedicated to presenting and recording new works. Their album, Orange, for which they received the 2020 Grammy© Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, features string quartet works by Pulitzer-prize winning composer Caroline Shaw; it has also been featured in several ‘Best Albums’ lists, such as NPR, New York Times, 2020 BBC Music Magazine Awards and several Opus Klassik Awards.
The Attacca Quartet has engaged in extensive educational and community outreach projects, serving as guest artists and teaching fellows at the Lincoln Center Institute, Boston University Tanglewood Institute and Bravo! Vail Valley, among others. Attacca Quartet has also served as the Quartet in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Ensemble-in-Residence at the School of Music at Texas State University, Lehigh University and Juilliard's Graduate Resident String Quartet, where they premiered the film Plan and Elevation (featuring the music of the same name by Caroline Shaw).
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.