ELSAH — Principia College’s Concert Series presents the Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Roomful of Teeth in Davis Music Hall at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23.
The group has toured the United States, performing in major lecture venues including Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall.
An eight-voice, avant-garde ensemble founded by 1984 Principia College grad Brad Wells, Roomful of Teeth won a Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance in 2014. The group is dedicated to re-imagining singing in the 21st century, drawing from classical and non-classical traditions, ranging from yodeling to Tuvan throat singing, and combining them with Western classical (bel canto) techniques.
“We take a sort of ‘mixed martial arts approach’ to working with the human voice,” Wells said. “Many choirs are singing music from cultures around the world. We’re expanding upon this idea by making full use of every singing style to create new work.”
Roomful of Teeth members study with the world’s top performers and teachers of non-classical traditions, and the group has collaborated with a variety of composers, including Judd Greenstein, William Brittelle, John Luther Adams, Terry Riley and 2015 Pulitzer Prize-recipient Julia Wolfe. In March, they performed “Drone Mass,” a world premiere by the Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, whose score for the film “The Theory of Everything” was nominated for an Academy Award. For that concert, the group appeared with members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble at New York’s Metropolitan Museum’s Temple of Dendur.
The ensemble’s highly acclaimed, self-titled debut album, “Roomful of Teeth,” released in 2012 by New Amsterdam Records, topped the classical charts on iTunes and Amazon and broke into the top 10 on the Billboard charts. In April, they released their sophomore album, “Render,” described by The Nation as “the most rigorously venturesome and thrillingly inventive music made by any ensemble, vocal or instrumental, today.”
“To have a high-profile musical group such as Roomful of Teeth performing at Principia College will be quite a treat for our students and the community,” Music Department chair Dr. Joseph Van Riper said. “And it makes us especially proud that the group is led by one of our own Principia alums, Brad Wells.”
Admission to the concert is complimentary.