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Roomful of Teeth

Formed in Massachusetts in 2009 under the direction of Brad Wells, a cappella octet Roomful of Teeth specialize in contemporary compositions that bridge classical, world music, and pop at their most virtuosic. Their first album, Roomful of Teeth, saw release in 2012 and won a Grammy for best small ensemble performance. Still going strong in 2020, they issued albums featuring the works of composers Wally Gunn and Michael Harrison. With a founding membership of Cameron Beauchamp, Dashon Burton, Martha Cluver, Eric Dudley, Esteli Gomez, Avery Griffin, Caroline Shaw, and Virginia Warnken, Roomful of Teeth's name was taken from a line in the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby film Road to Morocco, indicative of the group's free-spiritedness. Their self-titled debut album, which employed elements as diverse as (but not limited to) distortion and overtone singing, arrived on New Amsterdam Records in late 2012. It featured two works by indie rock's Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs), with whom they have performed live, and Shaw's Partita for 8 Voices, which won her a Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2013. The album went on to win a Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance in 2014. The group's sophomore album, Render, followed in the spring of 2015 and featured works by members as well as William Brittelle, Caleb Burhans, Wally Gunn, and Missy Mazzoli. They then appeared alongside Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Ziegler on the soundtrack to the documentary The Colorado. It came out on the National Sawdust label in 2016. A year later, Roomful of Teeth released their performance of "How a Rose," a piece arranged by Dudley after the 1609 setting of Praetorius' "Es Ist ein Ros Entsprungen." They were featured on a Seattle Symphony recording of Berio's Sinfonia for Eight Voices and Orchestra in 2018. The group returned in 2020 with a pair of albums for New Amsterdam. Wally Gunn: The Ascendant and Michael Harrison: Just Constellations were both issued that August. By that time, touring member Thann Scoggin had replaced Griffin in the ensemble's core lineup, though Griffin still performed with the group as an auxiliary member.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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