2020 has been a challenging year for artists and arts organizations all around the world. It has also been a time of reflection and the opportunity to reconsider our art and its role in society. To support this important reflection, Jean-Sébastien Vallée will host four Choir Chats with world-renowned artists who are rethinking and reshaping choral music. This series is a unique opportunity to discover ground-breaking artists and to explore several important issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the field of classical music.
Wednesday, February 10, 7 PM
Brad Wells is the founder and artistic director of the Grammy Award-winning new music vocal group Roomful of Teeth. Wells has led the ensemble in premieres of over seventy five works by many of today’s leading composers including Judd Greenstein, Caroline Shaw, Rinde Eckert, Caleb Burhans, William Brittelle, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Missy Mazzoli, Michael Harrison, Glenn Kotche, Ambrose Akinmusire, Anna Clyne, Terry Riley, Ted Hearne, Julia Wolfe and Tigran Hamasyan, among others. This new music “vocal band,” praised by WQXR as “the future of vocal music,” performs regularly in festivals, on concert stages and in educational residencies around the world. Roomful of Teeth’s debut recording (2012), directed by Wells and praised as “sensually stunning” by the New York Times, included the Pulitzer-winning composition, “Partita for 8 Voices,” written for Roomful of Teeth by ensemble member Caroline Shaw. His own compositions – featured on the group’s Grammy-nominated second album, Render (2015) – have been described as “objectively and subjectively gorgeous” (I Care If You Listen); his title work for the album was selected as one of NPR’s Favorite Songs of 2015. He has composed and arranged vocal and instrumental works that have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. His permanent sound installation Silo Songs, featuring the earliest vocal music of the Shakers, opened at Hancock Shaker Village in 2018.
Since 1999 Wells has been Artist in Residence in Vocal Music at Williams College, where he directs the choral program and leads courses in conducting, voice science and style, and sound art. Wells has held conducting and teaching positions at Yale University, Trinity College, University of California at Berkeley and California State University, Chico. His ensembles have performed throughout North and South America, South Africa and Europe. A champion of Estonian choral music, he has led the U.S. premieres of works by numerous Estonian composers including Raimo Kangro, Jüri-Ruut Kangur, and Lembit Veevo. He has lectured and published articles on the physiology and acoustics of non-classical vocal styles and the role of singing in film. As a singer he has performed and recorded with such ensembles as Theatre of Voices and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (under Nicholas McGegan and Philip Brett). Wells holds music degrees from Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin and Principia College.
Wednesday, March 10, 7 PM
Dr. Alexander Lloyd Blake works as a conductor, composer/arranger, vocal contractor, singer, and music activist. Blake is the Founding Artistic Director of Tonality, a new choral ensemble focused on spreading a message of unity, peace, and social justice through a culturally diverse choral setting. MORE
Wednesday April 14, 7 PM
Wednesday May 12, 7 PM
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