Groundbreaking Vocal Ensemble to Perform BYU Commissioned Piece

Groundbreaking Vocal Ensemble to Perform BYU Commissioned Piece

This will be the inaugural performance of the piece at BYU

The Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble brings a wide variety of music to BYU’s stage on Sept. 28. A great introduction to the group can be found in NPR’s video: “Roomful of Teeth: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.”

Among their difficult repertoire they will perform, is the fourth movement, “Letter To My Father,” from a work entitled “Coloring Book.” The piece was composed by Ted Hearne who was a 2014 BYU Barlow Endowment General Commission recipient. The commission supported the piece’s creation specifically for Roomful of Teeth.

The Barlow Endowment was established in 1983 by Milton A. and Gloria Barlow for Music Composition at BYU and is known for promoting excellence in music composition throughout the country.

“Coloring Book” officially premiered as part of Roomful of Teeth’s performance at the SONiC Festival on Oct. 17, 2015 at the National Sawdust in New York.

In an article in The New York Times about the premiere, reporter Vivien Schweitzer wrote: “In Ted Hearne’s ‘Coloring Book,’ set to texts by African-American writers and given its premiere here, layered harmonies created a dense soundscape as the ensemble sang lines from Zora Neale Hurston’s essay ‘How it Feels to Be Colored Me.’… In ‘Letter to my father’ (set to a text by Hurston) the pronoun ‘he’ was tossed between the men and women like a tennis ball.”

Ian Holubiak, of Classicalite online database, wrote of the premiere, “If it’s creativity and concept you’re after, in spades, one need look no further homeward than Ted Hearne’s ‘Coloring Book.’ An expertly curated appropriation of texts by African-American writers, as on the printed page, Zora Neale Hurston’s words proved the most musical in the score.”

The composition work is another connection Roomful of Teeth has with BYU. The group works closely with vocal coach and BYU professor Gayle Lockwood. More information about Roomful of Teeth’s BYU performance can be found here.

The concert will be a unique opportunity to hear their ground-breaking sound and styles through specifically commissioned music for the group.

Tickets are available in person at the BYU Ticket Office in the Harris Fine Arts Center or the booth in the parking lot west of the football stadium, (the Marriott Center Ticket Office is currently closed for renovations), by phone at 801-422-2981 or online at