The University of Iowa
Roomful of Teeth ensemble sitting in a extravagant foyer looking at the camera. The right 1/3 of the image is a headshot of Gabriel Kahane looking off to the right in a brown jacket and blue hoodie

Roomful of Teeth and Gabriel Kahane

Presented by
Adults $25
Students & Youth $10
Thursday, November 16, 2023, 7:30 pm
Sold Out

Part of Hancher's 51st season

A Hancher co-commission! 

Founded to "mine the expressive potential of the human voice," Roomful of Teeth delivers performances that can be summed up in a single word: exquisite. The Grammy-winning ensemble—self-described as a "vocal band"—is dedicated to creating and performing meaningful and adventurous music that amplifies voices old and new. The Boston Globe says, "Experimentation may be this group's calling card, but its essence is pure joy."

Gabriel Kahane is a composer and singer-songwriter who has collaborated with and composed for everyone from Sufjan Stevens and Rufus Wainwright to Brooklyn Rider and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He says of his new work, "Elevator Songs is a celebration of the individual voices that comprise Roomful of Teeth. While the ensemble is widely known for its incredible stylistic flexibility and use of extended vocal techniques, I learned over the course of several workshop sessions with the group at MASS MoCA in 2022 that they are all, unsurprisingly, wonderful singers of tunes. Given my background as a singer-songwriter, it felt natural to use this project as an opportunity to create, in essence, a “Roomful of Teeth Songbook,” an anthology to showcase each voice within the context of a larger work. What you will hear at Hancher grew out of the first movement, written as a sketch during that aforementioned visit to MASS MoCA last summer. Elevator Songs is dedicated, with love and admiration, to Roomful of Teeth."

The program also includes Caroline Shaw's The Isle continuing Hancher's season-long engagement with the composer and her work. Shaw's piece inspired by The Tempest—and its presentation is timely as the University of Iowa hosts a yearlong celebration of Shakespeare's First Folio.

Gabriel KAHANE performing a set of solo songs
Caroline SHAW: The Isle
Gabriel KAHANE: Elevator Songs (Hancher Co-Commission / Midwest Premiere)

Gabriel Kahane's Elevator Songs was commissioned by Roomful of Teeth Vocal Arts Project, lnc., Hancher Auditorium at the University of lowa, Meany Center for the Performing Arts, and San Francisco Performances. It received its world premiere on November 2, 2023, in a performance by Roomful of Teeth, along with the composer, at the Meany Center in Seattle, Washington. 

Roomful of Teeth Website

Gabriel Kahane Website

Preorder food from the Stanley Café!

Avoid the lines by making your food selections before you come to Hancher Auditorium. Cheese boards are only available through preorder and cannot be purchased on-site at the performance. Snacks and beverages will be available on-site.

Orders must be placed by noon the day before the performance.

Preorder food

Mark & Fran Lundy

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Paris Sissel in advance at (319) 467-4849 or at