PROTOTYPE: Out of Bounds

January 2019

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About the Show

PROTOTYPE presents its third iteration of Out of Bounds, a platform for new vocal performance pieces taking place in unlikely locations throughout New York. Through the works, public sites will become temporary spaces of contact, exchange, and refreshed social dynamics. Out of Bounds 2019 will feature Partita for 8 Voices, where composer Caroline Shaw’s seminal work meets the vast illuminated canyon of Times Square for its first ever publicly staged performance. Drawing inspiration from the work of artist Sol LeWitt, square dance calls, Inuit-inspired hocketing, and the American folk hymn “Shining Shore”, this Pulitzer Prize-winning piece will be performed in its entirety by Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. PROTOTYPE: Out of Bounds is curated by Raul Zbengheci.

Partita for 8 Voices
January 7 at 4pm and 6pm
at Times Square

Composed by Caroline Shaw
Performed by Roomful of Teeth
Co-presented by PROTOTYPE and Times Square Arts

10 years since beginning to write Partita for 8 Voices, a multi-year process involving extended residencies, vocal training, and walks to Times Square in the middle of the night, Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw is joined by the Grammy Award winning ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, to stage the Partita for 8 Voices as an environmental public artwork on Times Square.

*In case of severe weather on January 7, performances will take place the following day on January 8.


Run Time 25 Minutes

Original image by Michael Grimm

Artist Bio

Caroline Shaw (Composer) is a New York-based musician—vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer—who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry. The 2018-19 season will see premieres by pianist Jonathan Biss with the Seattle Symphony, Anne Sofie von Otter with Philharmonia Baroque, the LA Philharmonic, and Juilliard 415. Caroline’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National, and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Once she got to sing in three-part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center, and that was pretty much the bees’ knees and elbows. Caroline has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton, currently teaches at NYU, and is a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Caroline loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin. 

Roomful of Teeth (Ensemble) is a GRAMMY-winning vocal project dedicated to reimagining the expressive potential of the human voice. Through study with masters from vocal traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an ongoing commissioning process, forges a new repertoire without borders. Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, Roomful of Teeth gathers annually at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Massachusetts, where they’ve studied with some of the world’s top performers and teachers in Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, Broadway belting, Inuit throat singing, Korean P’ansori, Georgian singing, Sardinian cantu a tenore, Hindustani music, Persian classical singing, and Death Metal singing. Commissioned Composers include Rinde Eckert, Fred Hersch, Merrill Garbus (of tUnE-yArDs), William Brittelle, Toby Twining, Missy Mazzoli, Julia Wolfe, Ted Hearne and Ambrose Akinmusire, among many others. Projects in 2016-2017 include The Colorado, a music-driven documentary film that explores water, land and survival in the Colorado River Basin (featuring former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and Wilco’s Glenn Kotche); collaborations with A Far Cry and Nick Zammuto of The Books; appearances at new music festivals in the US, Canada and Sweden; and partnerships with nearly two dozen higher education institutions across the country.


Artist Statement

Times Square is a charged, particular public setting – simultaneously a valley of advertising, a traffic hub, and an entertainment destination. However, between the glowing screens is a luminous, distinct anthropology. When I dig deeper than the noise, the crowds, and the never-ending horizon of screens, I am confronted by a crossroads of human relations. It is contradictory and meditative, a passenger through this space is often told what to be but not what to do. The primary activity on the square is still to stand in awe at what feels like a synthesis of media and humanity, never before so enlarged, so accelerated, and so surprisingly pensive.

By situating the Partita within this already rich landscape, I hope to share a magic moment with everyone who can hear it. What was first a simple impulse to hear the piece performed on the square quickly turned into a real connection that had existed long before I thought of it. Ms. Shaw happens to live in the neighborhood and often visited the square when writing the piece, drawing natural connections between composition, architecture, and anthropology.

- Raul Zbengheci



Artist’s Praise