Conservatory professor of voice notches second prestigious Grammy

Eric Dudley

Eric Dudley

University of the Pacific Associate Professor of Voice Eric Dudley won his second Grammy Award Sunday in most impressive fashion as part of an ensemble that bested talented competition including world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Dudley sang with the innovative group Roomful of Teeth, which won Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for the album “Rough Magic.” The award was announced at the 66th Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Roomful of Teeth emerged in a highly competitive category that included Yo-Yo Ma and two other world-class musicians, pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Leonidas Kavakos, performing “Beethoven for Three.”

Dudley is a co-founding member of Roomful of Teeth. While he is no longer an official member of the group, he returned to the ensemble to sing and play synthesizers for the winning album.

“It’s natural to have a lot of pride when you can compete against some of the great musicians in the world, which has been the case in this category. It’s traditionally full of musical heavy hitters,” said Dudley, who watched the ceremony with his wife Melanie and son Ethan from their East Bay home.

Dudley was a member of the group when it won a Grammy in the same category in 2014. Roomful of Teeth was selected to perform on stage during the pre-telecast ceremony that year.

Dudley also was part of another Grammy-nominated effort that was recognized but did not win on Sunday. He sang and played synthesizers for William Brittelle’s “Psychedelics,” which was nominated in the category Best Contemporary Classical competition. The Grammy in this category goes only to the composer.

He recently described the group’s music as “intentionally edgy and experimental, yet listenable.” That style has earned the group critical acclaim for the past 15 years.

“This was the first big project we have done since the pandemic, and it was an effort that meant a lot to the whole group,” Dudley said. “Rough Magic” was a double-album set and it had so much new music. Even the name was unique, with “Rough Magic” coming from a line in “The Tempest” by Shakespeare.”

The award brings pride to Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, said Dean Peter Witte.

“While Eric’s immense range inspires his students and colleagues at Pacific, his easy demeanor makes him a fantastic teacher,” Witte said. “We are thrilled to be his colleagues.

“Eric is at home singing Billy Joel, playing synth on a work of William Brittelle’s, conducting Frank Zappa’s concert music and leading a Handel opera. He is on a first-name basis with leading composers and performers who, like Roomful of Teeth, seek to reimagine the expressive potential of music.”

Dudley has been part of the Conservatory faculty for six years.

“The Conservatory is so tightly knit, and I know everyone will be excited about what this means to the school and to me personally,” Dudley said.