Eighth Blackbird's mission is to move music forward through innovative performance, advocate for new music by living composers, and create a legacy of guiding an emerging generation of musicians. Launched in 1996, this Chicago-based group has earned its status as “a brand-name…defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality….known for performing from memory, employing choreography and collaborations with theater artists, lighting designers and even puppetry artists” (Detroit Free Press).
The ensemble won the 1998 Concert Artists Guild Competition and over the course of two decades has commissioned and premiered the work of David T. Little, Steven Mackey, Missy Mazzoli, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich. Their 20th anniversary in 2016 included a fourth Grammy Award for Best Small/Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance and the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, followed by Chamber Music America’s inaugural Visionary Award, and Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year in 2017.
Eighth Blackbird served as Music Director of the 2009 Ojai Music Festival, has held residencies at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the University of Chicago, and it holds an ongoing Ensemble-in-Residence position at the University of Richmond. The 2015-16 season featured a pioneering residency at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art: a living installation with open rehearsals, performances, guest artists, and public talks. Eighth Blackbird launches its most ambitious educational venture yet in June 2017: The Blackbird Creative Lab, an annual tuition-free two-week intensive for emerging artists at the Besant Hill School in Ojai, California.
“…one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet.” — Chicago Tribune
Bryce Dessner: Murder Ballades (2013) 12'
György Ligeti: Études (1985-1994) 10’
Ned McGowan: The Garden of Iniquitous Creatures (2016) 12’
David Lang: Wed, arr. Kaplan/Duvall (1992) 5’
Ted Hearne: By-By Huey (2014) 10’
Robert Honstein: Conduit, II. Pulse (2014) 5’
Timo Andres: Checkered Shade (2014) 14’
FREE pre-concert lecture by Randal Swiggum | Play Circle | 6pm
Sonora Strings | Shannon Hall |7pm