Eighth Blackbird

Profile:
Eighth Blackbird (eighth blackbird in all lowercase before 2016) is an American contemporary music ensemble, founded in 1996 and based in Chicago. Sextet consists of a flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano – Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire-compatible ensemble – plus percussion. Their name is a reference to Wallace Stevens' poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

The founding members of Eighth Blackbird met at The Oberlin Conservatory Of Music, where musicians had been playing in The Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble conducted by Tim Weiss (2). Tim acted as an unofficial mentor, inspiring and encouraging a newly formed group. In 1996, Eighth Blackbird won a prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Two years later, while continuing their education at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, artists signed their first management contract (after a success at the Concert Artists Guild competition).

In 1999, Eighth Blackbird self-released their debut Round Nut Tool CD. A follow-up album was presented four years later by Chicago-based Cedille Records, and since then the label released eight albums by the group. Eighth Blackbird also had split Steve Reich - Double Sextet / 2x5 with Bang On A Can on Nonesuch, and recorded a collaboration with Stephen Vitiello – originally commissioned for the University Of Richmond's Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, and released on Andrew Deutsch's Magic If label. Four of their albums won Grammy awards: Strange Imaginary Animals (two prizes in 2008, including the Best Chamber Music Performance), Meanwhile, Filament, and Lonely Motel: Music From Slide – a collaboration with guitarist-composer Steven Mackey and Rinde Eckert, who performed vocals and wrote libretto.

The ensemble has been actively commissioning new works from a wide range of acclaimed modern composers, such as David Lang, George Perle, Frederic Rzewski, Joseph Schwantner, Paul Moravec, Stephen Hartke, and Steve Reich, as well as performing pieces by Jennifer Higdon, Derek Bermel, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, David Little (2), Daniel Kellogg, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and the Minimum Security Composers Collective. Eighth Blackbird are often combining music and theatre in their performances – apart from the previously mentioned Slide (in collaboration with Mackey and Eckert), the ensemble staged Schoenberg's seminal Pierrot Lunaire piece, and Colombine’s Paradise Theatre by Amy Beth Kirsten.

From 2012 to 2015, Eighth Blackbird served as ensemble-in-residence at the Curtis Institute Of Music in Philadelphia. The ensemble also had residencies at the Colburn School, The University Of Michigan, Oberlin College, Southern Methodist University, Rice University, Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago. They curated several music festivals, such as the Ojai Music Festival (2009) in Southern California, Tune-In Music Festival (2011) at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, which culminated in a premiere of John Luther Adams' monumental percussion work Inuksuit, and the Metropolis New Music Festival in Melbourne – featuring Reich as composer-in-residence.

Current lineup
Lisa Kaplan – piano
Matthew Duvall – percussion
Nicholas Photinos – cello
Michael Maccaferri – clarinets
Yvonne Lam – violin/viola
Nathalie Joachim – flutes

Past members
Matt Albert (1996–2011) – violin/viola
Molly Barth (1996–2006), Tim Munro (2006–15) – flutes
Sites:
Members:
Variations:
[a1220855]

Artist

Albums

8bb 0 00000-2 Eighth Blackbird - Round Nut Tool album art eighth blackbird* Round Nut Tool(CD, Album) Not On Label 8bb 0 00000-2 US 1999 Sell This Version
EG 011 Eighth Blackbird - Concert album art Eighth Blackbird Concert(CD, Album) Eagon EG 011 2000 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 067 Eighth Blackbird - Thirteen Ways album art eighth blackbird Thirteen Ways(CD, Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 067 US 2003 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 076 Eighth Blackbird - Beginnings album art eighth blackbird Beginnings(CD, Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 076 US 2004 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 084 Eighth Blackbird - Fred album art eighth blackbird Fred(CD, Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 084 US 2005 Sell This Version
8.559267 Eighth Blackbird - The Time Gallery / Protean Fantasy / Ariel Fantasy album art Paul Moravec - Eighth Blackbird, Peter Sheppard-Skærved*, Aaron Shorr Paul Moravec - Eighth Blackbird, Peter Sheppard-Skærved*, Aaron Shorr - The Time Gallery / Protean Fantasy / Ariel Fantasy(CD, Album) Naxos 8.559267 USA & Canada 2006 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 094 Eighth Blackbird - Strange Imaginary Animals album art eighth blackbird Strange Imaginary Animals(CD, Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 094 US 2006 Sell This Version
Magic If 31 Eighth Blackbird - Stephen Vitiello With Eighth Blackbird album art Stephen Vitiello With Eighth Blackbird Stephen Vitiello With Eighth Blackbird - Stephen Vitiello With Eighth Blackbird(CD, Album) Magic If Magic If 31 US 2008 Sell This Version
CD-1001 Eighth Blackbird - On A Wire / Q.E.D.: Engaging Richard Feynman album art Jennifer Higdon / Michael Gandolfi - eighth blackbird, Robert Spano, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Atlanta Symphony Chorus Jennifer Higdon / Michael Gandolfi - eighth blackbird, Robert Spano, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Atlanta Symphony Chorus - On A Wire / Q.E.D.: Engaging Richard Feynman(CD, Album) ASO Media CD-1001 US 2011 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 128 Eighth Blackbird - Lonely Motel: Music From Slide album art eighth blackbird With Steven Mackey & Rinde Eckert eighth blackbird With Steven Mackey & Rinde Eckert - Lonely Motel: Music From Slide(CD) Cedille Records CDR 90000 128 US 2011 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 133 Eighth Blackbird - Meanwhile album art Eighth Blackbird Meanwhile(CD, Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 133 US 2012 Sell This Version
CDR 60000 157 Eighth Blackbird - Filament album art Eighth Blackbird Filament (Album) Cedille Records CDR 60000 157 US 2015 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 162 Eighth Blackbird - Hand Eye album art Eighth Blackbird Hand Eye (Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 162 2016 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 174 Eighth Blackbird - Olagón: A Cantata In Doublespeak album art Eighth Blackbird, Dan Trueman, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Paul Muldoon Eighth Blackbird, Dan Trueman, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Paul Muldoon - Olagón: A Cantata In Doublespeak(2xCD, Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 174 US 2017 Sell This Version
none Eighth Blackbird - When We Are Inhuman album art Bonnie 'Prince' Billy*, Bryce Dessner & Eighth Blackbird Bonnie 'Prince' Billy*, Bryce Dessner & Eighth Blackbird - When We Are Inhuman (Album) 37d03d none 2019 Sell This Version
CDR 90000 195 Eighth Blackbird - Singing In The Dead Of Night album art Eighth Blackbird Singing In The Dead Of Night(CD, Album) Cedille Records CDR 90000 195 US 2020 Sell This Version