Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, known for its energetic performances making new music accessible to wide audiences, will appear in the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Concert Series on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m.
The program features a new work titled 5 Memos by Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez, Associate Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music. The piece was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation and premiered by eighth blackbird at the New York City Look & Listen Festival in May 2010. The program also includes Stephen Hartke’s Meanwhile, Thomas Adès’s Catch, Pierre Boulez’s Derive, Missy Mazzoli’s Still Life with Avalanche, Philippe Hurel’s à mésure, and Philip Glass’s Music in Similar Motion.
Lauded for its theatrical flair and infectious enthusiasm, the eighth blackbird sextet attracts fans of all ages, with a Washington Post reviewer noting, “It’s new music you can bring home to your mother.” Since its founding in 1996 at Oberlin Conservatory, eighth blackbird has actively commissioned and recorded new works from such distinguished composers as Steve Reich, George Perle, Frederic Rzewski, and Joseph Schwanter, as well as from the younger generation composers including Jennifer Higdon, Stephen Hartke, Derek Bermel, David Schober, and Daniel Kellogg.
eighth blackbird has performed in numerous festivals throughout the United States including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Look & Listen Festival Reich festivals, Cincinatti’s Music X, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Ojai Music Festival. The sextet has appeared in nearly every major chamber music venue in North America, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center, and La Jolla Chamber Music Society, and has performed overseas in Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, and South Korea.
The group was honored in 2007 with the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and a Meet The Composer Award. Among its other awards, which include the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for its CD strange imaginary animals, eighth blackbird received the first BMI/Boudleaux-Bryant Fund Commission, was the first contemporary music group to win the Grand Prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, won the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the 2004 NEA/CMA Special Commissioning Award.
In addition to chamber and solo performing, eighth blackbird is active in teaching young artists about contemporary music and has taught master classes and conducted outreach activities around the U.S. The group is currently in residence at the University of Richmond in Virginia and University of Chicago.
The group derives its name from the Wallace Stevens poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”
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Tuesday, February 22
Kilbourn Concert Series: eight blackbird
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Tickets: $10, $15 and $20 (discounts with UR ID); available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office in the Eastman East Wing, 433 East Main St., by phone 585-454-2100; online: www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php