Grammy-winning eighth blackbird prepares for exciting season

sextet plans new Pierrot lunaire with Mark DeChiazza in Chicago and Los Angeles; a Minneapolis debut; and Steve Mackey’s Slide on tour

eighth blackbird’s artistic leadership of California ’s venerable Ojai Music Festival in June has given the group a jump-start on the new season. The sextet performed the world premiere of Steve Mackey and Rinde Eckert’s Slide at Ojai, and has added a mini-tour of Slide performances to its 2009-10 schedule – which is already crowded with concerts and school residencies in Philadelphia , Maryland , and California . Once again the members of eighth blackbird have won new audiences with a work that exploits all their talents – for music, choreography, drama, and memorization.

By way of a new-season preview, eighth blackbird made a sparkling debut at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival with the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Grazioso!, which is repeated in a program titled “Spam” at the group’s first concert of the new season, on September 16 at the University of Richmond, Virginia. Two other world premieres are planned: a work by Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez at New York ’s Look & Listen Festival in May, and a new concerto by Jennifer Higdon for an Atlanta debut in June.

eighth blackbird has now incorporated Turnage’s Grazioso! into “Meanwhile”, the group’s most frequently performed program of the season, and one of a number of programs combining music by several composers. Another popular program returning to the schedule is “The Only Moving Thing”. The latter includes Steve Reich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning composition for eighth blackbird, Double Sextet, which the group commissioned and premiered, and has just finished recording for Nonesuch. A new production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, newly choreographed by Mark DeChiazza, will have its premiere in Chicago on December 8 and be repeated, with Double Sextet, in Los Angeles on April 28. As a spectacular season finale, eighth blackbird makes its debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on June 3, in the world premiere of a new concerto by Jennifer Higdon that was composed for the group.


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