eighth blackbird

Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets • Tim Munro, flutes •  Yvonne Lam, violin & viola • Matthew Duvall, percussion • Lisa Kaplan, piano • Nicholas Photinos, cello


eighth blackbird \ˈātth ˈblak-ˌbərd\ slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.).

1. verb. to act with commitment and virtuosity; to zap, zip, sock
2. adjective. having fearless (yet irreverent) qualities.
3. noun. a flock of songbirds, common in urban areas since 1996.

eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based, three-time Grammy-winning “super-musicians” (LA Times) entertain and provoke audiences across the country and around the world.

Colombine’s Paradise Theatre is eighth blackbird’s new staged, memorized production hailed as a “tour de force” by The Washington Post. Composer Amy Beth Kirsten challenges the sextet to play, speak, sing, whisper, growl and mime, breathing life into this tale of dream and delusion. The season kicks off with a performance at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art followed by a season-opening performance at The Miller Theater in New York.

The 2014/15 season’s acoustic program, Still in Motion, features new works by The National’s Bryce Dessner (the folk-inspired Murder Ballades), Lee Hyla, Sean Griffin and rising star Gabriella Smith. eighth blackbird brings this show to Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, Washington, and sunny Hawaii.

Other highlights include the premiere of Hand Eye, a new work for eighth blackbird by the superstar composer collective Sleeping Giant, our debut at Brooklyn Academy of Music in collaboration with LA Dance Project, and a New Orleans-inspired romp with special guest singer-songwriter-accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman at Symphony Space in New York. To top it off, the group will conduct guest residencies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and a multi-visit residency at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

eighth blackbird holds ongoing Ensemble in Residence positions at the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Richmond, and University of Chicago. A decade-long relationship with Chicago’s Cedille Records has produced six acclaimed recordings. The ensemble has won three Grammy Awards, for the recordings strange imaginary animals, Lonely Motel: Music from Slide and Meanwhile.

eighth blackbird’s members hail from America’s Great Lakes, Keystone, Golden and Bay states, and Australia’s Sunshine State. There are four foodies, three beer snobs and one exercise junkie. The name “eighth blackbird” derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens’s evocative, aphoristic poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917). eighth blackbird is managed by David Lieberman Artists.

eighth blackbird is ensemble in residence with Contempo.
Michael Maccaferri is a Rico Performing Artist and Clinician.
Matthew Duvall proudly endorses Pearl Drums and Adams Musical Instruments, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Zildjian Cymbals, and Black Swamp Percussion Accessories.
Lisa Kaplan is a Steinway Artist.