2019 Blackbird Creative Lab Announcement

photo: Kirby Russell ©2017

Dear Lab Community,

The two inaugural summer sessions of the Blackbird Creative Lab were some of the most inspiring weeks of music-making Eighth Blackbird has ever shared among ourselves, the extraordinary faculty, guest artists, staff and the sixty remarkable young artists who are our beloved Lab fellows. Years of research and planning as well as generous financial support were invested in launching The Lab, Eighth Blackbird’s most ambitious project to date.  We were thrilled with its success, evident in the ongoing collaboration within the Lab network – new ensembles, co-commissioned projects, recordings, festivals and performances curated to showcase each other’s work. This is a testament to the flourishing Lab culture of generosity of spirit, determination, intense creative curiosity and the desire to have meaningful human impact in the world.

Eighth Blackbird has been transformed by the experience as well. After months of artistic planning and re-examining our own artistic and organizational priorities with our board and staff as we gear up for our 25th anniversary in 2021, we have decided to focus capacity this year on long-term impact and exploring new models of sustainability for the Lab. As a result, we will not be holding a two-week intensive this June in Ojai.

Instead, we are actively supporting the work of the incredible Lab alumni by performing their music, finding new commission opportunities for them, and being involved in their creative and professional initiatives. We are also planning a number of regional Lab showcase events throughout the rest of our 2018-19 season. Thanks to fellows Tamara Kohler (’17)Allison Wright (’18) and Kaylie Melville (’17) for getting the ball rolling by spearheading a sold-out, pre-season Lab event with Matthew Duvall this past August in Melbourne, Australia! Subsequent events are planned for Winston-Salem, NC; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; and Detroit, MI. Also, the Lab reunion weekend is slated for March 15-18, 2019 in Chicago. Please join us for any or all of the weekend’s program of performances, seminars, and camaraderie.  We will be sending out details for all of these exciting events soon, and are grateful for the enthusiastic support from local Lab fellows, supporters and partners for help on the ground.

We would like to say a great big thank you to the wonderful folks at Besant Hill School, who are disappointed the Lab will not be held there this summer, but have indicated that the door is still open.  And finally, a word of deep gratitude to the founding funders of the Lab: Dan Lewis, Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art, National Endowment for the Arts: Arts Work Fund, The Colburn Foundation, Helen and Justus Schlichting, Russ Irwin, Judy Duvall, Marley Lewis and Gene Vilensky, Nancy and Joe Walker, Drs. Anne and Dennis Wentz and the many others who have contributed over the past two years. Without your support we would not have begun to realize this dream or continue to evolve. Thank you!

With Big Audacious Love,

Eighth Blackbird

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