Staff

Deirdre Harrisson, Chief Operating OfficerDeirdre Harrison, chief operating officer

Deirdre Harrison became Chief Operating Officer for Eighth Blackbird in 2018, after having served as their Interim Director of Development for six months. Previously, she was the Director of Development for the MacArthur-funded shared advancement staff project Creative Partners, Director of Development and Communications for Rush Hour Concerts/Make Music Chicago through its merger with the International Music Foundation, and for several years Music Institute of Chicago’s first Director of Community Engagement. Additional non-profit administration experience includes launching Global Citizenship Experience Lab School and work as Director of Admission and Financial Aid for Baker Demonstration School. Deirdre earned a double BA at Yale after completing her theater training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. A dual American-Irish citizen, she worked in the UK, EU and US for many years as an actress and director . Deirdre performs all over Chicagoland with her literacy chamber band, The Lucky Trikes, and serves as board treasurer for performance ensemble MOCREP.


Kelley Dorhauer Business Manager

Kelley Dorhauer, business manager

Kelley joined as Business Manager of Eighth Blackbird in 2015 and also works in this capacity for the acclaimed Blair Thomas & Co./Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. Prior to working with these companies, Dorhauer was the Concert Business Manager of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and Accounting Projects Coordinator of Lyric Opera of Chicago. She received her masters degree in saxophone performance from DePaul University and undergraduate degree from Elmhurst College in music business. Dorhauer freelances as a saxophonist in several Chicago area groups including Heisenberg Uncertainty Players.


Justin Peters, studio and tour managerJustin Peters Studio Manager

Justin joined the Eighth Blackbird team in 2016 as Studio Manager, adding tour managing duties in 2018. He manages Eighth Blackbird’s Chicago studio and offices, provides production support for local performances, and works with national and international presenters to help bring Eighth Blackbird to venues across the world. 
 
Justin received his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside of the studio, he freelances as a drummer, percussionist, and composer with many groups in Chicago and abroad. His numerous projects include Matthäusbeyond this point, and a residency at Zen Yoga Garage.
 

Alex Monroe Grants ManagerAlex Monroe, grants manager

Alex joined Eighth Blackbird in November 2016. A native of St. Louis, MO, he holds degrees in percussion performance from Northwestern University (M.M.) and Truman State University (B.M.) and is completing a certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management from the Northwestern School of Professional Studies.  Prior to  joining Eighth Blackbird, Alex served as General Manager of the Lake Forest Symphony in Lake Forest, IL. Alex is a strong advocate of new music and collaborative art. In 2014, he co-founded beyond this point, an experimental percussion group specializing in cross-disciplinary work.


Riley Yaxley, Development & Communications Intern

Riley joined Eight Blackbird as their Development & Communications Intern in December 2018. A recent graduate of DePaul University, they studied Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse and Museum Studies. Prior to Eight Blackbird, Riley interned with Chicago Gallery News and continues to write freelance articles for online publication. They also interned with Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art as the Development and Administrative Intern and with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as the Development Intern. Riley is returning to DePaul University to pursue their Master’s in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse and aims to pursue a career in development and fundraising for arts institutions. Outside of work, Riley is an avid reader and writer and has recently begun painting after a three year hiatus from making art.


Employment Opportunities

Click here for current employment opportunities at Eighth Blackbird.