Staff


Lab Director

elaine_martoneIn her more than 35 years as a music industry professional, Elaine Martone has devoted her life to making a difference in the world of serious music.

At Telarc as Executive Vice President of Production, Elaine Martone built the finest audio production team in the industry, garnering praise for excellence in all major audio publications. She led the Production Department of 12 highly motivated creative individuals who worked seamlessly to achieve the company’s goals and mission of audio excellence while adhering to the highest standards of integrity.  She was responsible for post-production audio direction and approval for every Telarc release.  As a key executive in planning and creative decision making in weekly Artist and Repertoire meetings, she managed more than 1,500 projects on time and on budget, accountable for over $6 million annually in production costs, and $15 million in sales.

A world-class producer, she is a 5-time Grammy Award winner in both Classical and Jazz, and a 14-time Grammy nominee; has been a member of the Grammy Producers and Engineers Wing Committee in 2008; and a participant in the Grammy Classical Screening Committee in 2006.

Elaine is Festival Producer for the world-renowned Ojai Music Festival, one of the most exciting and creative festivals in the field, since January 2012. In this position, she is in charge of budgets, logistics, planning and execution for over 30 events during the annual 4 day festival held in Ojai, California each June.

With her husband, Robert Woods, she has formed a music enterprise, Sonarc Music and is pursuing her passion, producing great music and musicians, as well as working with talented young people.  Elaine’s leisure time is given to spending time with her family, and she is an avid reader who also enjoys cooking and gardening as well as competitive ballroom dancing, fitness, volunteer activities and a variety of music. She was a founding board member of Red {An Orchestra}, which completed 7 seasons in Cleveland, Ohio.  She and her husband reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.


Deputy Lab Director

Three and a half years ago, after working seven years at Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County, Annie Higgins decided to leave her post as Executive Director to pursue a career in the arts. At that time, she joined the Eighth Blackbird staff as the Company/Operations manager and has hit the ground running ever since. For the last several years, as Eighth Blackbird’s Company and Operations Manager, she has honed her skills as being a razor sharp wing-woman. She has strong administrative skills, the ability to simplify complex situations, and a deep knowledge of the inner workings of Eighth Blackbird. Her work is fueled by her strong desire to support the work of the ensemble, and create a comfortable environment for them to continue to flourish artistically. 

She is committed to her local Chicago community and started the blog Secret Weapon, where she interviews Chicago composers. She also is one of the programmers for the series Comfort Music, at Chicago’s Comfort Station, and in her spare time writes pop songs for her band Weatherman, and composes music for things like Theater Oobleck’s Baudelaire in a Box. All this to say, she knows what it means to be an artist and thoroughly enjoys supporting the art that Eighth Blackbird creates. 


Stage Manager

peter_ferryCelebrated as “the ingenious percussionist Peter Ferry,” (Chicago Sun-Times), Peter Ferry (b.1991, New York City) is a young American percussion soloist dedicated to compelling performances of contemporary repertoire and innovative collaborations.

Following his concerto debut at age 18, Ferry has been called as “one of the most promising and committed soloists of his generation” by composer Michael Daugherty and has championed the concerti of Joe Duddell, Emmanuel Sejourne, Michael Torke, Ney Rosauro, and Jacob ter Veldhuis among others.

Collaborations with choreographer Nick Pupillo have been praised as “full of vitality” (Chicago Tribune), and projects with live flame working glass artist Carrie Fertig have been nominated for the Coburg Prize and inaugurated into the European Museum of Modern Glass’s permanent collection with performances in Germany. As a TEDx speaker, Ferry delivered the closing talk and performance on creative collaborations titled “Striking at the Edge.” 

A frequent touring recitalist, Ferry’s solo shows have garnered him reviews as “an artist of vision… presenting percussion in a stunning, thoughtful way” (Rochester Fringe Festival critic Jeff Spevak) and led to performances across the United States and abroad. His experimental Earsight Duo collaborations with video artist Xuan have been called “breathtaking… funny, boundary-pushing, thought-provoking” (Democrat and Chronicle). 

In the American contemporary music community, Ferry has stepped in as a guest percussionist with acclaimed ensembles Alarm Will Sound, Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, and Ensemble Dal Niente.

An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music, Ferry graduated with the first ever John Beck Percussion Scholarship, an Arts Leadership Program certificate, and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate recognizing “outstanding performing ability.”


8bblab-circle-crimson