With a mixture of sadness and gratitude Eighth Blackbird announces that Nick Photinos, an extraordinary cellist and a founding member of Eighth Blackbird, will leave the ensemble at the end of the 2019-20 season to pursue solo and collaborative performance projects and to invest himself more deeply in individual and chamber music teaching and mentorship. Nick and his family will remain based in Chicago, but he will continue to teach at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival in 2020, as well as joining the inaugural faculty of an exciting new venture at the led by Seth Parker-Woods at the Center for Advanced Music Studies in New Hampshire. The Chosen Vale International Cello Seminar is designed to offer “a high-calibre educational and mentorship structure for exceptionally gifted artists” from over 14 countries and serve “as a beacon for inclusive and advanced learning, mentorship, and community building.”
“I am incredibly proud of the many things we’ve accomplished over the past 23 years, but most value the connections we’ve forged with audiences and individuals, especially through teaching, coaching, and mentorship,” Nick wrote. “In the work that we’ve done, we’ve had incredible opportunities to change people’s lives, careers, and the way people think about, create, and relate to the music of our time.” In particular, the Blackbird Creative Lab, “was the distillation of so much of what makes Eighth Blackbird so special, and a way to pass that along to a younger generation. I’m so proud of the collaborations we made possible with and amongst those fellows. The Lab alumni community is providing a fertile ground for a lot of new and interesting things yet to happen.”
Commenting on Nick’s departure, percussionist Matthew Duvall said, “Over 23 years, Nick has been the kind of friend and colleague that you never stop learning from. I am so happy for all that his future holds, but I will never stop missing my anchor.”
Eighth Blackbird will be sharing more about its next season and new collaborators in the weeks to come. In the meanwhile, we invite you to join us in sharing your good wishes with Nick.
Everyone at Eighth Blackbird
photo: Joe Mazza