singing in the dead of night

The first week of October, Eighth Blackbird goes into the studio at the Logan Center in Chicago’s Hyde Park to record singing in the dead of night by Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. The album will be released on longtime Eighth Blackbird label partners, Chicago-based Cedille Records, in late spring of 2020. The live version staged by Susan Marshall we be remounted and presented during the 2020-21 season.

David Lang, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe © Peter Serling

Founding Eighth Blackbird violinist Matt Albert returns to play violin and Bang on a Can All Star Ken Thomson joins the ensemble on clarinet for the project. Five-time Grammy award-winning Elaine Martone is the producer and Cedille’s Bill Mayone, the engineer.

The title, a reference to the Beatles’ Blackbird, is also inspired by Wolfe’s sonic portrait of insomnia. In 2008, The New York Times’ Allan Kozinn called the piece “energetic and occasionally spooky while the Guardian’s thought parts of it “scary and mesmerizing”.

Nick Photinos, Ken Thomson and Nathalie Joachim pc: Deirdre Harrison

singing in the dead of night  marked the first collaboration between maverick composers David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe (Bang on a Can) and seminal New York choreographer Susan Marshall. This 60-minute, fully-staged theatrical production had the ensemble jamming ‘round the piano, guitar and accordion in hand; ritualistically and tragicomically dropping metal objects onto an amplified floor; and sweeping through an amplified table filled with sand. Inspired by the ensemble’s distinctive predilection for memorization and the embodiment of their music through movement, singing in the dead of night was a continuous weave of music and motion. More about the 2008 production here!

Matt Albert, Matthew Duvall, Lisa Kaplan and Nick Photinos 2007
Nick Photinos, Lisa Kaplan 2007

singing in the dead of night was commissioned by eighth blackbird through the generous support of the Jebediah Foundation, Frederica and James R. Rosenfield (specifically towards work of David Lang), San Francisco Performances, and the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan.

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