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eighth blackbird \ˈātth ˈblak-ˌbərd\ slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.).

1. verb. to act with commitment and virtuosity; to zap, zip, sock.
2. adjective. having fearless (yet irreverent) qualities.
3. noun. a flock of songbirds, common in urban areas since 1996.

eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based, two-time Grammy-winning "super-musicians" (LA Times) entertain and provoke audiences across the country and around the world.

In addition to its longstanding and fruitful relationships as Ensemble in Residence at the University of Richmond and University of Chicago, in 2012 eighth blackbird commences a three-year, Mellon Foundation-funded term as Ensemble in Residence at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. eighth blackbird will also lead extended, one-time residencies at University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland. Other highlights of the ensemble's busy 2012/13 season include debuts with the Kansas City Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic and in Calgary, an extensive tour of Missouri and a three-city tour of the Netherlands.

This season will also feature eagerly anticipated premieres of new works by Aaron Jay Kernis (the ethereal Pieces of Winter Sky), The National's Bryce Dessner (a piece inspired by early American folk music), Dutch composer Mayke Nas (a fascinating theatrical exploration), Steve Mackey (music from his Grammy-winning Slide, written for the group) and Australian composer Brett Dean (the searing, intense Sextet).

A decade-long relationship with Chicago's Cedille Records has produced five acclaimed recordings, including the brand new Meanwhile, released in September 2012. The ensemble has won two Grammy Awards, for the recordings strange imaginary animals and Lonely Motel: Music from Slide.

eighth blackbird's members hail from America's Great Lakes, Keystone, Golden and Bay states, and Australia's Sunshine State. There are four foodies, three beer snobs and one exercise junkie. The name "eighth blackbird" derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens's evocative, aphoristic poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917). eighth blackbird is managed by David Lieberman Artists.

Michael Maccaferri is a Rico Performing Artist and Clinician.
Matthew Duvall proudly endorses Pearl Drums and Adams Musical Instruments, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Zildjian Cymbals, and Black Swamp Percussion Accessories.
Lisa Kaplan is a Steinway Artist.

eighth blackbird   eighth blackbird, Chicago, IL, United States

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