eighth blackbird Performs New Music by Sleeping Giant on Monday, January 18 in Zankel Hall
A fusion of live music and visual design, Hand Eye consists of six works, one by each of the Sleeping Giant composers, all inspired by contemporary artworks in the private collection of Maxine and Stuart Frankel. Images of these works can be found here. Some of composers chose to aurally represent their chosen artwork, while others responded more broadly to the subject matter. Heard as a continuous whole, Hand Eye is an audio tour through a stunning collection of contemporary art, and a testament to the power of dialogue across artistic disciplines.
Hand Eye transports audiences to a soul-studded jam session (Ted Hearne’s By-By Huey), the buzzing contagion of an internet meme (Andrew Norman’s Mine, Mime, Meme), a high-velocity adventure-ride (Robert Honstein’s Conduit), a shimmering yet blinding landscape (Christopher Cerrone’s South Catalina), the flickering and pulsing of ink on paper (Timo Andres’s Checkered Shade), and a warm but tattered beauty (Jacob Cooper’s Cast). The evening-length work will feature stage design by Deborah Johnson for CandyStations, creator of performance visuals for Wilco, Sufjan Stevens, and St. Vincent, among others.
About the Artists
The musicians of eighth blackbird combine the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based, three-time Grammy Award-winning sextet has provoked and impressed audiences for 20 years across the country and around the world with impeccable precision and a signature style.
eighth blackbird began in 1996 as a group of six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory students. Over the course of two decades, eighth blackbird has commissioned and premiered hundreds of works by dozens of composers including David T. Little, Steven Mackey, Missy Mazzoli, and Steve Reich, whose commissioned work, Double Sextet, went on to win the Pulitzer Prize (2009). A long-term relationship with Chicago’s Cedille Records has produced six acclaimed recordings and three Grammy Awards for strange imaginary animals (2008), Lonely Motel: Music from Slide (2011) and Meanwhile (2013).
eighth blackbird recently released Filament (Cedille Records), which centers around a live recording of Philip Glass’s early masterpiece, Two Pages. The album includes music by Bryce Dessner (Murder Ballades), Nico Muhly (Doublespeak), and Son Lux, whose remixes gather sounds from the others’ compositions, stringing together the musical “filament” of the album, and also features the voice of Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). The album was selected as Album of the Week by WQXR/Q2 Music, Seattle’s Second Inversion, and the Chicago Tribune. The San Francisco Chronicle called it “wonderful…a fine release…comprising both restless energy and reverence.” In December 2015, it was nominated for a Grammy Award.
eighth blackbird’s mission extends beyond recording and touring to curation and education. The ensemble served as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival (2009), enjoyed a three-year residency at the Curtis Institute of Music, and holds ongoing Ensemble-in-Residence positions at the University of Richmond and the University of Chicago. The 2015-2016 season brings a lively residency at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring open rehearsals, an interactive gallery installation, performances, and public talks.
The name “eighth blackbird” derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens’s evocative, aphoristic poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917).
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