Performance Monday, January 18, 2016 | 7:30 PM

eighth blackbird

Zankel Hall
Three-time Grammy-winning instrumental sextet eighth blackbird has quickly developed a “reputation for brilliant and engaging performances” (The Dallas Morning News), leading The New York Times to ask, “What ambitious and skillful young composer wouldn’t jump at the chance to write for a group whose professionalism and proficiency is amplified by that indefinable X factor, charisma?” Sleeping Giant, a collective of six young American composers (Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman) has created six pieces, each highlighting a different sound world that together comprise the full-length Hand Eye.


  • eighth blackbird
    ·· Nathalie Joachim, Flute
    ·· Michael J. Maccaferri, Clarinet
    ·· Yvonne Lam, Violin and Viola
    ·· Nicholas Photinos, Cello
    ·· Matthew Duvall, Percussion
    ·· Lisa Kaplan, Piano
  • Stage Design by Deborah Johnson for CandyStations


  • SLEEPING GIANT Hand Eye (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
    ·· CHRISTOPHER CERRONE South Catalina
    ·· ANDREW NORMAN Mine, Mime, Meme
    ·· ROBERT HONSTEIN Conduit
    ·· TIMO ANDRES Checkered Shade
    ·· TED HEARNE By-By Huey
    ·· JACOB COOPER Cast

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.


  • eighth blackbird

    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, 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.

    One of the industry's most formidable ensembles, eighth blackbird began in 1996 as a group of six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory students. Over the course of two decades, the ensemble 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 in 2009. A long-term relationship with Chicago's Cedille Records has produced six acclaimed recordings, including three Grammy Awards for strange imaginary animals (2008), Lonely Motel: Music from Slide (2011), and meanwhile (2013).

    The group's mission extends beyond performance 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, aninteractive gallery installation, performances, and public talks. eighth blackbird is also ensemble-in-residence with Contempo. The group makes its debut in Poland and with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society this season, and returns to the Kennedy Center, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Vancouver New Music, University of Texas at Austin, and University of California, Berkeley.

    eighth blackbird's members hail from the Great Lakes, Keystone, Golden, Empire, and Bay states. The name "eighth blackbird" derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens's evocative, aphoristic poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." Visit for more information.

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  • Deborah Johnson

    Stage and live visuals designer Deborah Johnson, aka CandyStations, is a multidisciplinary artist who has collaborated with artists Sufjan Stevens, Ray LaMontagne, St. Vincent, Lucius, M. Ward, and Wilco, and with organizations such as Pomegranate Arts, Tumblr, and SPIN magazine. She has performed in such venues as MASS MoCA, Museum of Modern Art, Radio City Music Hall, Prospect Park Bandshell, Madison Square Garden, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Fillmore, Ryman Auditorium, and Vienna Konzerthaus.

    Johnson has created site-specific installations and visuals for events at SXSW, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 92YTribeca, Chicago's Millennium Park, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She has also completed residencies at MASS MoCA, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Texas Performing Arts at University of Texas at Austin, and Atlantic Center for the Arts, where she worked directly with audio-visual artist Carsten Nicolai.

    Recent and notable design credits include the following shows: Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz (world tour); Ray LaMontagne, Supernova (US tour); Lucius, Wildewoman (Terminal 5, Celebrate Brooklyn!); ETHEL, Documerica (tour); and Planetarium (world premiere at BAM and Disney Concert Hall), a commissioned work by Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, and Bryce Dessner. Johnson is also professor of four-dimensional design at the Pratt Institute, professor of performance design at New York University MAGNET, and the sole founder and director of her visual performance design company, CandyStations.

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Pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 PM in Zankel Hall with members of the composers collective Sleeping Giant in conversation with Jeremy Geffen, Director of Artistic Planning, Carnegie Hall.

At a Glance

Hand Eye is a collection inspired by a collection. Each of the six composers of Sleeping Giant chose a work belonging to the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art to use as inspiration for their own musical contribution to Hand Eye, and yet only as a point of departure—it is not important that the audience see the original works of art or really know anything about them. And while some composers chose to recreate or aurally represent their chosen artists’ processes, others responded more broadly to the works’ subject matters or characters. 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. 
Program Notes


Major support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation.
Public support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall's Composer Club.
This performance is part of Fast Forward.

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