Reich at Millennium: 18 musicians x 100 speakers

8th blackbird has returned to roost--if only for a moment. The Chicago-based ensemble spent part of the summer teaching and performing in a mountain town overlooking Lake Geneva--Switzerland, not Wisconsin. Now back in Chicago, they are about to open their 2011-2012 season with a free concert at Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion.

eighth blackbird

The concert celebrates the 75th birthday of classic minimalist composer Steve Reich, including his legendary and epic Music for 18 Musicians. For that piece, 8bb will be joined by Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion, the same quartet that joined them last winter at the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as other local musicians.

Also on the program are Reich's Mallet Quartet, unknown to me, and his Double Sextet, commissioned by 8bb, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

You can listen to the pieces at the Millennium Park website or at my Spotify list.

It should be an interesting mix of 8bb fans (aka "birders"), percussion fanatics, professional picnickers, and the occasional Phishhead with a clandestine vaporizer. I'll be there with a bottle of wine. Be sure to get there early, or the early birders will get the best piece of grass.

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