Category: eighth blackbird

8bb Composition Contest Results

Last night at the MCA, a hundred curious audience members gathered to hear eighth blackbird perform 3 new commissions. The composers commissioned had been selected as part of the first-ever eighth blackbird / Finale / American Composers Forum composition contest. More than 500 composers applied [yours truly respectfully recused himself], 3 were chosen, of which... Read more »

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. The concert celebrates the... Read more »

8bb at MCA: PowerLESS

Chicago-based, Grammy-award winning eighth blackbird was back at the MCA on Saturday for PowerLESS, the 2nd of 2 concerts exploring music’s ability or inability to express anything whatsoever.  The program featured Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita for solo violin in d minor and Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, each piece ostensibly making no attempt... Read more »

Discussion Ensues: Meaning, Expression, and eighth blackbird

Extra-musical programs may seem gimmicky, but then, days later, when you’re still discussing the merits of the program with friends–non-musicians even!–it becomes clear that the extra-musicality gives the music hooks which the audience can use to hang on.  Such was the fallout from the eighth blackbird concert on Saturday at the MCA, from which spiraled... Read more »

rvw: 8th blackbird at MCA

“If lyrics make people do things, then how come we don’t love each other.” – Frank Zappa At the MCA Saturday night, eighth blackbird, the reliably flawless Chicago-based ensemble, attempted to show music’s power of expression, offering a counter-argument to  Stravinsky’s famous aphorism that music is “essentially powerless to express anything at all.”   The... Read more »

On second thought: Classical Music is dead.

Unlike pop music, which seeks to be as timely and contemporary as possible (and then fades from popularity minutes later), Classical music has proven its timelessness–hence the label.  But what does Classical music mean today?  Is it still relevant?  Can we even call it Classical music?   Such questions are interesting for we bloggers to... Read more »

Review: eighth blackbird - "Slide"

Before going to eighth blackbird‘s concert Wednesday at the Harris, I had a vague idea what to expect.  Vague, as in, fuzzy, out of focus.  Before seeing it I called Steve Mackey’s piece a “genre-blending song-cycle”, which isn’t totally wrong, but not quite right.  The program notes helped to clarify the picture quite a bit but still... Read more »

Wednesday: eighth blackbird

Last week was MusicNOW, Saturday was MAVerick, Tuesday is Fulcrum Point, and Wednesday brings eighth blackbird.  [Is there a theme here?  Except for Fulcrum Point, all of these ensembles have idiosyncratic capitalization.  And here I am writing on ChicagoNOW  And then there’s also dal niente.] eighth blackbird’s concert is the Chicago premiere of “Slide” by... Read more »