The University of Chicago News Office
Jan. 18, 2002 Press Contact: Cathy Sweitzer
Director of Communications, University of Chicago Presents
(773) 834-7965

eighth blackbird to perform at Mandel Hall

The Contemporary Chamber Players will open its season Saturday, Jan. 19, 2002, with three Chicago premieres and a program selected by eighth blackbird. Performances will take place at 8 p.m. in Mandel Hall. Ticket prices are $15 (student price $8, with valid ID). For further information or to purchase tickets, please call (773) 702-8068, or visit

The program is as follows:
- Minimum Security Trailer by Minimum Security Composers Collective (Chicago Premiere)
- Thirteen Ways Suite by Thomas Albert
- Portals. . . Where Birds Fly Still[ vi] by Randolph Coleman (Chicago Premiere)
- Pocket Symphony by Frederic Rzewski (Chicago Premiere)

Hailed as ambassadors of new music, eighth blackbird has a growing reputation for its astounding musical versatility as well as its dedication to the works of today’s composers. The sextet, currently ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University consists of Molly Alicia Barth (flutes), Matthew Albert (violin & viola), Matthew Duvall (percussion), Michael Maccaferri (clarinets), Nicholas Photinos (cello) and Lisa Kaplan (piano).

Each of the members of eighth blackbird holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and artist diplomas in chamber music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory. The group derives its name from the Wallace Stevens poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

In 2000, eighth blackbird received the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the first BMI/Boudleaux-Bryant Fund Commission. The sextet recently was awarded commissioning grants from CMA and Meet the Composer, adding works by Randolph Coleman and Daniel Kellogg to its repertoire. In 1998, it became the first contemporary ensemble to win first prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, where it also was awarded the Rockport Chamber Music Festival Prize. The ensemble also claimed the 1998 and 2000 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. In 1996, the year it was founded at the Oberlin Conservatory, eighth blackbird was awarded first prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. "Round Nut Tool" eighth blackbird’s debut CD, was released in 1999.

The Minimum Security Composers Collective Composers (Dennis DeSantis, Roshanne Etezady, Adam Silverman and Ken Ueno) met as graduate students at the Yale School of Music. They come from remarkably different musical backgrounds: from traditional "conservatory classical" to funk and jazz, from rock bands to musical theater. Minimum Security unites with ensembles and soloists with a demonstrated interest in contemporary music to present concerts featuring world premieres by each of its members.

Minimum Security Trailer is a sampling–an appetizer–of a larger commission by eighth blackbird of the Minimum Security Composers Collective. The commission, titled di/verge, comprises four pieces: Dennis DeSantis’ Powerless, Roshanne Etezady’s Damaged Goods, Adam Silverman’s In Another Man’s Skin and Ken Ueno’s Pharmakeon.

Like scenes from a movie trailer, movements have been selected by eighth blackbird to give audiences a taste of the larger work to come. The idea for an eighth blackbird/MSCC collaboration arose when the musicians of eighth blackbird asked for "not just another" piece of concert music. Since the four composers of MSCC align themselves to collaborate professionally, why not find a way for the composers to collaborate musically as well? The result is a large-scale 16-movement composition, with four movements written by each composer.

For more information about eighth blackbird, please visit

This performance will take place in Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St., on the University of Chicago campus. There is free parking nearby, and the venue is handicapped accessible. People with disabilities or who are in need of assistance should call (773) 702-8068 prior to the event. Further information on the Contemporary Chamber Players and this season’s performances can be found at
Last modified at 01:36 PM CST on Friday, January 18, 2002.

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