The University of Chicago Music Department’s ensemble-in-residence, eighth blackbird, received two honors Feb. 10 at the 50th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
eighth blackbird’s “strange imaginary animals,” the contemporary chamber music ensemble’s fourth release, was recognized as “Best Chamber Music Performance,” and the recording’s producer, Judith Sherman, was honored as “Best Producer of the Year, Classical.”
Another University of Chicago Grammy winner was Sen. Barack Obama. Obama, Senior Lecturer in the Law School, won the “Best Spoken Word” category for the audio recording of his book, The Audacity of Hope.
eighth blackbird, which takes its name from the Wallace Stevens poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” is a contemporary classical sextet, comprised of Tim Munro, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; Matt Albert, violin and viola; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Matthew Duvall, percussion; and Lisa Kaplan, piano. 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. eighth blackbird is one of four professional ensembles currently in residence at the University. In addition to being in resident in the Music Department, the sextet participates in the University’s new music ensemble, Contempo.
“This group of vital young artists are completely engaged with new music and give it a truly distinctive voice,” said Anne W. Robertson, Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor and Acting Chair of the Music Department. “In addition to being the brilliant, charismatic performers that they are, they perform a specific role in our curriculum. We were thrilled to learn of their Grammy for strange imaginary animals.”
Like the University’s other Artist-in-Residence ensembles, the renowned Pacifica Quartet, the Newberry Consort, acclaimed for historically accurate performances on original period instruments, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, which is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber ensembles in the world — eighth blackbird works with Chicago’s student musicians in sectionals, coachings, and open rehearsals.
The Grammy-award winning eighth blackbird disc includes “Friction Systems,” a work by graduate student, David Gordon. While a student at Chicago, Gordon has written works for eighth blackbird, the Pacifica Quartet, and Contempo.
For more information, a chance to hear eighth blackbird, and for a complete list of upcoming concerts, please visit eighth blackbird’s Web site: www.eighthblackbird.com.
The Grammy-winners will be performing on Chicago campus on May 9, 2008 at 7:30 p.m at the Fulton Recital Hall in Goodspeed Hall (1010 East 59th Street) as part of Contempo’s “Tomorrow's Music Today.”