[ Alumni Announcement ]
Eighth Blackbird Named Musical America’s
2017 Ensemble of the Year
In addition to being named Musical America’s 2017 Ensemble of the Year, Eighth Blackbird (Norfolk ’97) celebrates its 20th anniversary with its fourth GRAMMY® Award, Chamber Music America’s inaugural Visionary Award, and the coveted MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
Over the course of two decades, Eighth Blackbird has commissioned and premiered hundreds of works by composers such as David Lang, Steven Mackey, Missy Mazzoli, and Steve Reich, whose Double Sextet went on to win the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. The ensemble served as Music Director of the 2009 Ojai Music Festival, has held residencies at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the University of Chicago, and holds an ongoing Ensemble-in-Residence position at the University of Richmond. The 2015-16 season featured a pioneering residency at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art: a living installation with open rehearsals, performances, guest artists, and public talks.
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, imagistic poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird: “I know noble accents / And lucid, inescapable rhythms; / But I know, too, / That the blackbird is involved / In what I know.” Eighth Blackbird is managed by David Lieberman Artists.
Since it’s founding in 1898 as a weekly newspaper covering drama, music and the arts, Musical America Worldwide today is a well known resource for the international performing arts community. Alongside Eighth Blackbird, the 2017 Award Winners include Yuja Wang (Artist of the Year), Susanna Mälkki (Conductor of the Year), Eric Owens (Vocalist of the Year) and Andrew Norman (Composer of the Year).