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Composers Showcase Concert to coordi- nate for IMEA and I must say this, while I am very proud of all the guest compos- ers, performers, ensembles and music education luminaries that have graced our stage during this annual event, I have never been more excited to announce our headliners. T e international chamber music sensation, eighth blackbird, will open our program and help co-moderate our interviews with the winning student composers. It will be a session you just simply won’t want to miss!


Grammy-winning eighth blackbird promises, and delivers, provocative and mind-changing performances to its burgeoning audiences. Combining bracing virtuosity with an alluring sense of irreverence, the sextet debunks the myth that contemporary music is only for a cerebral few. T e ensemble attracts fans of all ages to its performances and recordings, which sparkle with wit and pound with physical energy; it inhabits and explores the sound-world of new music with comfort, conviction, and infectious enthusiasm. eighth blackbird is lauded for its performing style–often playing from memory with theatrical fl air–and for making new music acces- sible to wide audiences. “It’s new music you can bring home to your mother,” observed the Washington Post. Profi led in the New York Times and NPR’s All T ings Considered, the sextet has also been featured on Bloomberg TV’s Muse, CBS News Sunday Morning, St. Paul Sunday, Weekend America, and T e Next Big T ing, among others. T e group is in residence at the University of Richmond in Virginia and the University of Chicago.


Now celebrating its 15th season, eighth blackbird showcases music by the two most recent Pulitzer Prize-winning composers in its 2010-11 recording and performing repertoire, programming new and recent works (written expressly for the ensemble) by both Jennifer Higdon and Steve Reich on its season concerts and CDs.


T e sextet has appeared in Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and South Korea; at nearly every major chamber music venue in North America, with performances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum, Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Cleveland Museum of Art, and La Jolla Chamber Music Society; and has been


Fall 2011 | www.ilmea.org 59


concert soloist with the Utah Symphony and the American Composers Orchestra. A summer favorite, the group took the reigns as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival’s 2009 season, and it has appeared several times at Cincinnati’s Music X, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, also performing at Tanglewood, New York’s 20th annual Bang on a Can Marathon, and Bravo!-Vail.


Since its founding in 1996, eighth blackbird has actively commissioned and recorded new works from such eminent composers as Steve Reich, George Perle, Frederic Rzewski, and Joseph Schwantner, and has commissioned groundbreaking works from a younger generation ( Jennifer Higdon, Stephen Hartke, Derek Bermel, David Schober, Daniel Kellogg, and Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez). T e group was honored in 2007 with the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and a Meet T e Composer Award. eighth blackbird received the fi rst BMI/Boudleaux-Bryant Fund Commission, was the fi rst contemporary music group to win the Grand Prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, won the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the 2004 NEA/CMA Special Commissioning Award, and has received grants from BMI, Meet T e


Composer, the Greenwall Foundation, and Chamber Music America, among many others.


T e members of eighth blackbird hold degrees in music performance from Oberlin Conservatory, among other institutions. T e group derives its name from the Wallace Stevens poem “T ir- teen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” T e eighth stanza reads:


I know noble accents And lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know, too, T at the blackbird is involved In what I know.


Visit the ensemble’s offi cial web site at www.eighthblackbird.org for more information.


I truly enjoy my opportunity to serve the membership of IMEA as a spokesperson for Secondary General Music teachers in Illinois. It is an honor to represent and support you. Wishing you a terrifi c fall as a new year begins!


Brayer Teague Fine Arts Department Chairperson Downers Grove North High School 4436 Main Street Downers Grove, IL 60515 P: 630.795.8081 F: 630.795.8090 sgm@ilmea.org


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