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Described by The New Yorker as "friendly, unpretentious, idealistic and highly skilled," eighth blackbird promises its ever-increasing audiences provocative and engaging performances. It is widely lauded for its performing style, often playing from memory with virtuosic and theatrical flair, and for its efforts to make new music accessible to wide audiences. The ensemble is in residence at the University of Richmond in Virginia and at the University of Chicago. In previous seasons the sextet has appeared in Amsterdam, South Korea, Mexico, and throughout North America, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the La Jolla Chamber Music Society, and has performed as soloist with the Utah Symphony and the American Composers Orchestra. During the summers the group has appeared several times at the Great Lakes Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and Cincinnati's Music X, and has also appeared at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Since its founding in 1996, eighth blackbird has been active in commissioning new works from eminent composers such as George Perle, Frederic Rzewski, and Joseph Schwantner, as well as ground-breaking works from Jennifer Higdon, Derek Bermel, David Schober, Daniel Kellogg, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Jefferson Friedman and the Minimum Security Composers Collective. The group received the first BMI / Boudleaux-Bryant Fund Commission and the 2004 NEA / CMA Special Commissioning Award, and has received grants from BMI, Meet the Composer, the Greenwall Foundation, and Chamber Music America, among others. The ensemble has enjoyed acclaim for its recordings and is active in teaching young artists about contemporary music. In addition to its residencies, the ensemble has taught masterclasses and conducted outreach activities throughout the country, including the Aspen Music School System (grades K-12), the La Jolla Chamber Music Series, the Candlelight Concert Series and Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa. The members of eighth blackbird hold degrees in music performance from Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and Northwestern University. The group derives its name from the Wallace Stevens poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

The eighth stanza reads:
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know

*Molly Alicia Barth performs on a Lillian Burkart flute and piccolo.

+ Matthew Duvall endorses Pearl Drums and Adams Musical Instruments

Role: Ensemble 
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Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group