Eighth Blackbird moves music forward through innovative performance, advocacy for music by living composers, and its legacy of guiding an emerging generation of musicians.
Eighth Blackbird, hailed as “one of the smartest, most dynamic ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune), began in 1996 as a group of six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory students and continues today under the leadership of founding members Lisa Kaplan (executive director) and Matthew Duvall (artistic director).
Eighth Blackbird has won four Grammy Awards for Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance over its 23-year history and has become “a brand-name defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality” (Detroit Free Press). It has commissioned and premiered hundreds of works by established and emerging composers, including Steve Reich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet and works by Andy Akiho, Bryce Dessner, Michael Gordon, Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Lang, David T. Little, Nico Muhly, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Julia Wolfe, and Pamela Z. Through performances in its Chicago home base and at venues across the U.S. and around the world, Eighth Blackbird has brought innovative presentations of works by living composers to tens of thousands of music lovers.