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Acclaimed Contemporary Music Ensemble eighth blackbird Performs on the Student Recital Series

Joint recital with Curtis 20/21 features works written for eighth blackbird by Steve Reich, Jennifer Higdon, and others

The virtuosic and ground-breaking ensemble eighth blackbird combines forces with Curtis's own contemporary music group, Curtis 20/21, for a joint recital on Wednesday, February 24 at 8 p.m. as part of the ensemble's Curtis residency. The program features works written for eighth blackbird--Steve Reich's Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet, Critical Moments 2 by George Perle, Meanwhile: Incidental Music to Imaginary Puppet Plays by Stephen Hartke, and Zango Bandango by Jennifer Higdon--plus Rain Tree by Tōru Takemitsu. The recital takes place in Field Concert Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia; no tickets are required.

Curtis frequently hosts residencies by world-renowned artists, who work with students in master classes and chamber music coachings. Artists in residence during the 2009-10 season include composer John Corigliano, chamber ensemble OPUS ONE, and renowned pianists Robert Levin and Jonathan Biss.

Grammy-winning eighth blackbird promises--and delivers--provocative and engaging performances to its burgeoning audiences. Combining bracing virtuosity with an alluring sense of irreverence, the sextet is widely lauded for its performing style, often playing from memory with theatrical flair, and for making new music accessible to wide audiences. The New York Times wrote: "eighth blackbird's performances are the picture of polish and precision, and they seem to be thoroughly engaged … by music in a broad range of contemporary styles."

The sextet has appeared at nearly every major chamber music venue in North America, with performances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, and Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as for La Jolla Music Society. It has appeared as soloists with the Utah Symphony and the American Composers Orchestra. The group served as music director of the Ojai Music Festival's 2009 season and 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 twentieth annual Bang on a Can Marathon, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. The ensemble is in residence at the University of Richmond in Virginia and the University of Chicago.

Since its founding in 1996, eighth blackbird has commissioned and recorded new works from such eminent composers as Steve Reich, George Perle, Frederic Rzewski, and Joseph Schwantner, as well as groundbreaking works from a younger generation, including Jennifer Higdon, Stephen Hartke, Derek Bermel, David Schober, Daniel Kellogg, and Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez. The ensemble's four CDs on Cedille Records received critical acclaim. The most recent disc, strange imaginary animals, won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world's leading conservatories, Curtis is highly selective and provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 160 students. In this intimate environment, students receive personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. A busy schedule of performances is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach. This philosophy has produced an impressive number of notable artists since the school's founding in 1924, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, Leila Josefowicz, Lang Lang, and Time for Three.


Student Recital Series: eighth blackbird and Curtis 20/21
Wednesday, February 24 at 8 p.m.

Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia

PERLE Critical Moments 2
HARTKE Meanwhile: Incidental Music to Imaginary Puppet Plays
HIGDON Zango Bandango
REICH Double Sextet

Free; no tickets required.

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