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Final eighth blackbird Residency Recital of 2012-13 Season Features World Premieres of Works by Curtis Composers

Pieces inspired by Monteverdi's Madrigals of Love and War performed March 15 on the Student Recital Series by ensemble39, Philadelphia-based chamber group of Curtis students and alumni

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(March 13, 2013) Six works by student composers receive their world premieres on the Student Recital Series Friday, March 15 at 8 p.m. Inspired by Monteverdi's eighth book of madrigals, also known as the Madrigals of Love and War, the works are performed by ensemble39, a Philadelphia-based chamber group of Curtis students and alumni, and coached by eighth blackbird. Each work is arranged for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and double bass. These premieres are paired with David Lang's these broken wings, performed by eighth blackbird, and Prokofiev's Quintet in G minor, Op. 39, performed by ensemble39.

The recital marks the culmination of a week-long visit from eighth blackbird, the school's ensemble-in-residence, which includes workshops with Curtis composers, a career forum, and in-depth coachings with both students and ensemble39. Part of a ground-breaking three-year residency funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this is eighth blackbird's third visit to Curtis during the 2012-13 season.

The performance takes place in Field Concert Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia. Admission is free and tickets are not required. 

eighth blackbird, which includes Curtis alumna Yvonne Lam (Violin '05), began a multi-year residency at Curtis in 2012. Called "a new breed of super-musicians" (Los Angeles Times), the sextet is an active member of the Curtis community, visiting, coaching, and performing with students throughout the year. Designed to prepare students to enter today's challenging classical music world, the residency will encourage students to find creative new ways to engage audiences while maintaining the highest artistic standards. The multiple Grammy Award-winning ensemble, which performed on the Grammy Awards pre-telecast in February 2013, most recently won Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for their album Meanwhile (Cedille Records).

Recent commissions for the Chicago-based group include Steve Reich's Double Sextet, Jennifer Higdon's On a Wire, and Steve Mackey's Slide, and future collaborators include Amy Beth Kirsten, Brett Dean, Aaron Jay Kernis, John Luther Adams, and Mayke Nas. eighth blackbird holds ongoing ensemble-in-residence positions at the University of Richmond and University of Chicago and has led short-term residencies at the Colburn School, University of Michigan, Oberlin College, Southern Methodist University, and Rice University. The name "eighth blackbird" derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens's evocative, aphoristic poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917).

The musicians of ensemble39 consist of eight winds and strings performing together in various combinations. With instrumentation inspired by Prokofiev's Quintet in G minor, Op. 39 for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass, the group includes current students and recent graduates of Curtis. Their collective accolades include major prizes in the Tchaikovsky and Primrose International Competitions, performances at the Marlboro, Music from Angel Fire, Taos, Verbier, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, Ravinia, and Sarasota festivals, and the Perlman Chamber Music Workshop; plus performances with the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra.

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 provides its 165 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. The school's distinctive "learn by doing" approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists since its founding in 1924; Curtis alumni hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra, and each season they are featured as guest soloists with the world's leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series.

Curtis's innovative programs encourage students to perform often and hone 21st-century musical skills, and the school's facilities offer superb spaces for music-making as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. Students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour in addition to more than 150 performances in and around Philadelphia each year. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe.

eighth blackbird residency recital: ensemble39 plays works by Curtis composers
Friday, March 15 at 8 p.m.
Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia
TBA Works by Curtis composers (world premieres)
PROKOFIEV Quintet in G minor, Op. 39
Alexandra von der Embse, oboe ('12)
Stanislav Chernyshev, clarinet
Rebecca Anderson, violin
Vicki Powell, viola ('10)
Robin Kesselman, double bass
LANG these broken wings
eighth blackbird
Tim Munro, flute
Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinet
Yvonne Lam, violin ('05)
Nicholas Photinos, cello 
Matthew Duvall, percussion
Lisa Kaplan, piano
Free; no tickets required.
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