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Music: eighth blackbird

By Anne Arenstein · January 5th, 2010 · CityBeat Recommends

The new year for Chamber music opens with strings. And flutes. And clarinets, prepared piano, flexatones, harmonicas, bongos and cowbells.

That’s standard operating procedure for eighth blackbird, the wildly innovative, Grammy-award winning sextet acclaimed as the country’s premier contemporary music ensemble. Acknowledges flautist Tim Munro, “We like to wreak havoc in a creative way.”

The group makes a welcome return to Cincinnati with Meanwhile…, a program of five works by established masters and exciting young composers, all but one commissioned by eighth blackbird.

The program highlight is Steve Reich’s “Double Sextet” (2007), co-commissioned by the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s “Music X” series and awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Originally written for a sextet playing against a recording of themselves, six CCM students will join eighth blackbird for the local premier of the live version.

Having played all over the world, eighth blackbird spends more than half the year on tour. Since 1997, they have commissioned more than 80 compositions, recorded four albums and racked up major prizes, commission grants and a Grammy in 2008.

They perform at 8 p.m. at CCM's Corbett Auditorium. Read Anne Arenstein's interview and find show details, nearby bars and restaurants here.



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