Eighth blackbirdâ€™s third consecutive season in residence at Chicagoâ€™s downtown Harris Theater is its most ambitious to date. On December 8, the Grammy-winning sextet presents the first of two concerts in its hometown series: Arnold Schoenbergâ€™s 1912 numerological masterpiece Pierrot lunaire, in a new production conceived and directed by Mark DeChiazza that was first shown to audiences at the Ojai Music Festival this summer. DeChiazza is a New York dancer and choreographer with whom the ensemble has forged a strong working relationship.
eighth blackbird performs almost all of its extensive repertoire from memory, and the players often move about the stage in an almost choreographed way. The new Pierrot lunaire â€“ presented in a program with works by contemporaries and pupils of Schoenberg â€“ will be no exception. Tim Munro, eighth blackbirdâ€™s flutist, says of the ensembleâ€™s newest performance piece:
â€œMark DeChiazza uses movement and gesture to connect to the human core of this remarkable work, and the production includes soprano Lucy Shelton, dancer Elyssa Dole, and, in his impressive theatrical debut (!), our percussionist Matthew Duvall as Pierrot. Arnold Schoenbergâ€™s Pierrot lunaire wears its 97 years incredibly lightly and has everything: feverish intensity, gallows humor, and touching pathos.â€
Munro continues: â€œOne of the many reasons we love the Harris Series is that the theaterâ€™s size, sightlines, and acoustics make it an ideal space for presenting fully-staged works such as Pierrot lunaire and Slide. And the Harris staff has been incredibly supportive, collaborating closely with us on everything from technical planning to marketing to ensure the success of the series.â€ eighth blackbirdâ€™s web site at www.eighthblackbird.com/pierrot has much more information (including videos) about this production.
On March 24, eighth blackbird presents its second Harris Theater production: the evening-long Slide by Steve Mackey and Rinde Eckert, which received its world premiere at Ojai last June.
A list of eighth blackbirdâ€™s Chicago and Chicago-area engagements (during 2009-10) is below. Additional information is available at the groupâ€™s web site, www.eighthblackbird.com.
eighth blackbirdâ€™s 2009-10 Chicago engagements
Schoenberg: Pierrot lunaire
Highland Park, IL
Music Institute of Chicago Residency
â€œWhere Jazz & Contemporary Music Intersectâ€
Contempo / Harris Theater
Naperville, IL â€“ debut
â€œStill Life with Avalancheâ€
Works by Turnage, Fitzell, Nas, Mazzoli, AdÃ¨s, and Reich
Lecture / demonstration
May 14 & 26
â€œTomorrowâ€™s Music Todayâ€