The Grammy Award-winning eighth blackbird unleashes its provocative and mind-changing style Friday, Oct. 2 in the opening concert of Lawrence University’s four-part 2015-16 Artist Series.
The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Tickets, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors and $18-20 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.
The Chicago-based sextet — Matthew Duvall, percussion; Nathalie Joachim, flutes; Lisa Kaplan, piano; Yvonne Lam, violin & viola; Michael Maccaferri, clarinets; and Nicholas Photinos, cello — has won over audiences with its kinetic style that combines rock band energy with string quartet finesse and storefront theater audacity.
“Eighth blackbird brings a level of engagement to their performances that is singular and remarkable,” said David Bell, associate professor of music at Lawrence who teaches clarinet. “I can’t think of another ensemble that brings more to the stage, or offers more to their audience. Regardless of the kind of music you gravitate toward, hearing eighth blackbird will make you want more of whatever they might be doing that night, which is probably going to be completely different the next time you hear them.”
The ensemble’s discography includes 13 recordings, including three that have been recognized with Grammy Awards: “strange imaginary animals,” 2008, Best Chamber Music Performance and Classical Producer of the Year (Judith Sherman); “Lonely Motel: Music from Slide,” 2011, Best Small Ensemble Performance; “Meanwhile,” 2012, Best Small Ensemble Performance and Contemporary Classical Composition (Stephen Hartke).
“Eighth blackbird brings a level of engagement to their performances that is singular and remarkable. I can’t think of another ensemble that brings more to the stage, or offers more to their audience.”
– David Bell
In his review for New York City’s WQXR of the ensemble’s latest project, “Filament,” released this September, Daniel Stephen Johnson said “As meticulous as their programming may be, on concert or on recordings, it is seldom as intensely focused as it is on their latest album.”
Founded in 1996 at, the group derived its name from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens’ 1917 poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” All former students at the Oberlin Conservatory, they hold Ensemble-in-Residence positions at the University of Chicago and the University of Richmond.
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.