Welcoming eighth blackbird to campus

Kedrik Merwin
January 12, 2015

After several months of planning, the eighth blackbird collaboration is officially under way. The Grammy-winning group of musicians coached our students as they started rehearsing for their own performances. Tonight, we'll have a chance to hear the contemporary chamber music sextet perform in Corson Auditorium.

Their visit this January is just the beginning of a artistic partnership that will extend through most of the second semester. During this first visit, the musicians of eighth blackbird will start the collaborative and creative process, not just with music students, but with writers, filmmakers, dancers and visual artists. Even after they leave campus, our students will continue to develop new performances and art with the members of eighth blackbird. In April, the group will return to campus to make all those plans a reality, in a final performance on April 9.

There are many reasons to be excited by this collaboration but I am especially pleased to have such marvelous professional role models on our campus. Not only are they accomplished musicians, they have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to connecting to new audiences - and they've embraced the idea that they can be their own artistic directors, developing their own concepts and style. They have also been tireless champions of new music.

It is going to be an exciting spring semester.

P.S. I should also point out that Matthew Duvall, the group's percussionist is an Academy alumnus!