"Uncanny precision and seamless coordination"
--The Chicago Tribune
Last here in 2012, the four-time Grammy Award–winning sextet eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The ensemble displays a "penchant for stylistic diversity and for championing of emerging talents among the younger generation of composers" (The Chicago Tribune).
Murder Ballades is Bryce Dessner's musical meditation on American violence through the prism of this country's rich tradition of folk song. Dessner is guitarist with The National and a gifted composer in his own right, and this substantial work is rambunctious, moving, and dark: a perfect vehicle to highlight eighth blackbird's collective virtuosity.
American composer David T. Little's style has been called "punk classical" and he's been hailed as "one of the most imaginative young composers" on the scene (The New Yorker) with "a knack for overturning musical conventions" (The New York Times). It's hard to imagine a better pairing of artist and composer for the Fortas Series Commission this season.
Performance Timing: Approximately 1-1/2 hours, including one 15-minute intermission