"Music for 18 Musicians" by Steve Reich
     Performance: 
     February 5, 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
     
Produced by eighth blackbird, Video production by Dan Nichols, Nichols Media
     Used with Permission by Hendon Music: An Imagem Company



PERFORMERS:

eighth blackbird
Tim Munro, flutes (piano and marimba for this performance) • Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets
Yvonne Lam, violin & viola • Nicholas Photinos,  cello
Matthew Duvall,  percussion • Lisa Kaplan, piano

Third Coast Percussion
Owen Clayton Condon, percussion • Robert Dillon, percussion
Peter Martin, percussion • David Skidmore, percussion

Meehan/Perkins Duo
Todd Meehan, percussion • Doug Perkins, percussion

Guest Artists
Sunshine Simmons, clarinets • Adam Marks, piano • Amy Briggs, piano
Amy Conn, soprano • Kirsten Hedegaard, soprano
Susan Nelson, soprano • Nina Heebinck, mezzo soprano

This performance was made possible through the generous support of
The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation • Prince Charitable Trusts
The Illinois Arts Council • The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs



Mallet Selection for this Piece:

Ensemble Series Keyboard
Medium hard. A fine choice for the top third register. Also a fine choice for legato lead line playing. No latex cover.
L = 15 3/4"
  [enlarge photo]
Signature Vibraphone - Gary Burton
Yarn wound heads and rattan handles accommodate Gary's requirements on vibraphone.
L = 15 1/2"
  [enlarge photo]
Signature Vibraphone - Terry Gibbs
Medium hard vibe or marimba. Rattan handles.
L = 15 1/4"
  [enlarge photo]
Signature Vibraphone - Terry Gibbs
Hard vibe or marimba. Rattan handles.
L = 15 1/4"
  [enlarge photo]

About the composer:

Steve Reich was recently called "America’s greatest living composer." (The Village VOICE), “...the most original musical thinker of our time” (The New Yorker) and “...among the great composers of the century” (The New York Times).. From his early taped speech pieces It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) to his and video artist Beryl Korot’s digital video opera Three Tales (2002), Mr. Reich's path has embraced not only aspects of Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states The Guardian (London).

Born in New York and raised there and in California, Mr. Reich graduated with honors in philosophy from Cornell University in 1957. For the next two years, he studied composition with Hall Overton, and from 1958 to 1961 he studied at the Juilliard School of Music with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti. Mr. Reich received his M.A. in Music from Mills College in 1963, where he worked with Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud.

During the summer of 1970, with the help of a grant from the Institute for International Education, Mr. Reich studied drumming at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra. In 1973 and 1974 he studied Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan and Gamelan Gambang at the American Society for Eastern Arts in Seattle and Berkeley, California. From 1976 to 1977 he studied the traditional forms of cantillation (chanting) of the Hebrew scriptures in New York and Jerusalem.

In 1966 Steve Reich founded his own ensemble of three musicians, which rapidly grew to 18 members or more. Since 1971, Steve Reich and Musicians have frequently toured the world, and have the distinction of performing to sold-out houses at venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall and the Bottom Line Cabaret.

Mr. Reich's 1988 piece, Different Trains, marked a new compositional method, rooted in It's Gonna Rain and Come Out, in which speech recordings generate the musical material for musical instruments. The New York Times hailed Different Trains as "a work of such astonishing originality that breakthrough seems the only possible description....possesses an absolutely harrowing emotional impact." In 1990, Mr. Reich received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition for Different Trains as recorded by the Kronos Quartet on the Nonesuch label.

Over the years, Steve Reich has received commissions from the Barbican Centre London, the Holland Festival; San Francisco Symphony; the Rothko Chapel; Vienna Festival, Hebbel Theater, Berlin, the Brooklyn Academy of Music for guitarist Pat Metheny; Spoleto Festival USA, West German Radio, Cologne; Settembre Musica, Torino, the Fromm Music Foundation for clarinetist Richard Stoltzman; the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra; Betty Freeman for the Kronos Quartet; and the Festival d'Automne, Paris, for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.

Steve Reich's music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles around the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta; the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas; The Ensemble Modern conducted by Bradley Lubman, The Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by David Robertson, the London Sinfonietta conducted by Markus Stenz and Martyn Brabbins, the Theater of Voices conducted by Paul Hillier, the Schoenberg Ensemble conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano; the Saint Louis Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin; the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Neal Stulberg; the BBC Symphony conducted by Peter Eötvös; and the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.

Several noted choreographers have created dances to Steve Reich's music, including Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker ("Fase," 1983, set to four early works as well as"Drumming,"1998 and “Rain” set to “Music for 18 Musicians”), Jirí Kylían ("Falling Angels," set to “Drumming Part I”), Jerome Robbins for the New York City Ballet ("Eight Lines") and Laura Dean, who commissioned "Sextet". That ballet, entitled "Impact," was premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival, and earned Steve Reich and Laura Dean a Bessie Award in 1986. Other major choreographers using Mr. Reich's music include Eliot Feld, Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Maurice Bejart, Lucinda Childs, Siobhan Davies and Richard Alston.

In 1994 Steve Reich was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, and, in 1999, awarded Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres.


 

About the performers:

eighth blackbird

eighth blackbird \ˈātth ˈblak-ˌbərd\ slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.).
1. verb. to act with commitment and virtuosity; to zap, zip, sock.
2. adjective. having fearless (yet irreverent) qualities.
3. noun. a flock of songbirds, common in urban areas since 1996.

Tim Munro, flutes • Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets
Yvonne Lam, violin & viola • Nicholas Photinos,  cello
Matthew Duvall,  percussion • Lisa Kaplan, piano

eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based, two-time Grammy-winning "super-musicians" (LA Times) entertain and provoke audiences across the country and around the world.

In addition to its longstanding and fruitful relationships as Ensemble in Residence at the University of Richmond and University of Chicago, in 2012 eighth blackbird commences a three-year, Mellon Foundation-funded term as Ensemble in Residence at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. eighth blackbird will also lead extended, one-time residencies at University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland. Other highlights of the ensemble's busy 2012/13 season include debuts with the Kansas City Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic and in Calgary, an extensive tour of Missouri and a three-city tour of the Netherlands.

This season will also feature eagerly anticipated premieres of new works by Aaron Jay Kernis (the ethereal Pieces of Winter Sky), The National's Bryce Dessner (a piece inspired by early American folk music), Dutch composer Mayke Nas (a fascinating theatrical exploration), Steve Mackey (music from his Grammy-winning Slide, written for the group) and Australian composer Brett Dean (the searing, intense Sextet).

A decade-long relationship with Chicago's Cedille Records has produced five acclaimed recordings, including the brand new Meanwhile, released in September 2012. The ensemble has won two Grammy Awards, for the recordings strange imaginary animals and Lonely Motel: Music from Slide.

eighth blackbird's members hail from America's Great Lakes, Keystone, Golden and Bay states, and Australia's Sunshine State. There are four foodies, three beer snobs and one exercise junkie. The name "eighth blackbird" derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens's evocative, aphoristic poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917). eighth blackbird is managed by David Lieberman Artists.

Michael Maccaferri is a Rico Performing Artist and Clinician. Matthew Duvall endorses Pearl/Adams musical instruments and Vic Firth sticks and mallets. Lisa Kaplan is a Steinway Artist.
www.eighthblackbird.org
http://twitter.com/eighthblackbird

 


Clay Condon, Robert Dillon, David Skidmore

and Peter Martin
THIRD COAST PERCUSSION

Praised by Time Out Chicago for “chops, polish, and youthful joy in performing,” Third Coast Percussion uses an impressive array of percussion instruments to create a performance experience like no other. With exceptional talent and dedicated artistry, this “sonically spectacular” (Chicago Tribune) quartet combines the driving intensity of drums, the beautiful warmth of marimbas and vibraphones, and the surprisingly exotic sounds of everyday objects to make music that is playful, memorable and profound. In performances around the country, the Chicago-based ensemble has swiftly gained national attention for effortlessly combining the energy of a rock concert with the precision and sophistication of classical chamber music.

Third Coast Percussion presents concerts for all audiences, from the percussion novice to the contemporary music aficionado. Third Coast has introduced percussion music to chamber music series in Chicago (Rush Hour Concerts, Millennium Park, Chicago Cultural Center), Virginia (Garth Newel Music Center), Pennsylvania (Dickinson College), and Wisconsin (Taliesin), securing immediate invitations to return to each of these series. TCP has also championed some of the most formidable repertoire for percussion including the music of Luciano Berio, Philippe Manoury, Wolfgang Rihm, Louis Andriessen, Martin Bresnick, George Crumb, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Frederick Rzewski, Toru Takemitsu, Tan Dun, and Iannis Xenakis. The ensemble is constantly adding new works to this already expansive repertoire.

Third Coast Percussion also has the distinction of being the only professional percussion ensemble in the country to self-present a full season of concert percussion music. In their hometown of Chicago, the group performs 4 to 5 concerts each season. The ensemble is dedicated to performing the greatest concert percussion music alongside lesser-known and rarely performed master pieces.

 

MEEHAN / PERKINS DUO

Since its founding in 2006, the Meehan/ Perkins Duo (Todd Meehan and Doug Perkins) has redefined the American percussion duo through its diverse commissions and engaging performances. The Duo has been called "superb young players" by the New Yorker and "gifted percussionists" by the Wall Street Journal. Dedicated to creating a new body of work for the percussion duo genre, to date the Duo has collaborated with composers David Lang, Paul Lansky, Nathan Davis, John Supko, and Matt McBane to expand the repertoire and produce eclectic new acoustic and electro-acoustic works for percussion. The Duo has shared this music with audiences throughout the country, including performances at Weill Recital Hall, the Ojai Music Festival, Monadnock Music, the Yellow Barn Festival, the International Festival-Institute at Round Top, the Stone, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and abroad in St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk, Russia.

February 2011 marked the release of the Duo's first recording on New World Records entitled "Restless, Endless, Tactless -- Johanna Beyer and the Birth of American Percussion Music". The recording, a joint project with the Baylor Percussion Group, chronicles a largely unknown body of early percussion works from the 1930′s written by Johanna Beyer, Henry Cowell, Harold Davidson, Ray Green, John J. Becker, and Doris Humphrey. The release was praised as "immaculately played by the duo" by the BBC Music Magazine and "an engaging experience" by Gramophone. Fanfare Magazine perhaps best sums up the recording by stating "This is a must-hear for anyone remotely interested in the development of music in the past century and is strongly recommended."

The Duo is currently undertaking its largest commissioning project to date, engaging composer Jonathan Leshnoff for a Concerto for Two Percussionists and Orchestra. The work will be premiered June 2012 with the Texas Festival Orchestra at the Round Top International Festival under the baton of Michael Stern. Subsequent performances will take place during the 2012-2013 season with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, and the Baylor Symphony Orchestra.

The Meehan/ Perkins Duo uses Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Pearl/Adams drums and keyboards, Black Swamp Percussion accessories, Remo drumheads, and Zildjian cymbals.

 



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