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“Still Life with Avalanche” by Missy Mazzoli


“Still Life with Avalanche” by Missy Mazzoli

Performed by eighth blackbird

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


Terry Gibbs Signature (M31)

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This line offers a rattan handled mallet for every dynamic range on vibraphone or marimba. Cord wound heads.


Terry Gibbs Signature (M32)

Buy Now

This line offers a rattan handled mallet for every dynamic range on vibraphone or marimba. Cord wound heads.


“There’s a moment in this piece when you can hear that phone call, when the piece changes direction, when the shock of real life works its way into the music’s joyful and exuberant exterior. This is a piece about finding beauty in chaos, and vice versa. It is dedicated to the memory (the joyful, the exuberant and the shocking) of Andrew Rose.”
   – Missy Mazzoli


Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (New York Times), “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York) and “one of the new wave of scarily smart young composers” (sequenza21.com), Missy Mazzoli’s music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, the American Composers Orchestra, New York City Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, cellist Maya Beiser, the Albany Symphony, the South Carolina Philharmonic, Dublin’s Crash Ensemble and many others. She is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and in 2011/12 was Composer/Educator in residence with the Albany Symphony.

The 2012/13 season will include many exciting new projects, including the October premiere of SALT, a re-telling of the story of Lot’s Wife, written for cellist Maya Beiser and vocalist Helga Davis. SALT will premiere at UNC Chapel Hill and at the BAM Next Wave Festival. The work includes text by Erin Cressida-Wilson and will be directed by Robert Woodruff. This coming season also includes premieres by Ensemble ACJW (Carnegie Hall), the Kronos Quartet (Carnegie Hall) and the Detroit Symphony (Orchestra Hall, Detroit), and performances by the La Jolla Symphony and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. November 2012 will also see the release of the original cast recording of Missy’s first opera, Song from the Uproar, on New Amsterdam Records. In October 2012 acclaimed contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird released their CD Meanwhile, featuring Missy’s work Still Life with Avalanche.

Recent projects include the critically acclaimed sold-out premiere of Missy’s first opera, Song from the Uproar, at New York venue The Kitchen in March 2012. The Wall Street Journal called this work “powerful and new” and the New York times claimed that “in the electric surge of Ms. Mazzoli’s score you felt the joy, risk, and limitless potential of free sprits unbound.” Other recent projects include premieres by the Albany Symphony, performances by the Britten Sinfonia at London’s Barbican Centre, and new works for eighth blackbird, Kronos Quartet, the League of Composers Orchestra, violinist Jennifer Koh (a new solo work commissioned by the LA Philharmonic), the Santa Fe Chamber Players, violist Nadia Sirota, and scores to accompany films by Alice Guy Blaché, commissioned by the Whitney Museum of Art. Missy’s ensemble Victoire has also been touring extensively, recently performing at the M.A.D.E. Festival in Sweden, the C3 Festival in Berlin, and across Europe touring with Efterklang, My Brightest Diamond, and many others.

Mazzoli is the recipient of four ASCAP Young Composer Awards, a Fulbright Grant to the Netherlands, the Detroit Symphony’s Elaine Lebenbom Award, and grants from the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, and the Barlow Endowment. She is also active as an educator and a mentor to young composers; in 2006 she taught composition in the Music Department of Yale University, and from 2007-2010 was Executive Director of the MATA Festival in New York City, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of young composers.

Mazzoli is an active pianist and keyboardist, and often performs with Victoire, a band she founded in 2008 dedicated to her own compositions. Their debut full-length CD, Cathedral City, was named one of 2010′s best classical albums by Time Out New York, NPR, the New Yorker and the New York Times. In the past few years they have played in venues all over the world including Radialsystem (Berlin), Millennium Park (Chicago), The Winter Garden (New York, as part of the Bang-on-a-Can New Music Marathon), Overtoom 301 (Amsterdam), The Music Gallery (Toronto) and Le Poisson Rouge (New York, as part of the Wordless Music Series). In February 2011 they joined The National, Owen Pallett and Efterklang on a tour of the Netherlands as part of the Cross-Linx Festival, and in November 2011 joined My Brightest Diamond (Shara Worden) for performances in Belgium and Paris. Pitchfork praised Victoire for “condensing moments of focused beauty and quiet conviction from the pandemic distractions of modern life“, WNYC dubbed the group “consuming and arresting“, and NPR’s First Listen asks “Is Victoire’s music post-rock, post-mimimalist or pseudo-post-pre-modernist indie-chamber-electronica? It doesn’t particularly matter. It’s just good music.”

Missy attended the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Boston University.

Her music is published by G. Schirmer.


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 newMeanwhile, 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.

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