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eighth blackbird reveals new Pierrot at Chicago’s Harris Theater, Dec 8

eighth blackbird’s third consecutive season in residence at Chicago’s downtown Harris Theater is its most ambitious to date.  On December 8, the Grammy-winning sextet presents the first of two concerts in its hometown series: Arnold Schoenberg’s 1912 numerological masterpiece Pierrot lunaire, in a new production conceived and directed by Mark DeChiazza that was first shown to audiences at the Ojai Music Festival this summer.  DeChiazza is a New York dancer and choreographer with whom the ensemble has forged a strong working relationship.

eighth blackbird performs almost all of its extensive repertoire from memory, and the players often move about the stage in an almost choreographed way.  The new Pierrot lunaire – presented in a program with works by contemporaries and pupils of Schoenberg – will be no exception.  Tim Munro, eighth blackbird’s flutist, says of the ensemble’s newest performance piece:

“Mark DeChiazza uses movement and gesture to connect to the human core of this remarkable work, and the production includes soprano Lucy Shelton, dancer Elyssa Dole, and, in his impressive theatrical debut (!), our percussionist Matthew Duvall as Pierrot.  Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire wears its 97 years incredibly lightly and has everything: feverish intensity, gallows humor, and touching pathos.”

Munro continues: “One of the many reasons we love the Harris Series is that the theater’s size, sightlines, and acoustics make it an ideal space for presenting fully-staged works such as Pierrot lunaire and Slide.  And the Harris staff has been incredibly supportive, collaborating closely with us on everything from technical planning to marketing to ensure the success of the series.”  eighth blackbird’s web site at has much more information (including videos) about this production.

On March 24, eighth blackbird presents its second Harris Theater production: the evening-long Slide by Steve Mackey and Rinde Eckert, which received its world premiere at Ojai last June.

A list of eighth blackbird’s Chicago and Chicago-area engagements (during 2009-10) is below.  Additional information is available at the group’s web site,


eighth blackbird’s 2009-10 Chicago engagements
Dec 8
Chicago, IL
Schoenberg: Pierrot lunaire
Harris Theater
Dec 12
Highland Park, IL
Music Institute of Chicago Residency
Jan 16
Chicago, IL
“Where Jazz & Contemporary Music Intersect”
Contempo / Harris Theater
Jan 20
Naperville, IL – debut
“Still Life with Avalanche”
Works by Turnage, Fitzell, Nas, Mazzoli, Adès, and Reich
Feb 13
Evanston, IL
Lecture / demonstration
Northwestern University
March 24
Chicago, IL
Harris Theater
May 14 & 26
Chicago, IL
“Tomorrow’s Music Today”

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© 21C Media Group, November 2009

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