Last week I had the privilege of interviewing three members of the contemporary chamber ensemble eighth blackbird – pianist Lisa Kaplan, flutist Tim Munro, and percussionist Matthew Duvall – on the radio station of the University of Texas at Austin, KVRX. Eighth blackbird spent two weeks in residency with Texas Performing Arts, which involved engaging in lots of educational activities at the University and throughout the Austin community. The residency culminated in two concerts: first on Monday, January 28th, featuring works by contemporary composers such as Nico Muhly, Philip Glass, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Derek Bermel; second on Monday, February 4th, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. This interview took place on Thursday, January 31st, between the two concerts.
We talked a bit about the birth of eighth blackbird, some strategies for succeeding as a chamber ensemble, their transition from a partnership to a nonprofit corporation, and the development of their composition competition.
Music featured (all pieces commissioned and recorded by eighth blackbird):
- Jennifer Higdon: Zaka – from Strange Imaginary Animals
- Joan Tower: Petroushkates – from Thirteen Ways
- Steve Reich: Double Sextet – from Double Sextet/2×5