The sextet Eighth Blackbird devotes itself to contemporary music and has commissioned many works from modern composers. The group is notable for the range of its collaborations with other musicians, nonmusical creative artists, and musical institutions. Comprising players of the flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello, and percussion instruments, Eighth Blackbird was formed in 1996 by students at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. The ensemble was modeled on that of Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, which Eighth Blackbird performs, and the name comes from the Wallace Stevens poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. All six of the original members played in Oberlin's Contemporary Music Ensemble, and they credited that group's director, Tim Weiss, with Eighth Blackbird's shaping and development. In its first year, Eighth Blackbird won ...
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