The Miller Theatre Opens Its 2014 - 2015 Season with HEART & BREATH, 9/18

Miller opens its fall season with a captivating new production. Sparking a music dialogue across centuries, Heart & Breath deftly combines modern arrangements of music by Gesualdo and Monteverdi with contemporary works that blend music, dance, and theater, including composer Amy Beth Kirsten's "wildly imaginative" (Washington Post)Colombine's Paradise Theatre. The six musicians of eighth blackbird play, speak, sing, whisper, growl, and mime, breathing theatrical life into the timeless characters of thecommedia dell'arte in this uniquely immersive concert experience.

PROGRAM: Amy Beth Kirsten: Colombine's Paradise Theatre (2013) - New York premiere
Richard Reed Parry: Duo for Heart and Breath (2012)
Bon Iver, arr. Kaplan: Babys (2009/13) - New York premiere
Claudio Monteverdi, arr. Munro: Lamento della Ninfa (1638/2013) - New York premiere
Carlo Gesualdo, arr. Munro: Moro, lasso al mio duolo (1611/2013) - New York premiere

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 8:00 p.m.

Heart & Breath

Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street)
Tickets: $25-$40 • Students with valid ID: $7-$24

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, three-time Grammy-winning "super-musicians" (LA Times) entertain and provoke audiences across the country and around the world.

Colombine's Paradise Theatre is eighth blackbird's new staged, memorized production. Composer Amy Beth Kirsten challenges the sextet to play, speak, sing, whisper, growl and mime, breathing life into this tale of dream and delusion. Performances have taken place at the University of Richmond, as well as DC's Atlas Arts, and it has been called a "Tour de Force" by the Washington Post.

Other highlights include debuts with the Cincinnati Symphony (where the ensemble is an Artist in Residence) and New World Symphony; residencies at UCLA, SUNY Purchase, Baylor and Duke; a collaboration with Oberlin College's CME; and a debut on the Lincoln Center's Atrium series.

eighth blackbird holds ongoing Ensemble in Residence positions at the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Richmond, and University of Chicago. A decade-long relationship with Chicago's Cedille Records has produced six acclaimed recordings. The ensemble has won three Grammy Awards, for the recordings strange imaginary animals, Lonely Motel: Music from Slide and Meanwhile. The name "eighth blackbird" derives from the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens's evocative, aphoristic poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" (1917).

Mark DeChiazza works across disciplines as a director, filmmaker, designer, and choreographer. Many of his projects explore expressive and kinetic possibilities in the presentation of new music. He is currently, with composer Steven Mackey, creating a new multimedia work Orpheus Unsung: an opera for electric guitar- the latest work in their ongoing series of collaborations. DeChiazza is making a film to accompany Amy Beth Kirsten's Strange Pilgrims for American Composer's Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and also for the Jerry Granelli and Rinde Eckert piece Sandhill's Reunion, which has a tour in development.

Recent work includes: creation of a music video for New York Polyphony; projection design for two new operas, Visitations: Theotokia and The War Reporter composed by Jonathan Berger and presented by Stanford Live; and directing the premiere of Anthony Davis's new opera Lear on the 2nd Floor, at UCSD, for which also designed projections for the production. His 2009 production of Pierrot Lunaire for eighth elackbird and soprano Lucy Shelton continues to tour, most recently to The Kennedy Center in D.C. With MacArthur-winning choreographer Susan Marshall, he composed site-specific performances for Asphalt Orchestra as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2010 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other directing credit's include Philip Glass's choral work Another Look at Harmony at the Park Avenue Armory, composer Barbara White's chamber operaWeakness, and her staged concert Desire Lines-both at Princeton University-and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking at Playmakers Repertory Company.

After spending a decade playing in clubs and bars in Chicago, singer-songwriter Amy Beth Kirsten entered the graduate program in music composition at Roosevelt University in 2002. Those earlier years as a performer and vocalist - which yielded an undergraduate degree in vocal jazz improvisation - created the foundation for a compositional language rooted in the voice, breath, and storytelling. Many of Kirsten's chamber works require instrumentalists to vocalize and play simultaneously, and her purely instrumental works often experiment with melody and timbre.

Kirsten's current works aim to integrate music, language, and movement in theatrical settings. In 2014-15 her "wildly imaginative" Colombine's Paradise Theatre, an evening-length, fully-staged work commissioned by the Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, will premiere in Chicago at the MCA and in New York City at the Miller Theatre;strange pilgrims for string orchestra, chorus, and film commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra premiered in February 2014 in Carnegie Hall. Both of these works were collaborations with director and filmmaker Mark DeChiazza. The duo are now embarking on their next theatrical collaboration, Quixote, a fully-staged work for their own ensemble, HOWL, which features three percussion, three female voices, and video. Quixotewill be premiered in NYC in 2016-17.

Ms. Kirsten was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, a Rockefeller Foundation Artist Fellowship, and a Fromm Foundation Commission. Her projects have been funded by The MAP Fund, ASCAP Foundation, The Leonard Bernstein Family, New Music USA, Chamber Music America, and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Also a librettist and published poet, Ms. Kirsten lives and works in New Haven, CT. She teaches music composition privately and at the HighSCORE summer festival in Pavia, Italy.

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