After months of planning, Grammy Award-winning chamber ensemble eighth blackbird (right) comes to Dallas for its first weeklong residency Oct. 17-23, 2010. As recipients of the University’s 2009-10 Meadows Prize, the group will participate in 20 different events during the week, including four that are free and open to the public: an open rehearsal, a reading workshop of student compositions, an open panel discussion, and a public concert. The sextet will return to the SMU campus in November 2010 and February 2011.
In October 2009, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts announced the first two recipients of the inaugural 2009-10 Meadows Prize, a new international arts residency: eighth blackbird and the New York-based public arts organization Creative Time.
The prize includes housing for a one-to-three-month residency in Dallas, transportation expenses, studio and office space, and project costs, in addition to a $25,000 stipend.
In return, recipients are expected to interact in a substantive way with Meadows students and collaborating arts organizations, and to leave a lasting legacy in Dallas.
“The first set of the new Meadows Prizes went to two extraordinary collectives, both of whom specialize in making the seemingly impossible possible,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “eighth blackbird has found a way to make difficult contemporary classic music exciting, entertaining, approachable and profitable. Those are skills our students need.
“I am most happy that this residency will bring to our students not only cutting-edge music, but forward-thinking ways of presenting music and making a living in the modern musical world.”
eighth blackbird takes its name from Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” in which the eighth stanza reads:
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
Above, eighth blackbird members (back row, left to right): Nicholas Photinos, cello; Tim Munro, flutes; Matthew Duvall, percussion; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; (front row) Matt Albert, violin and viola; Lisa Kaplan, piano. Photo by Luke Ratray.