I’ve had the opportunity to perform with new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird with the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis, Tennessee, several years ago (former Contrabass Conversations guest Scott Best–my stand partner in this orchestra–went to school with the members of the ensemble at Oberlin), and I’ve always enjoyed checking out their highly creative endeavors. They also performed for the opening breakfast at the Midwest Clinic last December (playing a piece that involved one of the musicians running full-bore across the stage–startling to say the least on the morning of a long day of conference sessions!), and they certainly seem to be wonderful examples of what 21st-century musicians should aspire toward: performing new music written specifically for their unique instrumentation and redefining “art music” with each new project:
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