Dan Trueman is a composer, fiddler, and electronic musician. He began studying violin at the age of 4, and decades later, after a chance encounter, fell in love with the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, an instrument and tradition that has deeply affected all of his work, whether as a fiddler, a composer, or musical explorer. Dan’s current projects include: a double-quartet for So Percussion and the JACK Quartet, commissioned by the Barlow Foundation; Olagón — an evening length work in collaboration with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, poet Paul Muldoon, and Eighth Blackbird; the Prepared Digital Piano project; ongoing collaborations with Irish fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and guitarist Monica Mugan (Trollstilt). His recent albums with Ó Raghallaigh (Laghdú) and So Percussion (neither Anvil nor Pulley) have met with wide acclaim. Upcoming record releases include The Nostalgic Synchronic Etudes for prepared digital piano, to be released by New Amsterdam Records, and The Sideband Chronicles (a Princeton Laptop Orchestra project). His explorations have ranged from the oldest to the newest technologies; Dan co-founded the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, the first ensemble of its size and kind that has led to the formation of similarly inspired ensembles across the world, from Oslo to Dublin, to Stanford and Bangkok. Dan’s compositional work reflects this complex and broad range of activities, exploring rhythmic connections between traditional dance music and machines, for instance, or engaging with the unusual phrasing, tuning and ornamentation of the traditional Norwegian music while trying to discover new music that is singularly inspired by, and only possible with, new digital instruments that he designs and constructs. His tools of the trade are the first-of-its-kind Hardanger d’Amore fiddle by Salve Håkedal (played with a beautiful baroque bow by Michel Jamonneau), and the ChucK music programming language by Ge Wang. Dan’s work has been recognized by fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, among others. He is Professor of Music and Director of the Princeton Sound Kitchen at Princeton University, where he teaches counterpoint, electronic music, and composition.
Iarla Ó Lionáird has carved a long and unique career in music in Ireland. From his iconic early recording of the vision song Aisling Gheal as a young boy to his ground breaking recordings with Dublin’s Crash Ensemble he has shown a breadth of artistic ambition that sets him apart in the Irish Music fraternity. He has worked with a stellar cast of composers internationally including Nico Muhly, Gavin Bryars and David Lang and he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant and Sinead O’Connor. His unique singing style has carried him to stages and concert halls all over the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House and beyond. His voice has graced the silver screen also, with film credits extending from “The Gangs of New York” to “Hotel Rwanda” and most recently as featured vocalist in the film “Calvary” starring Brendan Gleeson. He is the vocalist with the critically acclaimed Irish /American band “The Gloaming.” This year he is Traditional Artist in Residence at University College Cork where he is teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses on the aesthetics of Sean Nos song.
Paul Muldoon is an Irish poet and professor of poetry, as well as an editor, critic, and translator. Born in 1951 in Portadown, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, to Patrick Muldoon, a farm labourer and market gardener, and Brigid Regan, a schoolteacher, Paul Muldoon was brought up near a village called The Moy on the border of Counties Armagh and Tyrone. He is the oldest of three children. After studying at Queen’s University, Belfast, where Seamus Heaney was a tutor and where he met other Belfast Group poets such as Michael Longley, he published his first book, New Weather (Faber) in 1972, at the age of 21. From 1973 he worked as a producer for the BBC in Belfast until, in the mid-1980’s, he gave up his job to become a freelance writer and moved to the United States with his second wife, the American novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz. He now lives in New York City. Muldoon is the author of twelve major collections of poetry. He has also published innumerable smaller collections, works of criticism, opera libretti, books for children, song lyrics and radio and television drama. His poetry has been translated into twenty languages. Muldoon served as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University from 1999 to 2004. He has taught at Princeton University since 1987 and currently occupies the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 chair in the Humanities. He has been poetry editor of The New Yorker since 2007. He occasionally appears with a spoken word backing group, Rogue Oliphant. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he has received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature, the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, the 2005 Aspen Prize for Poetry, and the 2006 European Prize for Poetry. He has been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.”
Eighth Blackbird is “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune). Launched by six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory undergraduates in 1996, this Chicago-based super-group has earned its status as “a brand-name…defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality….known for performing from memory, employing choreography and collaborations with theater artists, lighting designers and even puppetry artists” (Detroit Free Press).
Eighth Blackbird’s 2017-18 season marks debuts in Turin, Milan, Budapest, with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Cincinnati Ballet, tours through 11 states, and the release of Olagón, a new album featuring music by Dan Trueman, poetry by Paul Muldoon, and sean nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird. Eighth Blackbird celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016 with tours of music from Filament and Hand Eye, as well as keystone performances celebrating Steve Reich’s 80th birthday, a fresh round of raucous shows with “Appalachian post-punk solipsist” (The Wanderer) Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy), and world premieres by Holly Harrison, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang, and Ned McGowan.
Eighth Blackbird first gained wide recognition in 1998 as winners of the Concert Artists Guild Competition. Over the course of two decades, the group has commissioned and premiered hundreds of works by composers such as David Lang, Steven Mackey, Missy Mazzoli, and Steve Reich, whose Double Sextet went on to win the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. A long-term relationship with Chicago’s Cedille Records has produced eight acclaimed recordings and four Grammy Awards for Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance, most recently in 2016 for Filament. They were named Music America’s 2017 Ensemble of the Year, and in 2016 were the inaugural recipients of Chamber Music America’s Visionary Award and the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
Eighth Blackbird’s members (Nathalie Joachim, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; Yvonne Lam, violin & viola; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Matthew Duvall, percussion; Lisa Kaplan, piano) hail from the Great Lakes, Keystone, Golden, Empire and Bay states. 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 is a director, filmmaker, designer, and choreographer. Many of his projects explore interactions between music performance and media to discover new expressive possibilities. His work can bring together composers, ensemble and musicians with visual artists, dancers, music ensembles, and makers of all types. Called “wildly imaginative” and “a tour de force” by the Washington Post, Columbine’s Paradise Theater his music-theater collaboration with composer Amy Beth Kirsten, continues a relationship with multiple-Grammy winning ensemble eighth blackbird that began in 2009 with his acclaimed production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. In 2014, Kirsten and DeChiazza founded Howl, an artists collective to aid the creation of interdisciplinary music work, and they join forces again for the creation of Quixote, a theatrical work for three singers and four percussionists produced by Montclair State’s Peak Performances to premiere in March 2017. Other recent projects include choreography and design for Pulitzer-winning composer John Luther Adams’ Sila, a massive site-determined piece for 80 musicians commissioned by Lincoln Center, video projection design for Visitations: Theotokia and The War Reporter, two new operas by Jonathan Berger and presented by Stanford Live and Prototype Festival in New York City, and directing a staged concert of Missy Mazzoli’s work for Young People’s Chorus of NYC and Mazzoli’s band Victoire. Additional upcoming projects include direction, video projection and set design for 5 Beasts, a music theater work featuring singer/actor Rinde Eckert, musican/composer Ned Rothenberg and human beat-boxer Adam Matta, that will premiere at Les Subsistance in Lyon, France. ORPHEUS UNSUNG: an opera for electric guitar, a large-scale film and music performance work, is his latest collaboration with Grammy winning composer Steven Mackey, which will premiere in 2016.