eighth blackbird is Named 2012 Barr Laureate Ensemble at UMKC Conservatory


The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance is pleased to announce that the widely heralded, experimental ensemble eighth blackbird is the 2012 Barr Laureate Ensemble.   Their performance and residency will mark their first return to the Conservatory since their popular performance and master classes here in 2007.

The group is included in the 2011 Grammy nominations for their performance of Steve Mackey’s “Lonely Motel,” which the group premiered at the Ojai Festival two years ago as “Slide.” Lonely Motel has been nominated for three Grammy Awards: Best Small Ensemble Performance, Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and Best Engineered Classical Album. In addition, David Frost, the disc's producer, has been nominated for Best Classical Producer.

Conservatory dean Peter Witte notes, "Through Patricia Barr's support of the Barr Laureate program we're able to announce eighth blackbird as our first Barr Laureate Ensemble in 2012. eighth blackbird's residency in Missouri came together through a partnership of many of Kansas City's leading arts organizations and all four campuses in the University of Missouri System. We're thankful to the University of Missouri's Olson Fund, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Friends of Chamber Music, and especially the Kansas City Symphony for making eighth blackbird's Missouri residency a reality. As a result, our students will work side by side with a visionary ensemble of 21st century musicians."

The ensemble will provide coaching and master classes to Conservatory students during their tenure which is spread out across the 2012 academic year.  Performances include March 4, 2012 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2:30 p.m., where the group will perform Barr Laureate Stephen Hartke's Meanwhile.  In November, 2012 the group will perform Barr Laureate John Corigliano's Tamborine Man as part of their Music Alliance performance.  Music Alliance is a presenting partnership between the Conservatory and Kansas City's Friends of Chamber Music.

Click here to sample eighth blackbird performances and video clips.

The Patricia and Howard Barr Institute for American Composition Studies, launched in 2004, is the fulfillment of a longtime dream of Howard (DMA, UMKC Conservatory of Music, 1971) and Patricia Barr. The Barrs had distinguished careers as pianists and teachers in southern California, often performing and promoting the works of contemporary American composers. The Institute celebrates their love of American music and their dedication to its continuing study and performance.

The most significant activities of the Barr Institute focus on the Laureate Program. Every three years, the Barr Advisory Board selects a major figure in American music as the Barr Institute Laureate. Composer Steven Stucky was honored as the first laureate, 2006–2009, and composer Stephen Hartke is the Barr Institute’s second laureate, 2009–2012.

All current and future works of each composer become part of the Barr Institute Collection. Laureates visit the UMKC campus several times each year during their tenure to participate in symposia, performances of their work, master classes and lessons, and presentations to public schools and other organizations. The Conservatory also partners with other performing organizations to present the works of the Barr Institute Laureates. For instance, Steven Stucky’s works were performed by the Kansas City Chorale.

Current Barr Institute Laureate Stephen Hartke’s works will be performed in Kansas City by 8th blackbird in March, 2012, by the Conservatory's new music group Musica Nova, April 20, 2012, and by the Kansas City Symphony June 15–17 2012.

Composer John Corigliano is the Barr Institute Laureate for Fall 2012–Spring 2014, with three visits to work with Conservatory students.



For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949