We're excited about Eighth Blackbird's newest album! Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak is an innovative collaboration with Irish vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird, composer/fiddler Dan Trueman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon that puts a modern twist on the ancient Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge. The music is a unique combination of contemporary chamber music, fiddling, and traditional Irish singing that is truly genre-defying — not quite song, not quite modern classical, not quite folk. Eighth Blackbird, called “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” by the Chicago Tribune, is hardly a stranger to the term "genre-defying." For our November Spotify playlist, 8BB flutist Nathalie Joachim contributed some of the non-classical tunes that inspire and influence her and Eighth Blackbird's cutting-edge performances, recordings, and commissions. Take a listen below and read about why she chose each track! Olagón is available HERE on November 10. Read More »
This edition of "Take 5" features Eighth Blackbird flutist Nathalie Joachim. “One of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune), the new-music sextet will release its ninth Cedille album Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak on November 10.
The project is a collaboration with vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird of the Irish supergroup The Gloaming; Princeton-based composer-fiddler Dan Trueman; and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon. A modern retelling of an ancient Irish epic, Olagón depicts — not without irony and humor — a privileged “power couple” mired in envy, greed, and adultery, descending into criminality and addiction as Ireland’s “Celtic-Tiger” economy collapses in the early 21st century. Trueman’s score combines elements of the traditional music of Ireland, Norway, and America with the raw urgency and sonorities of contemporary classical music while Muldoon’s text interweaves verses in English and Irish Gaelic, seasoned with word-play and wit. Read More »
This edition of Take 5 features an interview with Dover Quartet cellist Camden Shaw. Called “the young American string quartet of the moment” (The New Yorker), the ensemble will release its second album on Cedille Records titled "Voices of Defiance" on October 13.
The album explores three tragic yet beautiful WWII-era string quartets, the most well-known of them being Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet no. 2. Accompanying this piece are lesser known but emotionally powerful works: the third string quartet by Polish composer Szymon Laks, who survived multiple concentration camps during the war; and the third quartet by Viktor Ullmann, who composed and was killed at Auschwitz. Read More »
Every year Cedille Records presents the Musical Partnership Award to an organization that has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the classical music community in Chicago. Through their support of the Chicago musical community’s most valuable asset — its musicians and composers — Cedille’s Musical Partners complement our mission of promoting the work of Chicago’s world-class musical artists. This year at Soirée Cedille 2017, we will honor the Merit School of Music for its outstanding contributions to the city's classical music scene. Its commitment to excellence and inclusion in music education distinguishes the school, and Cedille has enjoyed recording its alumni and faculty on multiple occasions. We asked Merit's President and Executive Director Charles Grode to answer a few questions about the school and to tell us why Merit is an excellent Musical Partner. Read More »
Last week, we concluded our recording session with the Civitas Ensemble, a Chicago-based chamber group comprised of Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians Yuan-Qing Yu (violin), Kenneth Olsen (cello), J. Lawrie Bloom (clarinet), and Winston Choi (piano). This is the ensemble's recording debut, and the concept for the album is an exciting one: an exploration of Roma (aka Gypsy) music’s influence on classical repertoire. For this, Civitas joins forces with Prague’s Gipsy Way Ensemble, comprising internationally renowned violinist Pavel Šporcl and three Gypsy jazz musicians. The program is genre-defying and really highlights the richness of Romani musical heritage. Read More »
We're excited to release the McGill/McHale Trio's debut album on August 11! Flutist Demarre McGill, his brother and clarinetist Anthony McGill, and pianist Michael McHale come together to bring you Portraits — Works for Flute, Clarinet & Piano. The album features several world premiere recordings, including Valerie Coleman's "Portraits of Langston" with narrations by Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali. Our playlist this month was co-curated with Anthony and highlights a few of his favorite recordings of himself and his trio mates, along with some of our most popular tracks featuring the flute and clarinet. Stay tuned on release day for new tracks from Portraits, and follow us on Spotify to keep up with all of our exciting new playlists. Happy listening! Read More »
This edition of Take 5 features an interview with Anthony McGill and Michael McHale of the McGill/McHale Trio. The trio was founded in September 2014 when clarinetist Anthony McGill and his brother, flutist Demarre McGill, were featured artists in a residency at Bowling Green University in Ohio. While there, pianist Michael McHale joined them in concert for the first time, and it was immediately clear that the trio would have a great future making music together. The ensemble makes its recording debut with "Portraits — Works for Flute, Clarinet & Piano," featuring world-premiere recordings of new compositions and arrangements for this captivating combination of instruments. The “title track,” Valerie Coleman’s "Portraits of Langston," is a six-movement suite inspired by Langston Hughes’s poetry. Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) reads a Hughes poem before each movement. "Portraits" is currently available for pre-order; all downloads & CDs ship August 11. Read More »
Last week, I had the pleasure of getting to observe and interview clarinetist John Bruce Yeh and composer Jim Stephenson at a recording session at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts. The project they were working on was an interesting one; John is recording all of Jim's major works that feature the clarinet, including his Liquid Melancholy concerto (recorded with the Lake Forest Symphony), several solo pieces for clarinet and piano, and two chamber works with some of John's colleagues from Chicago Pro Musica. Read More »
For July, we've compiled all of our favorite tracks about summer - music about sun, heat, birds, bees, flowers, etc. - all into one seasonal playlist. Featured composers and performers include John Corigliano, Stacy Garrop, Aaron Copland, Leo Sowerby, the Grant Park Orchestra, Patrice Michaels, Dmitry Paperno, Jennifer Koh, the Gaudete Brass Quintet, Jorge Federico Osorio and more. Happy listening! Read More »
June is African-American Music Appreciation Month (fka Black Music Month). We celebrate with a playlist by African, African-American, and other African descended composers. Featured artists and composers include the Chicago Sinfonietta, Rachel Barton Pine, Chicago a cappella, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Sanford Allen, and more. Happy listening! Read More »