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  • Writer's pictureSOUNDWEAVERS

S2. EP.14 The Evolution of an Ensemble: eighth blackbird

March 19, 2022


Pianist Lisa Kaplan of eighth blackbird joins us to chat about the many evolutions of their organization, from the original ensemble to their many teaching endeavors. We chat about the Chicago Artists Workshop and Blackbird Creative Lab, two of the ways in which they continue to “move music forward” beyond their primarily performance-based projects. Kaplan shares about how the ensemble conceptualizes and puts projects—such as This is my Home—into action. We speak about how the organization integrates interns into their administrative process. And, we ask, "why 'eighth blackbird'?"


Born in Motown, Lisa Kaplan is a pianist specializing in the performance of new work by living composers. Kaplan is the founding pianist and Executive Director of the four-time Grammy Award-winning sextet Eighth Blackbird. Kaplan has won numerous awards, performed all over the country and has premiered new pieces by hundreds of composers, including Andy Akiho, Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, George Perle, and Pamela Z. She has had the great pleasure to collaborate and make music with an eclectic array of incredibly talented people - Laurie Anderson, Jeremy Denk, Bryce Dessner, Philip Glass, Bon Iver, J. Ivy, Glenn Kotche, Shara Nova, Will Oldham, Natalie Portman, Gustavo Santaolalla, Robert Spano, Tarrey Torae, Dawn Upshaw and Michael Ward-Bergeman to name a few. As a proud, single-mama-by-choice, Kaplan has been having an incredible time raising and learning from her happy-go-lucky 4 year old, Frida. Musically as of late, she has also greatly enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to do both composing and arranging for Eighth Blackbird as well as some producing. In 2019, Kaplan co-produced her first record, When We Are Inhuman with Bryce Dessner. Kaplan is a true foodie, gourmet cook, avid reader, crossword and Scrabble addict, enjoys baking ridiculously complicated pastry and loves outdoor adventures. She has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, braved the Australian outback, stared an enormous elephant in the face in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater and survived close encounters with grizzly bears in the Brooks Range of Alaska.


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2.14 eighth blackbird Transcript
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