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Music In the Ayre

Chris McGrady | Friday, October 28, 2005

Already, in just its second year of use, the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts has established itself as a home for headlining musical talents.

Further proof of this will be given Saturday as three-time Grammy award-winning Soprano Dawn Upshaw visits Leighton Concert Hall to perform with contemporary musical-ensemble eighth blackbird as well as perform Osvaldo Golijov’s song-cycle “Ayre” which premiered at Carnegie Hall just last year.

Upshaw, who has already achieved worldwide celebrity as a talented opera and concert singer, has established herself as an elite talent, having been part of more than 50 recordings. These recordings include Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki, which has sold more than a million copies, an impressive feat for the

Upshaw has premiered over 40 works in the past decade. She is a member of the faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center. She is featured on three recent relatively underground classical genre. National Public Radio “Creators at Carnegie” programs, in live performances of Bach, Bartok, Berio, Golijov and Mozart. Upshaw is so respected that she has received honorary degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, Allegheny College and Illinois Wesleyan University.

Eighth blackbird will add their talents to Upshaw’s already abundant skills. Formed in 1996, eighth blackbird has already established itself in the modern classical genre as a group that is both provocative and enchanting. Eighth blackbird consists of six members and has won the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. A group that is lauded for its for its performing style, eighth blackbird has been called “friendly, unpretentious, idealistic and highly skilled” by “The New Yorker.”

Since the groups founding, eighth blackbird has been involved in premiering new works from respected composers such as George Perle and Joseph Schwanter. The group has three CDs release on the label Cedille Records.

In addition to a strenuous regiment of touring the country, as well as Europe and Canada, eighth blackbird has been active in the role of teaching. The group has taught masters classes and conducted musical outreach activities through the United States. The members of eighth blackbird collectively hold degrees in music performance from Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and Northwestern University.

In addition to eighth blackbird, Upshaw will be joined by Gustavo Santaolalla’s accompaniment on guitar for the opening set. His professional music career started at the age of 16 with the release of his first single. Soon after that, he started the band Arco Iris in 1967, which was a fusion of rock and Latin American folk that was a pioneer in its genre. In 1997, Santaolalla started “Surco”, his own record label which has signed bands such as Molotov, Juanes and Bajofondo Tango Club, in the process selling millions of records and winning numerous Latin Grammy awards.

Upshaw, eighth blackbird and Santaolalla will be playing this Saturday at the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts in the Leighton Concert Hall.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $41 for faculty and staff, $41 for seniors, $15 for students, and $48 for all others.