Members of Grammy Award winning ensemble eighth blackbird perform Columbine's Paradise Theatre (photo courtesy of eighth blackbird). 

The Chicago-based, three-time Grammy-winning sextet eighth blackbird will make their return to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s MCA Stage with Heart and Breath, a two-part concert tracing love songs through the ages. The evening will open with compositions by Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Claudio Monteverdi, Carlo Gesualdo, and Bon Iver. The stage will then be reset for the hour-long production of Colombine's Paradise Theatre. Heart and Breath takes place September 12 at 7:30 pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.   Developed in residency at MCA Stage, Colombine's Paradise Theatre is an imaginative music fantasy on 17th-century Italian theater featuring the eighth blackbird members wearing masks and costumes and playing instruments as well as speaking, singing, growling, whispering, and miming. The work embraces and transforms the commedia dell'arte story of Harlequin, Colombine, and Pierrot into a dark, mythical story of love, death, dream, and delusion. In this fantastical world, a flute solo morphs into a soliloquy, a bass drum becomes the moon, and the landscape transforms into an instrument.

eighth blackbird is a three-time Grammy Award winning sextet featuring percussionist Matthew Duvall, pianist Lisa Kaplan, violinist Yvonne Lam, clarinetist Michael J. Maccaferri, flutist Tim Munro, and cellist Nicholas Photinos. The group combines wind, string, piano, and percussion and are noted worldwide for being genre-bending musicians. Since its founding in 1996, eighth blackbird has actively commissioned and recorded new works from such eminent composers as Steve Reich, George Perle, and Frederic Rzewski. The group holds ongoing Ensemble in Residence positions at the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Richmond, and University of Chicago.  

Belleville, Illinois, native Amy Beth Kirsten is a composer for orchestra, chamber ensemble, opera, and solo instruments, as well as a librettist and poet. Mark DeChiazza is a director, filmmaker, designer, and choreographer. Colombine's Paradise Theatre, his first creative collaboration with Amy Beth Kirsten, continues a relationship with eighth blackbird that began with their acclaimed production of Pierrot Lunaire, which he conceived and directed for the ensemble.   

For more information about the upcoming presentation of Heart and Breath, visit

winner of the prestigious  

MCA Stage to feature Columbine's Paradise Theatre by eighth blackbird in New Season