Eighth Blackbird Presents: The Chicago Artists Workshop (CAW) live stream concert series rounds out 2020 with J. Ivy, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8. The award-winning poet, artist, musician, author and actor will perform work from his newest album “Catching Dreams,” a blend of poetry and music. Limited in-person seating for the concert is available. For more information click HERE.
“Catching Dreams” is Ivy’s fourth studio album and, in Ivy’s own words, was created “to serve as another reminder of the love we were put here to learn, share, and grow from.” Ivy recently finished co-writing and co-producing, singer-song-writer, Tarrey Torae’s upcoming album, “Thanks for the Love,” and co-wrote the new song, “Freedom Ride” with GRAMMY Award-nominated House Music legend, DJ Terry Hunter, also by Torae.
Ivy is Poet Laureate for the famed visual artist Ernie Barnes’ Foundation and widely known for being the “Poet” featured on Kanye West’s GRAMMY-winning album “The College Dropout,” on the song “Never Let Me Down,” along with Hip-Hop icon Jay-Z. Early in his career, Ivy was featured on three seasons of HBO’s “Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry.” Since then, his work has been featured everywhere from commercials to classrooms. From hosting and performing at conferences for Deepak Chopra to penning and performing a poem for the NBA Hall of Fame Legend Michael Jordan, Ivy has used his unique style of poetry to navigate the art form to arenas of all facets.
Over the years Ivy’s work has earned him Peabody, Clio, Telly awards. Ivy poetically narrated, acted, and starred in two B.E.T. documentaries, “Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ” and “Martin: The Legacy of a King,” for which he won a 2020 NAACP Image Award. Ivy has done voice-over work for dozens of commercials and is author of three books. His latest, “Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain.” In July of 2020, J. Ivy wrote and narrated Beyoncé’s “Black Is King” promo for the “Return of the NBA.”
The 7 p.m., Dec. 8 concert featuring J. Ivy will be staged at the Eighth Blackbird production facility located at 4045 N. Rockwell St. This live streamed ticketed event also features limited in-person seating. Tickets: $20, but options include choosing a price as well contributing as a supporter. For tickets and more information click HERE.
“Eighth Blackbird Presents: The Chicago Artists Workshop” (CAW) live concert series debuted in Fall 2020, and is presented in three parts across the 2020-2021 performance season. Part 1 included live streamed concerts featuring Karim Sulayman (Oct. 20), Rebecca Rego: “Songs for Cleaning Women” (Nov. 11) and Justin Roberts with Anna Steinhoff: “Wild Life,” (Nov. 18), and continues with two more concerts: “An Evening with Xuan,” (Dec. 1) and a live streamed concert featuring Image Award-winning poet, artist, musician, author and actor J. Ivy (Dec. 8). Part 2 is scheduled for winter 2021, and will be announced Dec. 15, 2020. Part 3 will be announced in March 2021. Artists/dates/times are subject to change. For tickets or more information click HERE. CAW is made possible in part with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
About Eighth Blackbird
Eighth Blackbird is “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune). Launched in 1996 by six committed Oberlin Conservatory undergraduates, this Chicago-based super-group has earned its status as “a brand-name…defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality…” (Detroit Free Press).
Eighth Blackbird has since evolved from ensemble to institution, currently realizing its mission through five initiatives: Eighth Blackbird, the award-winning sextet; Blackbird IV, a piano/percussion duo featuring founding members Lisa Kaplan and Matthew Duvall; the Blackbird Creative Lab, the organization’s mentoring arm; Blackbird Productions, a designation for wide-ranging creative projects; and the Chicago Artists Workshop, a streaming platform created to support artists.
Recent achievements include a fourth GRAMMY Award, the inaugural Chamber Music America Visionary Award, an Ensemble of the Year Award from Musical America, and the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In 2017, the company launched the Blackbird Creative Lab,poet
a tuition-free summer training program, alumni network, and career support platform for emerging professionals focused on cutting edge musicianship, dynamic performance aesthetic, and savvy entrepreneurship.
Set to celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2021, Eighth Blackbird continues to fuel the modern canon it helped engine with hundreds of commissioned and premiered works by dozens of composers including Viet Cuong, Pamela Z, Bryce Dessner, Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Lang, Andy Akiho, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, and Steve Reich, whose commissioned work, Double Sextet, went on to win the Pulitzer Prize (2009). A long-term relationship with Chicago’s Cedille Records has produced ten acclaimed recordings and four impressive GRAMMY Awards for Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance. Eighth Blackbird’s most recent album, “Singing in the Dead of Night” by Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon, was released by Cedille in June 2020.
The group’s latest venture is the inaugural 2020–2021 Chicago Artists Workshop, a full season presenting 24 online concerts with a stellar lineup of featured artists as well as a residency program offering studio space and technical support to area artists. For more information about Eighth Blackbird click HERE and visit them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter #eighthblackbird.