Director / Designer
Mark DeChiazza works across disciplines as a director, filmmaker, designer, and choreographer. Many of his projects explore expressive and kinetic possibilities in the presentation of new music.
Recent work includes New York Polyphony's video of Richard Rodney Bennett's A Colloquy with God, which premiered as a First Watch Feature on NPR Music, and the design of projected imagery for Jonathan Berger's two operas Visitations: "Theotokia" and "The War Reporter" first presented at StanfordLive.
His ongoing collaborations with Steven Mackey have produced: Prelude to the End, an instrumental quartet integrated with a three-screen video installation, performed by SOLI Chamber Ensemble; Slide, a music-theater work composed by Mackey, and written and performed by Rinde Eckert with eighth blackbird ensemble; and It Is Time, a Carnegie Hall commission for Mackey and SO Percussion, which DeChiazza subsequently adapted and directed as a film which was released by Cantaloupe Music with SO's CD It Is Time, in September 2011.
Other directing credits include Anthony Davis's opera Lear on the 2nd Floor and Philip Glass's Another Look at Harmony , presented at The Park Avenue Armory. In collaboration with MacArthur-winning choreographer Susan Marshall, DeChiazza has composed site-specific performances for Bang on a Can’s Asphalt Orchestra, at Lincoln Center and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Composer / Librettist
Guggenheim Fellow Amy Beth Kirsten is a founding member of the music theatre ensemble HOWL.
Kirsten’s current works aim to integrate music, language, and movement in theatrical settings. In 2014-15 her “wildly imaginative” Colombine’s Paradise Theatre, an evening-length, fully-staged work commissioned by the Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, will premiere in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art and in New York City at the Miller Theatre; strange pilgrims for string orchestra, chorus, and film commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra premiered in February 2014 in Carnegie Hall. Both of these works were collaborations with director and filmmaker Mark DeChiazza. The duo are now embarking on Quixote, a fully-staged work for their own ensemble, HOWL, which features three percussion, three female voices, and video. The Quixote team is planning a premiere and tour in 2017.
Ms. Kirsten was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, a Rockefeller Foundation Artist Fellowship, and a Harvard University Fromm Foundation Commission. Her projects have been funded by The MAP Fund, ASCAP Foundation, The Leonard Bernstein Family, New Music USA, Chamber Music America, and The National Endowment for the Arts. (click photo to visit Amy's website)
Ryan Ingebritsen has been the audio engineer for eighth blackbird since 1998 when they were graduate students together at the University of Cincinnati. As a composer and sound artist he received his BM in composition from St. Olaf College, master’s degree from University of Cincinnati and spent a year of study in Poland as a Fulbright fellow in 2000-01. He has since produced an opera in Poland, spent a summer on a McKnight Fellowship wandering the woods of northern Minnesota and become a dancer and live electronic performer with Erica Mott Productions while maintaining a full time job at the Chicago Culture Center. Visit Ryan's website.
Mary Ellen Stebbins. Recent NYC: The Traveling Imaginary (Orbiting Human Circus), My Machine Is Powered By Clocks, dive, Convergence, That Time, Hold Music, One Arm (Sightline), Walking the Volcano (Royal Family), A Spare Me (Waterwell), Roost (Ritual Theatre). Regional: Amadeus, Kite Runner (New Rep, Boston), Tracing a Line (Peabody Essex Museum, Salem) Lear on the 2nd Floor (UCSD, San Diego), The Argument (Interrobang, Chicago). Tour: The Orbiting Human Circus' Traveling Imaginary. Lighting Director: Monica Bill Barnes & Co. Resident Lighting Designer: Sightline Theater. Co-Founder HelikonRep. 2011 USITT Barbizon Lighting Design Award, 2009 Hangar Theatre Lab Company Design Fellow. MFA, Boston University. AB, Harvard College. www.maryellenstebbinsdesign.com
Sylvianne Shurman (Costume Designer) is a NYC based costume designer working in theater and film. Her recent credits include The Lady in Red Converses with Diablo (Arts@Renaissance), Fireface (CMU), Inexperienced Love (NYC Fringe), Secondhand Shakespeare (WVMTF), and has worked on a variety of feature films. Education: B.F.A. Carnegie Mellon University. Visit Sylvianne's website.