Event Archives

Eighth Blackbird, David Lang & Anne Bogart: composition as explanation

Founded by Lisa Kaplan and Matthew Duvall in 1996, the four-time GRAMMY Award-winning sextet Eighth Blackbird has been hailed as “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune). The group, known for commissioning unexpected and intrepid music, has a repertoire of contemporary classical works that verge on the post-modern and the avant-garde.

Composed by Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY winner David Lang, composition as explanation, commissioned by Duke Performances, is a scored nod to Gertrude Stein’s candid and circular 1926 lecture. True to form, Lang integrates classical composition and innovative aspects of theater, performance, and choreography. To create actors out of Eighth Blackbird, Lang sought out Anne Bogart, the acclaimed theater director and the co-artistic director of SITI Company. With Bogart at the helm, Lang envisions a new kind of musical artist, one with the formal training of actors on stage. At the world premiere of composition as explanation, watch Lang’s experiment in empowering musicians to become more than the conduits that deliver music to the listener.

On Friday, February 25, ticket-holders can join us for a post-performance talkback with Anne Bogart, David Lang, and a few members of Eighth Blackbird, moderated by Corina Stan of the Duke English department.


Current Duke Performances COVID-19 regulations


  • $35General
  • $10Duke Students
  • Fri, Feb 25, 2022 at 8:00pm
  • Sat, Feb 26, 2022 at 2:00pm
  • Sat, Feb 26, 2022 at 8:00pm
von der Heyden Studio Theater