Formed in 2010, The Blackbird Ensemble performed their first show “The Arvo Pärt Experience” in the basement chamber of Toto’s restaurant, lit entirely by candlelight. The sell out concert led the group to create another show, “The Duino elegies” the following year, with music by Phillip Glass, Thomas Newman, Radiohead and Björk. It was performed in three different venues across Auckland, and featured excerpts of Rilke’s poetry read by Oliver Driver. Since those early days, the ensemble has gone on to produce 8 different theatrical shows, led by the group’s unstoppable musical director and arranger, Claire Cowan. “By the Sea”, “The Ballet Banquet”, “The Wilderness”, “The Night Sky”, “Dreams”, and “Carnivale”. Read more on the ‘SHOWS‘ page.
Since it’s inception The Blackbird Ensemble has done things differently. The aim is to produce musical experiences that are holistic in their approach. Not only are the audience given the chance to hear music rarely performed and of exquisite beauty and energy, it is also presented in such a way that extra musical elements are integrated to enhance and strengthen the ideas behind the music. Blackbird’s focus is to present music and ideas that are original, provocative, powerful and memorable.
At it’s biggest, the group is 25 members strong. At it’s smallest, 5. The Blackbird Ensemble name has come to represent a growing group of musicians from different musical backgrounds, performing radical and inventive takes on music from classical and alternative genres. From Tango to Electronica, Soul to Stravinsky, Blackbird Ensemble tackles it all with a twist – it’s reinvention of the expectations of classical performance enthrals critics and audience members alike.