• Blackbird Music Project Blackbird Music Project


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Mission Statement

The purpose of the Blackbird Music Project is to enrich local cultural life by bringing unique and artistic musical programming to a new and diverse audience. Through the creation and presentation of live concert performances, educational outreach programs and other various charitable activities associated with this goal, the Blackbird Music Project endeavors to broaden community appreciation of performance art and supplement existing community music education programs.


Music Director and Conductor Benjamin Makino developed the idea of original Blackbird Music Project following a summer spent working with an orchestra of young musicians from Prato, Italy. He envisioned a similar ensemble for young, talented musicians in Southern California as a means of presenting unusual works to the broadest possible audience, including youth, elementary and secondary students. Captivated since childhood with the variety of sounds in the world, he wanted to share his continued exploration of the interaction of sound and art with the community in which he grew up.

Since its inception in 2003 the Blackbird Music Project has produced engaging performances and innovative educational outreach throughout Orange County. As part of collaboration between the Blackbird Music Project and the Fullerton Union High School Academy of the Arts that brought the ensemble in as an artist in residence, the Blackbird Music Project produced Manuel De Falla's original 1915 version of El Amor Brujo--the first Spanish language production in the school's history. As part of the Blackbird Music Project's unique educational outreach activities, this innovative program included participation of high school students and recent alums in essential roles as actors, choreographer, lighting designer, and solo dancer and singer. In addition, Music Director and Conductor Benjamin Makino guest-lectured the International Baccalaureate music on orchestral literature.

The last two years have seen concerts of chamber music at St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, the most recent of which introduced a group of students from the Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano program to one of Maurice Ravel's most striking masterpieces--the infrequently performed Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé. Committed to illuminating undeservedly obscure corners of the repertoire--the Blackbird Music Project has presented rarely performed works by composers well-known and unknown including Manuel de Falla, Maurice Ravel, Josef Suk, Benjamin Britten and Anton Webern.

As part of its commitment to under-represented corners of the repertoire, over the past years the Blackbird Music Project has presented these works in its programs:

Benjamin Britten • Lachrymae for Viola and String Orchestra
Claude Debussy • Sonata for Violin and Piano
Manuel de Falla • El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter's Puppet Show)
Manuel de Falla • El Amor Brujo (1915 Chamber Version)
Felix Mendelssohn • Sonata in C Minor for Viola and Piano
Maurice Ravel • Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
Joseph Suk • Meditation on an old Bohemian Hymn
Joseph Suk • Serenade for String Orchestra
Anton Webern • Langsamer Satz

Upcoming programs include the following works:

Francesco Provenzale • Dialogo (I) a 5 voci per la passione
Kaija Saariaho • Je sens un deuxième cœur
Igor Stravinsky • Three Japanese Lyrics
Toru Takemitsu • Le son calligraphie 1 and 3



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