Black Violet Act I: The Leagues of Despair
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5 Nov 2011
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Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras no 6 for Flute and Bassoon N/A
Recording Date: Tue 1 Jun 2010
Aria (Choros) (3:35) N/A
Fantasia (5:43) N/A
Brahms: Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano in E flat major, Op. 40 N/A
I - Andante (7:35) N/A
II - Scherzo: Allegro (6:57) N/A
III - Adagio mesto (6:52) N/A
IV - Finale: Allegro con brio (6:15) N/A
Backstage Pass
Melissa Snoza (Flutist, Executive Director)
Access exclusive content, including videos of this unprecedented collaboration between Fifth House Ensemble and graphic novelist Ezra Claytan Daniels, available at:

'Twas the Year of Our Lorde, Two Thousand and Nine…'

On a brisk early autumn evening in downtown Chicago, boundary-pushing chamber group Fifth House Ensemble and acclaimed graphic novelist Ezra Claytan Daniels unveiled the first act of the mysterious collaboration that had each party bound diligently to their drawing tables, computers, and sheet music for months prior. To curious peers, BLACK VIOLET was a difficult thing to describe during those months. Part chamber concert, part graphic novel, part epic silent film, the project was one that stretched the limits of each form toward something wholly new and uncommonly ambitious.

The collaboration began with a uniquely compelling idea to create a visceral and accessible format through which an audience could connect in new ways with an otherwise traditional chamber concert. Fifth House recruited Daniels to help realize their vision, and he brought to the project the seed of a story inspired by the superstitious persecution of black cats during the last outbreak of bubonic plague in 17th century London.

Starting with a small library of potential pieces, Daniels worked closely with Fifth House not only to program the music for the concert series, but to create a cohesive emotional narrative using movements from disparate pieces culled from various periods, regions and schools. This would be the structure upon which Daniels would pen a narrative driven as much by his own creative whims as the emotional cues in the music; music, in fact, written sometimes centuries before he was even born.

6 months and countless man-hours later, on that cool autumn evening in the City of Big Shoulders, Fifth House Ensemble and Ezra Claytan Daniels premiered an unprecedented entertainment experience. Performing to a capacity audience in the historic Chicago Cultural Center, the music of Brahms, Piston, Villa Lobos, and others came to life in ways it never had before: A series of vibrant and intricately detailed graphic novel panels, timed precisely to the playing of the
orchestra, painted the world of Violet, a posh young black cat living a life of pampered ignorance in the decimated London of 1665.

As the curtain closed on that performance, its creators knew the next 6 months would be no easier than the preceding, as they went straight to work at creating Acts II and III of Violet’s adventure, which the Chicago Sun-Times would dub nothing less than “a modern classic”. But so does not end Violet’s story, as Fifth House Ensemble continues to perform the concert series across the country, and creator Ezra Claytan Daniels has begun work on taking Violet’s story to an exciting new level…

Fifth House Ensemble:
Truly an ensemble for our time, Fifth House Ensemble is defined by its limitless imagination and energy with an insatiable desire to bring chamber music to audiences of all types. Praised by the New York Times for its "conviction, authority and finesse," 5HE harnesses the collaborative spirit of chamber music to create transformative cross-media performance experiences that bring together elements as diverse as storytelling, physical theatre, graphic novels, and fashion design. With humor and joy, 5HE breathes life into repertoire both established and emerging, equally at home on the most prestigious stages and unexpected venues including aquariums, train stations, and bars. Bringing its signature connective programming from the stage to the classroom, 5HE develops young audiences through curriculum-integrated interactive concerts and residencies for students K-12. Responsive to the needs of young musicians in today’s marketplace, 5HE also shares its experiences as a creatively-managed ensemble through higher education workshops that train the next generation of artists in career development, creative presentation, educational outreach, and more.

Ezra Claytan Daniels:
Ezra Claytan Daniels is a writer and illustrator based in Chicago, IL. His critically acclaimed graphic novel series, The Changers, began a unique comics career peppered with a number of collaborative multimedia projects including the groundbreaking experimental iPhone App, Ruben & Lullaby, and the upcoming 'immersive' graphic novel, Upgrade Soul. Ezra is also the creator of the popular live art spectacle, The Comic Art Battle, and Loaded Blanks Greetings, a line of fill-in-the-blank comic-art greeting cards featuring both established as well as up and coming comics artists. His work has been published by Dark Horse Comics, and his illustrations have been featured on the covers of the Village Voice Chicago Reader and The Portland Mercury.
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