Premier ensemble kicks off EMAR

New entrepreneurial program funded by MSUFCU features Eighth Blackbird.


Ever since the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) awarded the MSU College of Music $750,000 to fund a new signature artist-in-residence program focused on entrepreneurship in the musical arts, the college has anticipated the game-changing nature of this new opportunity. In spring 2019, the Entrepreneurial Musical Artist in Residence (EMAR) program came to life with the arrival of innovative ensemble Eighth Blackbird

Based in Chicago, this Grammy-winning sextet helped advance the EMAR mission to support a culture of entrepreneurship within the college by providing music majors the opportunity to learn from and network with successful, progressive artists. Eighth Blackbird’s trademark blend of high quality, cutting-edge performances and insightful and empowering education focus had a positive impact on Music students. The artists, including Yvonne Lam who was recently appointed as the College of Music’s new violin faculty member, held master classes, workshops and coaching sessions in addition to opportunities for students to have new works premiered by the ensemble and perform alongside percussionist Matt Duvall.

The support of the MSUFCU is key to strengthening and sustaining the college’s entrepreneurial vision. The endowment it created now enables faculty and staff to attract leading artists and arrange vibrant residencies (like that of Eighth Blackbird) that complement the Running Start music entrepreneurship program.

EMAR promotes immersive experiences where students can learn from artists and thought leaders whose innovative careers are redefining relationships between musicians, communities, the music industry and audiences. The college plans to bring one to two nationally recognized artists to campus each year. The defining characteristic are artists who have merged non-traditional and traditional elements to redefine musical experiences and careers. As the inaugural EMAR artist in residence, Eighth Blackbird has gotten the program off to a tremendous start.

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