Black Violet

Black Violet Acts I-III

Black Violet takes place during the last major outbreak of the Black Plague in the 17th Century London. During this time, it was widely believed that black cats were the source of the disease decimating Europe. They, along with the other domestic pets, were systematically rounded up and exterminated in an attempt to contain the spread of contagion. With the resulting lack of natural predators, however, London’s rat population skyrocketed – the same population that was in fact the true carrier of the plague.

Our story follows Violet, a young black house cat living comfortably in London. When her owner leaves home to do her part to help ease the suffering of London’s afflicted and her caretaker falls prey to the plague, Violet is forced to venture out into the world for the first time in her life. In her search for her owner, Violet faces unimaginable dangers, crosses paths with bizarre characters, and forges unexpected friendships, all amidst one of the most terrifying passages of London’s history. Black Violet is told in three acts that serve as separate concert programs.


“…both fascinating and well worth having experienced.”
-Peter Jacobi, The Herald Times

“Young chamber groups devoted to shaking up the traditional concert experience are blossoming in Chicago, and one of the best is… Fifth House Ensemble… They are a talented crew, and they brought spontaneity and hair-trigger responsiveness to the music of Black Violet.”
-Wynne Delacoma, Musical America

“…Both the drawings and performances are prepared and presented with unassailable skill, and the imagination behind the story and musical backdrop is similarly impressive. The quality, design, concept and execution of Friday’s concert was excellent in every regard – as I hit the road Friday night, I was supremely satisfied, if not a little awed.”
-Garrett Schumann,


Black Violet Act I: The Leagues of Despair
Fl, Ob, Cl, Bsn, Hn, 2 Vln, Vla, Vcl, Bass, Piano

Walter Piston – Divertimento for Nine Players
     I. Allegro
     II. Tranquillo
     III. Vivo

Johannes Brahms – Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano Op. 40
     I. Andante
     II. Scherzo (Allegro)
     III. Adagio mesto
     IV. Allegro con brio

Jonathan Keren – Hungary is Far Away

Heitor Villa Lobos – Bachianas Brasileiras No. 6
     II. Fantasia

Greg Simon – Kites at Seal Rock

Black Violet Act II: The Great Exodus of the Tamed
Fl, Ob, Cl, Bsn, Hn, 2 Vln, Vla, Vcl, Bass, Piano

Ernest Bloch – Prayer

John Harbison – Quintet for Winds
     I. Intrada
     II. Intermezzo

     III. Romanza
     IV. Scherzo
     V. Finale

Sergei Prokofiev – Quintet Op. 39
     I. Moderato
     II. Andante energico
     III. Allegro sostenuto, ma con brio
     IV. Adagio pesante
     V. Allegro precipitato, ma non troppo presto
     VI. Andantino

Dmitri Shostakovich – Piano Quintet Op. 57
     I. Prelude
     II. Fugue
     III. Scherzo
     IV. Intermezzo
     V. Finale

Caleb Burhans – In Time of Desperation

Black Violet Act III: The Un-Natural Order
Fl, Ob, 2 Cl, Bsn, 2 Hn, Tpt, 2 Vln, Vla, Vcl, Bass, Piano, Conductor

Sergei Rachmaninoff – Vocalise Op. 34 No. 14

Sergei Prokofiev – Quintet Op. 39
     VI. Andantino

Jean Sibelius – String Quartet in D Minor
     I. Andante, allegro molto moderato
     II. Vivace
     III. Adagio di molto
     IV. Allegretto

Alain Goraguer – Les Fusees from La Planete Sauvage

Andre Previn – Trio for Piano, Oboe, and Bassoon
     II. Slow

Richard Wagner – Siegfried Idyll, Op. 103

About Ezra Claytan Daniels

Ezra Claytan Daniels is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles, CA. His critically acclaimed graphic novel series, The Changers, began a unique career peppered with a number of collaborative multimedia projects ranging from video games to animation to feature documentaries.

Ezra is the creator of the popular live art spectacle, The Comic Art Battle, which is a staple of the Stumptown Comics Festival and the template for countless iterations at comics and art events throughout the country, as well as Loaded Blanks Greetings, a line of fill-in-the-blanks comic-art greeting cards featuring both established as well as up and coming comics artists.

Ezra is currently working on Upgrade Soul, a pioneering immersive science fiction graphic novel for iOS that has been featured on the App Store and nominated for a 2013 IndieCade Award. Developed for Erik Loyer’s Opertoonity comics engine, Upgrade Soul has been displayed in installations at The Hyde Park Art Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and was a featured project at the Fantoche International Animation Festival and the Fumetto International Comics Festival.

Ezra spends his days as art director and UX/UI lead at Branchfire, whose award-winning iAnnotate PDF remains one of the most successful and influential productivity apps on the App Store, boasting over 1 million users globally.

For more information, visit