Described by The New York Times as a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway,” Vijay Iyer has carved out a unique path as an influential, prolific, shape-shifting presence in twenty-first-century music. A composer and pianist active across multiple musical communities, Iyer has created a consistently innovative, emotionally resonant body of work over the last twenty-five years, earning him a place as one of the leading music-makers of his generation.
He received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artist Fellowship, a Grammy nomination, the Alpert Award in the Arts, and two German “Echo” awards, and was voted Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year four times in the last decade. He has been praised by Pitchfork as “one of the best in the world at what he does,” by the Los Angeles Weekly as “a boundless and deeply important young star,” and by Minnesota Public Radio as “an American treasure.”
Iyer’s musical language is grounded in the rhythmic traditions of South Asia and West Africa, the African American creative music movement of the 60s and 70s, and the lineage of composer-pianists from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to Alice Coltrane and Geri Allen. He has released twenty-four albums of his music, most recently UnEasy (ECM Records, 2021), a trio session with drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Linda May Han Oh; The Transitory Poems (ECM, 2019), a live duo recording with pianist Craig Taborn; Far From Over (ECM, 2017) with the award-winning Vijay Iyer Sextet; and A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) a suite of duets with visionary composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.
Iyer is also an active composer for classical ensembles and soloists. His works have been commissioned and premiered by Brentano Quartet, Imani Winds, Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, and virtuosi Matt Haimowitz, Claire Chase, Shai Wosner, and Jennifer Koh, among others. He recently served as composer-in-residence at London’s Wigmore Hall, music director of the Ojai Music Festival, and artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A tireless collaborator, he has written big-band music for Arturo O’Farrill and Darcy James Argue, remixed classic recordings of Talvin Singh and Meredith Monk, joined forces with legendary musicians Henry Threadgill, Reggie Workman, Zakir Hussain, and L. Subramanian, and developed interdisciplinary work with Teju Cole, Carrie Mae Weems, Mike Ladd, Prashant Bhargava, and Karole Armitage.
A longtime New Yorker, Iyer lives in central Harlem with his wife and daughter. He teaches at Harvard University in the Department of Music and the Department of African and African American Studies. He is a Steinway artist.
Linda May Han Oh
Based in New York City, Linda May Han Oh is a bassist/composer who has performed and recorded with artists such as Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Wilson, Geri Allen and Vijay Iyer.
Originally born in Malaysia and raised in Perth, Western Australia, she has received many awards such as 2nd place at the BASS2010 Competition, a semi-finalist at the BMW Bass competition and an honorary mention at the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition.
Linda also received the 2010 Bell Award for Young Australian Artist of the Year and was the 2012 Downbeat Critic's Poll "Rising Star" on bass. She was voted the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Bassist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist’s Association, as well as 2019 Up-and-coming Artist of the Year. Linda recently received a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, as well as the Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant for 2019. She also was voted 2019 Bassist of the Year in Hothouse Magazine and was 2020 recipient of the Margaret Whitton Award.
She has had five releases as a leader which have received critical acclaim. Her most recent release “Aventurine” is a double quartet album, featuring string quartet and vocal group Invenio, winning the Best New Jazz Work for the Australian APRA Art Awards.
Linda has written for large and small ensembles as well as for film, participating in the BMI Film Composers Workshop, Sundance Labs at Skywalker Ranch and Sabrina McCormick's short films, "A Good Egg" and “FracKtured.” Linda also composed and produced music for a collaborative film project with non-profit, “Hoperaisers” based in Korogocho, Kenya.
Linda is based in New York City and is currently Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music and is also part of the Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice. As an active educator she has also created a series of lessons for the BassGuru app for iPad and iPhone.
She was recently featured as the bassist in the Dorothea Williams Quartet in the Pixar movie "Soul" under the musical direction of Jon Batiste (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) alongside the great drummer Roy Haynes.
Newark-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey (b. 1980) is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work. He has performed nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as artists such as John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Claire Chase, Steve Lehman, Jason Moran, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Myra Melford, among many others.
The New York Times has praised Sorey for his instrumental facility and aplomb, “he plays not only with gale-force physicality, but also a sense of scale and equipoise”; The Wall Street Journal notes Sorey is, “a composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas.” The New Yorker recently noted that Sorey is “among the most formidable denizens of the in-between zone…An extraordinary talent who can see across the entire musical landscape.”
Sorey has composed works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the International Contemporary Ensemble, soprano Julia Bullock, PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, TAK Ensemble, the McGill-McHale Trio, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, Alarm Will Sound, the Louisville Orchestra, and tenor Lawrence Brownlee with Opera Philadelphia in partnership with Carnegie Hall, as well as for countless collaborative performers. His music has been performed in notable venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Village Vanguard, the Ojai Music Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Kimmel Center, and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Sorey has received support for his creative projects from The Jerome Foundation, The Shifting Foundation, Van Lier Fellowship, and was named a 2017 MacArthur fellow and a 2018 United States Artists Fellow.
Sorey has released twelve critically acclaimed recordings that feature his work as a composer, co-composer, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, and conceptualist. His latest release, Pillars (Firehouse 12 Records, 2018), has been praised by Rolling Stone as “an immersive soundworld… sprawling, mysterious… thrilling” and has been named as one of BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction 2018 albums of the year.
In 2012, he was selected as one of nine composers for the Other Minds Festival, where he exchanged ideas with such like-minded peers as Ikue Mori, Ken Ueno, and Harold Budd. In 2013, Jazz Danmark invited him to serve as the Danish International Visiting Artist. He was also a 2015 recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Award. Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Columbia University, The New England Conservatory, The Banff Centre, University of Michigan, International Realtime Music Symposium, Harvard University, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Berklee College of Music, University of Chicago, and The Danish Rhythmic Conservatory. Sorey will join the composition faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in the Fall of 2020.