21 February, 2020Print
Vijay Iyer’s Tremendous 2020 Highlights Cutting Edge Interdisciplinary Work As Pianist, Composer And Curator
Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, deemed "one of the best in the world at what he does" by Pitchfork, has plotted an impressive and kaleidoscopic year of performances and commissions that showcase just how interdisciplinary his work is. Highlights include the premiere of new works at the University of Chicago and in London at Wigmore Hall. At Harvard in April, Iyer will host Black Speculative Musicalities: The Fromm Players Concerts: two days of curated performances and a symposium drawn from Iyer’s decades of musical encounters and collaborations with leading figures across genres and disciplines. He will also return to the Banff Center for Arts in August to co-direct the prestigious International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music.
*April 3 and 4 at Harvard University: Iyer will present Black Speculative Musicalities, a festival and symposium celebrating African American artists who, through their powerful imaginations, have challenged and expanded our notions of what music is, what it can be, and what it can do. Iyer has been a Professor of the Arts at Harvard since 2014, with joint affiliations with the Department of Music and the Department of African and African American Studies. These events shine a bright light on the radical sonic imaginings of the African diaspora.
- Black Speculative Musicalities: The Fromm Players Concerts - curated by Vijay Iyer
- April 3: featuring performances by Meshell Ndegeocello and Yvette Jackson’s Radio Opera Workshop
- April 4: Daytime symposium featuring Saidiya Hartman, Greg Tate and Shana Redmond
- April 4: Evening concert with performances by Roscoe Mitchell Quartet (feat. Ambrose Akinmusire, Junius Paul, Vincent Davis), Val Jeanty's NiteBjuti, and Imani Uzuri: Conjure Woman.
*May 15 at University of Chicago: Iyer will premiere Ghosts Everywhere I Go, a newly commissioned piece inspired by the writings of Eve Ewing, a celebrated poet, sociologist, comic book author (Marvel's Ironheart series), and University of Chicago professor. The performance will feature Jeff Parker, Tomeka Reid, Joel Ross, Nick Dunston, Jeremy Dutton, Julian Otis and Eden Girma. Ewing’s interdisciplinary work considers and reimagines African American life in the context of systemic racism in Chicago. Iyer's project offers a sonic counterpoint to Ewing's poetic language, trenchant critiques, and Afrofuturist fabulations.
*June 10 - London’s Wigmore Hall: As Composer in Residence for the 2019/2020 season, Iyer will present several original works with the Aurora Orchestra. The cornerstone is Crisis Modes, a piece co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Gustavo Dudamel, Music and Artistic Director; KölnMusik GmbH; and Wigmore Hall. Other pieces include Song for Flint, commissioned by Miller Theatre at Columbia University for the Year of Water 2019 - 2020, for solo viola; Musicalities, for solo piano; The Law of Returns, for piano quartet with strings, commissioned by the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Poland; a section of his string quartet from Mutations (2005); and more.
*August 2-22 - Banff, Alberta: Iyer will return to the Banff International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music, alongside co-director Tyshawn Sorey. Since 2013 Iyer has served as Artistic Director of the three-week workshop, an intensive program of learning and exploration for emerging artists from around the world. Founded in 1973 by Oscar Peterson, the program has hosted generations of the music's bright talents.
Additionally, Iyer’s compositions are featured on recent releases by classical performers, including violinist Jennifer Koh's album Limitless, which features the duo piece The Diamond. Iyer will perform it with her at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX on March 14. Mishka Rushdie Momen's recent album Variations includes Iyer’s solo piano composition Hallucination Party. Later this year pianist Shai Wosner will premiere a commissioned piece as part of a series on music inspired by immigrants. Iyer’s work will be dedicated to Kwame Ture.
Other performances include a concert with his widely celebrated sextet - playing selections from 2017’s Far From Over (the #1 album on NPR’s Jazz Critics Poll of that year) at the Wortham Center in Houston on February 29. Iyer will also collaborate in concerts with Craig Taborn in Germany, with Wadada Leo Smith in NYC and with Henry Threadgill and Dafnis Prieto in NYC. Full schedule is below.
The previous few months have been equally active and diverse. Iyer just completed a sold-out run of four nights at the Jazz Standard in NYC - including four sets as a trio featuring Tyshawn Sorey (drums) and Linda May Han Oh (bass).
His work as a composer was the subject of a sold-out Composer Portrait concert at Miller Theatre at Columbia University on October 24, with chamber orchestra The Knights and violinist Jennifer Koh performing his compositions, including the New York premiere of Iyer's violin concerto Trouble, two other New York premieres, and the world premiere of a haunting solo viola piece titled Song for Flint. The concert featured extensive program notes by Lara Pellegrinelli.
A 2013 MacArthur Fellow and 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist, Iyer has been voted DownBeat Magazine's Artist of the Year four times in the past 8 years. He has been voted Artist of the Year in Jazz Times' Critics' and Readers' Polls for 2017. His previous Vijay Iyer Trio release, Break Stuff, was issued by ECM in 2015.
"There's probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer" - NY Times
“One of the great living jazz musicians, although a lot of his music isn't what you'd recognize as jazz” – Studio 360/National Public Radio
Feb 29 - Houston, TX - Lillie & Roy Cullen Theatre, Wortham Center - Vijay Iyer Sextet
Mar 14 - Fort Worth, TX - Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth - with Jennifer Koh (Violin)
Mar 21 - Cologne, Germany - Kölner Philharmonie - with Craig Taborn
April 3-4 - Cambridge, MA - Harvard University - [curation] Black Speculative Musicalities: THE FROMM PLAYERS CONCERTS
Apr 17 - New York, NY - Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch Performing Arts Center - with Wadada Leo Smith
April 24 - New Haven, CT - Yale Center for British Art - with The Ritual Ensemble
May 15 - Chicago, IL - Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago - premiere of Ghosts Everywhere I Go: The Arches Project featuring Jeff Parker, Tomeka Reid, Joel Ross, Nick Dunston, Jeremy Dutton, Julian Otis and Eden Girma
May 17 - June 5 - New Smyrna Beach, FL - Atlantic Center For The Arts - artist residency
June 10 - London, UK - Wigmore Hall - with Aurora Orchestra
June 12-13 - New York, NY - Jazz Gallery - with Henry Threadgill and Dafnis Prieto
June 16-21 - New York, NY - Village Vanguard: June 16-19 with Tyshawn Sorey and Linda May Han Oh; June 20 and 21 with Leo Wadada Smith, Stephan Crump, Jeremy Dutton