Raven Chacon is a composer of chamber music, a performer of experimental noise music, and an installation artist. He performs regularly as a solo artist as well as with numerous ensembles in the Southwest USA, and is also a member of the American Indian arts collective Postcommodity. As an educator, Chacon has served as composer-in-residence for the Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP) since 2004, teaching string quartet composition to hundreds of American Indian high school students living on reservations in the Southwest U.S. Under his instruction, this project was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in 2011.
Chacon has presented his work in different contexts at Vancouver Art Gallery, ABC No Rio, REDCAT, La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale Musica, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Chaco Canyon, Ende Tymes Festival, 18th Biennale of Sydney, and The Kennedy Center among other traditional and non-traditional venues.
New York, NY
Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer was voted DownBeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, and 2016. He received a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and a 2011 Grammy nomination. He has released twenty-one albums, including A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) in duo with Wadada Leo Smith; Break Stuff (ECM, 2015) with the Vijay Iyer Trio; the score for the film Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi (ECM, 2014), directed by Prashant Bhargava; and Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings, 2013), with poet-performer Mike Ladd.
Iyer’s compositions have been premiered by Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Ethel, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Matt Haimowitz, and Jennifer Koh; his works are published by Schott Music. He has collaborated with Steve Coleman, George Lewis, Butch Morris, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Steve Lehman, Craig Taborn, Oliver Lake, Ambrose Akinmusire, Tyshawn Sorey, Matana Roberts, Amiri Baraka, Teju Cole, and Himanshu Suri, among others.
Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University. He is Director of The Banff Centre’s International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, and Musical Director for the 2017 Ojai Festival. He is a Steinway artist.
Eddy Kwon is a composer-performer and community-based teaching artist living in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Eddy is Co-Founder and Director of MYCincinnati, a tuition-free, El Sistema-inspired youth orchestra program for children in the diverse Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati, where he also lives. Currently engaging over 100 children for at least 2 hours every day after school, MYCincinnati’s mission is to use ensemble-based music education as a vehicle for youth development, community engagement, and social change. He is also Director of MYCincinnati’s Ambassador Ensemble, a radical youth sextet committed to social justice through creative collaboration and avant performance.
Recent composition commissions include VIOLENCE, a performance work for electro-acoustic ensemble that explores structural violence in America, and a r c h i p e l a g o, a unison piece for electric string quartet experiencing intense sensory deprivation (Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, 2014-15).
As a performer and improviser, Eddy has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, including Jens Lekman, Awadagin Pratt, Martha Colburn, and JP Bouvet. He is also a founding member of The Happy Maladies, a string quartet with roots in American folk, classical chamber music, and experimental rock.
Eddy is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he was a Cincinnatus Presidential Full Scholar, studying both violin performance and jazz improvisation. In 2014, he was awarded the City of Cincinnati’s Art Ambassador Fellowship.
Mike Reed is a musician, composer and presenter based in Chicago. Reed has been part of the vibrant Chicago jazz and improvised music community since 1997. While performing in a variety of projects locally, nationally and internationally, Reed also leads two widely acclaimed groups, Loose Assembly and People, Places & Things. Reed was named Chicagoan of the Year for Jazz (2008) by the Chicago Tribune and in the 57th annual Downbeat critics poll was distinguished as “Rising Jazz Star”. (People, Places & Things also named as “Rising Jazz Group”.) Over the years he has had the pleasure to work with luminaries in the jazz and improvised music world including Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Fred Anderson and Julian Priester among others.
As a producer Reed serves as Chairman for the Chicago Jazz Festival Programming Committee and from 2009-11 he served as vice chairman for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Reed is also the Director of the internationally renown Pitchfork Music Festival, drawing over 50,000 attendees to Chicago over 3 days and featuring today’s most cutting edge rock and pop artists.
In April 2013 Reed opened Constellation a venue with a mission is to present progressive performance and forward-thinking music with a focus on jazz, improvisation and contemporary classical.
Dianne Reeves is the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world. As a result of her virtuosity, improvisational prowess, and unique jazz and R&B stylings, Reeves received the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings — a Grammy first in any vocal category.
Featured in George Clooney’s six-time Academy Award nominated “Good Night, and Good Luck,” Reeves won her fourth of five Best Jazz Vocal Grammys for the film’s soundtrack. Reeves has recorded and performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. She has also recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.
In recent years Reeves has toured the world in a variety of contexts including a program entitled, “Sing the Truth,” a musical celebration of Nina Simone which also featured Liz Wright and Angelique Kidjo. Reeves has performed at the White House on multiple occasions including President Obama’s State Dinner for the President of China as well as the Governors’ Ball. Reeves’ latest release, Beautiful Life, won the 2015 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album and features Gregory Porter, Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway, and Esperanza Spalding.
After contributing seven decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world’s foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary. Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa, his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire.
“Weston has the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest most inventive beat,” states jazz critic Stanley Crouch, “but his art is more than projection and time; it’s the result of a studious and inspired intelligence…an intelligence that is creating a fresh synthesis of African elements with jazz technique”.
Cellist Maya Beiser defies categories; Passionately forging a career path through uncharted territories, she has captivated audiences worldwide with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument’s boundaries. The Boston Globe declares, “With virtuoso chops, rock-star charisma, and an appetite for pushing her instrument to the edge of avant-garde adventurousness, Maya Beiser is the post-modern diva of the cello.”
Raised in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, surrounded by the music and rituals of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, while studying classical cello repertoire, Maya has dedicated her work to reinventing solo cello performance in the mainstream classical arena. A featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, London’s South Bank Centre, Sydney Opera House, and the Beijing Festival, she has collaborated with a wide range of artists across many disciplines, including Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Shirin Neshat, Steve Reich, David Lang, Tan Dun, Robert Woodruff, Bill Morrison, Evan Ziporyn and Osvaldo Golijov, among many others. Maya’s 2012 production, Elsewhere: A CelloOpera, premiered at Carolina Performing Arts followed by a sold-out run at the BAM Next Wave Festival. Her latest project All Vows explores the dichotomy between the physical, external world and the inner landscape of our secret selves and premiered at the Yerba Buena Center in 2014. Beiser is currently touring All Vows worldwide. Upcoming performances include BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival, London’s Barbican Hall and the Ojai Music Festival.
Invited to present at the prestigious TED main stage in Long Beach CA, Maya’s 2011 TEDtalk has been watched by close to one million people and translated to 32 languages. In 2013, she was a featured guest alongside such luminaries as Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, and Isabella Rossellini at ICASTICA, a festival celebrating women working in artistic fields in Arezzo, Italy.
Maya is a graduate of Yale University and a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Her vast discography includes eight solo albums and many studio recordings and film music collaborations. Her 2010 album Provenance topped the classical and world music charts on both Amazon and iTunes, and her album Time Loops was selected among NPR’s top 10 recordings of 2012. Her latest album Uncovered, a collection of re-imagined and re-contextualized classic rock masterpieces, was in the top 10 on the Billboard Classical Chart upon release in August 2014 and has been garnering rave reviews.
New York, NY
In the words of The New Yorker, “With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.”
Recent works include the concerto man made for the ensemble So Percussion and a consortium of orchestras, including the BBC Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; mountain for the Cincinnati Symphony; death speaks for Shara Nova, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Owen Pallett, at Carnegie Hall; and the whisper opera for International Contemporary Ensemble, which premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.
Upcoming highlights include the world premiere staging of his opera anatomy theater, written in collaboration with visual artist Mark Dion, at Los Angeles Opera in June 2016; the North American release in December of Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s film Youth, for which Lang composed the score; and Cantaloupe Music’s release of the world premiere recordings by the Los Angeles Master Chorale of Lang’s the national anthems and the choral version of the little match girl passion.
Lang is a Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music and is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music festival Bang on a Can.
Few musicians share the ability of alto saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. The current manifestations of that trajectory include his latest project Bird Calls, which was issued in February 2015.
Though it pays homage to one of jazz’s Founding Fathers and arrives at the outset of Charlie Parker’s 95th birthday year, Bird Calls is not a tribute album. There isn’t a single Parker composition to be found on the album. But Bird’s DNA is strongly present in all of these pieces, each of which takes a particular Parker melody or solo as its source of inspiration then wholly reimagined and re-contextualized by Mahanthappa and his quintet.
Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, and numerous commission awards from the MAP Fund, Chamber Music America, and American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year four of the past five years in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics Polls and for five years running by the Jazz Journalists’ Association. In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world.
Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner, is one of the most exciting and innovative artists of our time. A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans.
Walker’s 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night announced his arrival. Walker is the total package, as tremendously assured on a down-in-the-alley acoustic solo outing as he is performing a thoroughly modern R&B-laced number.
Born on December 25, 1949 in San Francisco, Walker took up the guitar at an early age and quickly became a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene. While rooming with Mike Bloomfield, he was introduced to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead.
Walker’s acclaimed recordings in the 1990s merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock influences with his trademark blues sensibilities. These releases feature Walker’s collaborations with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.
Walker’s debut on Alligator Records with 2012’s Hellfire, which Billboard calls “a heavenly showcase for Walker’s virtues”. In 2014 he returned with Hornet’s Nest, which the Chicago Sun-Times describes as “proudly modern, designed to rest comfortably alongside anything from the Black Keys or Jack White.”
Walker’s discography includes 25 solo albums, three live DVDs, and countless compilations and guest appearances. NPR Music calls Walker “a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues,” and he is already being referred to within the blues world as a living legend.