Vijay Iyer
Composer and Pianist
New York, NY
2016 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by Peter D. and Julie Fisher Cummings.

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.

Portrait photo by Jimmy Katz.
  • Artwork by Vijay Iyer
    Vijay Iyer Trio, Break Stuff (compact disc or double LP), 2015 Courtesy of ECM Records.
  • Artwork by Vijay Iyer
    Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith, recording session for A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke, 2015. Photo by John Rogers.
  • Artwork by Vijay Iyer
    Vijay Iyer Trio (with Stephan Crump & Tyshawn Sorey) live in Montreal, 2015. Photo by Dave Kaufman.
Artwork by Vijay Iyer Artwork by Vijay Iyer Artwork by Vijay Iyer