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 and revered 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, three Grammy nominations, the Alpert Award in the Arts, the Greenfield Prize, 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 indebted to the great composer-pianists from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to Alice Coltrane and Geri Allen, the rhythmic traditions of South Asia and West Africa, and the African American creative music movement of the 60s and 70s. February 2024 brings the release of Compassion (ECM Records), the second recording by Iyer’s much-admired trio with drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Linda May Han Oh. The New York Times writes, “It’s as if this band wants to both seduce you and discomfit you, stripping you of everything but the ability to think and see for yourself.” Other recent releases include Love In Exile (Verve, 2023), a Grammy-nominated collaboration with vocalist Arooj Aftab and bassist Shahzad Ismaily; Uneasy (ECM Records, 2021), the acclaimed first trio session with Sorey and Oh; 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 an active composer for classical ensembles and soloists, with works premiered by Brentano Quartet, Imani Winds, Parker Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Sō Percussion, International Contemporary Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, and virtuosi Matt Haimowitz, Mishka Rushdie Momen, Claire Chase, Inbal Segev, Sarah Rothenberg, Shai Wosner, and Jennifer Koh. 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, Julie Mehretu, and Prashant Bhargava. Iyer is a tenured professor at Harvard University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Music and the Department of African and African American Studies. He lives in New York City. He is a Steinway artist.
Described by The New York Times as a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway,” composer-pianist VIJAY IYER has earned a place as one of the leading music-makers of his generation. His honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artist Fellowship, and the Alpert Award in the Arts. His newest album features his acclaimed trio with drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Linda May Han Oh titled Compassion (ECM, 2024). His lush, expansive collaboration with Arooj Aftab and Shahzad Ismaily, Love in Exile (Verve, 2023), received two Grammy nominations and was named among the best albums of the year in Pitchfork and The New York Times.
Described by The New York Times as a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway,” VIJAY IYER is a composer and pianist based in New York. His honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artist Fellowship, and a Grammy nomination.