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Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer has carved out a unique path as an influential, prolific, shape-shifting presence in modern music. He was described 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,” by the New York Times as a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway,” and by Minnesota Public Radio as “an American treasure.” A musical innovator, an active collaborator, and a member of multiple artistic communities, Iyer continues to reimagine the role of the musician in the 21st century.
For his episode on the Cornell Concert Series Fall 2020 Season, Iyer will perform some of his own compositions, which draw from a variety of sources- including African American improvisational traditions, his own Indian heritage, and the Western classical canon.
Proximity + Children of Flint
Where I Am
Taking Flight + Wrens
One For Blount + Crown Thy Good
Iyer has been voted DownBeat Magazine's Artist of the Year four times – in 2018, 2016, 2015 and 2012 – and Artist of the Year in Jazz Times' Critics’ and Readers’ Polls for 2017. Iyer was named a 2017 United States Artists Fellow, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist. He holds a lifetime appointment as the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University, with a joint affiliation with the Department of Music and the Department of African and African American Studies.
The New York Times observed, “There’s probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer.” Iyer has released twenty-three albums covering remarkably diverse terrain, most recently for the ECM label. 2019 brings the release of The Transitory Poems, a live two-piano improvisation with Iyer’s longtime colleague and label-mate, Craig Taborn. Prior to that, Iyer’s sextet album Far From Over (2017) was ranked #1 in US National Public Radio’s annual Jazz Critics’ Poll, surveying 157 critics. It was named among the best jazz albums of the year in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Slate, and the New York Times, and the only “jazz release” in Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 best records of 2017. Iyer’s Sextet was voted 2018 Jazz Group of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.