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Vijay Iyer: Leading With A Year of Firsts

Vijay Iyer Photo By Laylah Amatullah Barrayn
Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 4:00pm

Catch Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer and his multi-Colors of Jazz when he speaks with Bonnie Johnson. Bringing his voice to the people through piano and creative musical collaborations, 2013 has paved the way to a year of many firsts for Iyer. Among them, he joined long time collaborator, poet and performer Mike Ladd to produce Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project, an album featuring U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in a mix of spoken word interviews and original music that "capture[s] the poetry of war".  Iyer also joined the 2013 class of MacArthur Foundation Fellows, receiving the coveted "genius" grant in September and later becoming a member of Harvard University's faculty as the first Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in January 2014.

Quite the "renaissance" man, Vijay Iyer is featured among artists and celebrities in the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center's exhibition Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation. Notably, this is the Smithsonian Institute’s "first in-depth examination into the history of Indian Americans in the United States".  Over the years, the pianist has played alongside trio members drummer Marcus Gilmore and bassist Stephan Crump as well as highly acclaimed jazz instrumentalists and mentors such as Steve Coleman, Andrew Hill, Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell and Rudresh Mahanthappa. With eighteen albums to his name, Iyer's latest CD Mutations , is just being released. The commissioned work composed for a chamber ensemble of piano, strings and electronic music highlights Iyer's Mutations I-X and is his debut recording on the ECM label.

On March 14, 2014, the 75th Celebrity Series of Boston brings Vijay Iyer Trio to the stage at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge with three-time U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky for the latest iteration of POEMJAZZ.  Tune in at 4pm-EST.


Photo Credit: Laylah Amatullah Barrayn:

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