Miller Theatre continues 2022-23 Jazz series with Vijay Iyer Trio

L-R — Linda May Han Oh, Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey
Left to right: Linda May Han Oh, Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey
Christian Padrone

One of the leading music makers of his generation, composer/pianist Vijay Iyer returns to Miller Theatre with his acclaimed trio featuring the spellbinding bassist Linda May Han Oh and the formidable musician Tyshawn Sorey on drums.

Considered “the great new jazz piano trio” by the New York Times, the ensemble makes emotionally resonant music that is rooted in tradition yet truly innovative, Miller Theatre said on Tuesday. 

The theatre, under the direction of Melissa Smey, has long championed Vijay Iyer, and has featured him as the subject of a Composer Portrait,  in Miller’s celebrated Mission: Commission podcast, and on the Jazz series.

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,” the Miller Theatre said. 

“A composer and pianist active 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,” the theatre said. 

He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artist Fellowship, a Grammy nomination, the Alpert Award in the Arts, and two German “Echo” awards, and was voted DownBeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year four times in the last decade. 

Iyer’s musical language is grounded in the rhythmic traditions of South Asia and West Africa, the African American creative music movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and the lineage of composer-pianists from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to Alice Coltrane and Geri Allen. 

He has released twenty-four albums of his music, most recently UnEasy (ECM Records, 2021), a trio session with drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Linda May Han Oh; The Transitory Poems (ECM, 2019), a live duo recording with pianist Craig Taborn; 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 composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.

A longtime New Yorker, Iyer lives in central Harlem with his wife and daughter. He teaches at Harvard University in the Department of Music and the Department of African and African American Studies. He is a Steinway artist.

Originally born in Malaysia and raised in Boorloo (Perth), Western Australia, New York-based Linda May Han Oh is a bassist/composer who has performed and recorded with artists such as Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Wilson, Geri Allen, and Vijay Iyer. 

She has received numerous awards including a 2022 Deutscher Jazz Preis and the 2020 APRA award for Best New Jazz Work. She was voted Bassist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association for 2018-2021 and Hothouse Magazine in 2019, as well as 2022 Bassist of the Year by JazzTimes. 

Oh has written for large and small ensembles as well as for film, participating in the BMI Film Composers Workshop, Sundance Labs at Skywalker Ranch, and composing for Sabrina McCormick’s short films, A Good Egg and FracKtured. 

She also composed and produced music for a collaborative film project based in Korogocho, Kenya, Hope Raisers by Kizito Gamba, and contributed music to his latest documentary Calling the Shots co-directed by Kore Abong about aspiring African women in the film industry. 

She was recently featured in the Pixar movie Soul playing bass under the musical direction of Jon Batiste alongside drummer Roy Haynes. She has had five albums as a leader; her most recent release Aventurine is a double quartet album, featuring a string quartet and the vocal ensemble Invenio.

Oh is an associate professor at the Berklee College of Music and the ensemble director at the Berklee Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice.

Newark-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work. 

He has performed nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as artists such as John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Claire Chase, Steve Lehman, Jason Moran, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Myra Melford, among many others. 

Sorey has composed works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the International Contemporary Ensemble, soprano Julia Bullock, PRISM Quartet, JACK Quartet, TAK Ensemble, the McGill-McHale Trio, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, Alarm Will Sound, the Louisville Orchestra, and tenor Lawrence Brownlee with Opera Philadelphia in partnership with Carnegie Hall, as well as for numerous collaborative performers. 

His music has been performed in notable venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Village Vanguard, the Ojai Music Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Kimmel Center, and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. 

Sorey has received support for his creative projects from the Jerome Foundation, The Shifting Foundation, and the Van Lier Fellowship. Awards include a MacArthur Fellowship (2017), a USA Fellowship (2018), and a Doris Duke Impact Award (2015). In 2012, he was selected as one of nine composers for the Other Minds Festival and JazzDanmark invited him to serve as the Danish International Visiting Artist in 2013. 

Sorey has released twelve critically acclaimed recordings that feature his work as a composer, co-composer, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, and conceptualist, including his latest release, Pillars (Firehouse 12 Records, 2018), which was named one of BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction 2018 albums of the year. 

Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Columbia University, where he received his D.M.A., the New England Conservatory, the Banff Centre, University of Michigan, International Realtime Music Symposium, Harvard University, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Berklee College of Music, University of Chicago, and the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Denmark. 

Sorey joined the composition faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2020.

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