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Press Releases The Sound of Surprise: A Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival Features Two Distinct Programs of Music by the Grammy-Nominated Jazz Composer/Pianist and Collaborators Including Tirtha, The Vijay Iyer Trio, Mike Ladd and a World Premiere with Wadada Leo Smith

Vijay Iyer is, simply put, one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today.” —Pitchfork

Minneapolis, February 15, 2012—Celebrating the inspired range of musical expression by award-winning composer/pianist Vijay Iyer, the Walker Art Center presents The Sound of Surprise: A Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2, at 8 pm in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater. This two-night blowout showcases a broad cross section of projects by “one of the most challenging and satisfying talents in jazz today” (Boston Globe). The concerts feature his stellar trio (Marcus Gilmore, drums; Stephan Crump, bass), his 21st-century global chamber music trio Tirtha (featuring Indian guitar sensation Prasanna and Indian-American tabla/percussion virtuoso Nitin Mitta), his genre-busting collaboration with Paris-based hip-hop artist/spoken word poet Mike Ladd, Iyer’s solo piano works (original compositions as well as some inspired re-imaginings of both classic jazz and modern pop songs), and a special duo with experimental visionary jazz artist trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith. Coming after Iyer’s Grammy-nominated album Historicity topped almost every jazz writer’s year-end best-recording lists in 2009, this is a rare and ambitious survey from one of America’s most insatiably curious sonic explorers. Different programs will be featured each night.

The Sound of Surprise:

The Music of Vijay Iyer: A Two-Day Mini-Fest

Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2, 8 pm


Thursday, March 1

Wadada Leo Smith + Vijay Iyer Duo (world premiere)

Vijay Iyer - Solo

The Vijay Iyer Trio (Marcus Gilmore, Stephan Crump, Vijay Iyer)

Friday, March 2

Mike Ladd + Vijay Iyer Duo

Vijay Iyer - Solo

Tirtha (Nitin Mitta, Prasanna, Vijay Iyer)

Vijay Iyer, (pronounced “VID-jay EYE-yer”), has released 16 albums as a leader, most recently Accelerando (2012), an intense, visceral follow-up to the multiple-award-winning Historicity (2009), both featuring the Vijay Iyer Trio (Iyer, piano; Marcus Gilmore, drums; Stephan Crump, bass). Historicity was a 2010 Grammy Nominee for Best Instrumental Jazz Album and was named #1 Jazz Album of the Year in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Metro Times, National Public Radio, PopMatters.com, the Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll, and the Downbeat International Critics Poll. The trio won the 2010 Echo Award (the “German Grammy”) for best international ensemble and the Downbeat Critics Poll for rising star small ensemble of the year. Iyer’s many other honors include the Alpert Award in the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the Greenfield Prize and numerous composer commissions.

Iyer’s many collaborators include his generation’s fellow forward-thinkers Rudresh Mahanthappa, Rez Abbasi, Craig Taborn, Ambrose Akinmusire, Liberty Ellman, Steve Lehman and Tyshawn Sorey; elder avant-garde pioneers such as Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Butch Morris, George Lewis, and Amina Claudine Myers; new-music experimenters Miya Masaoka, Pamela Z, and John Zorn; hip-hop innovators Dead Prez, Das Racist, DJ Spooky, and High Priest of Antipop Consortium; South Asian percussionist-producers Karsh Kale, Suphala, and Talvin Singh; filmmakers Haile Gerima and Bill Morrison; choreographer Karole Armitage; and poets Mike Ladd, Amiri Baraka, Charles Simic, and Robert Pinsky. His concert works have been performed by the Ethel, JACK, and Brentano String Quartets, the Silk Road Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, Hermès Ensemble, and Imani Winds.

A polymath whose career has spanned the sciences, the humanities and the arts, Iyer received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the cognitive science of music from the University of California, Berkeley. He has published articles in Journal of Consciousness Studies, Wire, Music Perception, JazzTimes, and The Best Writing on Mathematics: 2010. He was recently appointed Director of the Banff Centre’s International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, a program founded in 1974 by Oscar Peterson.

Tickets to The Sound of Surprise: A Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival are $22 ($18 Walker members) each night. Tickets for both programs are available for $38 ($32). Please call the Walker box office at 612.375.7600 if you would like to add a program at this special rate, or if you would like to change your tickets to a different program from what you currently hold. Tickets are available at walkerart.org/tickets

Support provided by Presenting Jazz, a program of Chamber Music America funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The March 2 program is presented in association with IMSOM.

Performing Arts Supporters

The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, The McKnight Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Producers’ Council

Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Russell Cowles; Sage and John Cowles; Robert and Katherine Goodale; Nor Hall and Roger Hale; King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr.; Josine Peters; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.

Vijay Iyer

Photo: Bernhard Ley