MusicNOW: Vijay Iyer: A Portrait

Nov 13

7:00 PM

Monday, November 13, 2017

Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and 2016, 2015 and 2012 Downbeat Artist of the Year, takes the stage at Harris Theater for his MusicNOW debut. His chamber work, Time, Place, Action, dedicated to the late American poet Amiri Baraka, blurs the distinction between improvisation and notated composition, allowing Iyer to make choices in the moment in dialog with the string players. Joining Iyer for the second half of the program is composer-performer and 2017 Downbeat Artist & Trumpeter of the Year Wadada Leo Smith. Pitchfork called the duo’s 2016 album A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke “…a frequently gorgeous, sometimes-rolling set that plays to both musicians’ strengths.”

“There’s probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer.” The New York Times

“Smith’s trumpet mastery is unquestionable…” Downbeat

6:00 - Harris Theater Lobby Level 1
Join us before the concert as CSO Mead Composers-in-Residence Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek host a preconcert Q&A with Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith. This event is free and open to all MusicNOW ticket-holders.

Please join us for a postconcert CD signing with Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith.

Approximate concert duration: 90 minutes with no intermission


Iyer Time, Place, Action
Iyer & Smith A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke


Vijay Iyer composer and piano
Wadada Leo Smith composer and trumpet
Samuel Adams Mead Composer-in-Residence
Elizabeth Ogonek Mead Composer-in-Residence

When Vijay Iyer sits down at the piano, he obviously is thinking about more than the notes on the keyboard. He imagines songs without words to pay tribute to artists he admires not just for their art, but for their stories that he tells with deep respect. “Certainly, when I’m playing the music of Thelonious Monk or Duke Ellington, it’s often a celebration of that person’s life, that person’s humanity, a mediation on how they lived and what their struggles were.” Read more at CSO Sounds & Stories



Major support for MusicNOW is generously provided by the Irving Harris Foundation, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, the Julian Family Foundation, Cindy Sargent and the Zell Family Foundation.

Special thanks to Helen Meyer and Meyer Sound for graciously donating sound equipment for this MusicNOW performance.

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