Questions of Practice: Composer and Pianist Vijay Iyer on Musical Lineage

Questions of Practice: Composer and Pianist Vijay Iyer on Musical Lineage

When asked about which traditions influence his artistic practice, jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer responded by explaining why he doesn’t like to use the word “tradition,” for its implication that the work is fixed in the past. “Really, it is a system of knowledge and a community…and how they interact, how they repel each other or attract each other,” he said.

Composer and pianist Vijay Iyer on musical lineage. Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on February 10, 2016.

The Kimmel Center, Inc. presented the Philadelphia premiere of Iyer’s Holding It Down on April 22, 2016, with Center support. Watch Iyer and collaborator Mike Ladd talk about authorship and multi-vocality.>> In 2009 with Center support, Iyer collaborated with filmmaker Bill Morrison to create Release, a site-specific installation at Eastern State Penitentiary.


MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer is a critically acclaimed jazz pianist and composer who has produced over 20 albums and has collaborated with such musicians and ensembles as Steve Coleman, Wadada Leo Smith, Bang On A Can All-Stars, and Brooklyn Rider. A renowned music scholar, Iyer received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the cognitive science of music from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the arts at Harvard University.


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