Tyshawn Sorey


Newark-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey is celebrated for his virtuosity, 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 Coleman, Steve Lehman, Robyn Schulkowsky, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Myra Melford, among many others.

Additional Artist information

Cycles of My Being, addressing themes associated with Black Lives Matter, was supported by Carnegie Hall’s 125 Commissions Project in partnership with Opera Philadelphia. Sorey has also received support for his creative projects from The Jerome Foundation, The Shifting Foundation, and Van Lier Fellowship. The Spektral Quartet, Ojai Music Festival, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) have commissioned his works, which exemplify a penchant for a thorough exploration of the intersection between improvisation and composition. Sorey also collaborates regularly with ICE as a percussionist and resident composer. Future commissions include a residency at the Berlin Jazz Festival.

Sorey has released six critically acclaimed recordings that feature his work as a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and conceptualist, including his latest, Verisimilitude (Pi Recordings, 2017). In 2012, he was selected as one of nine composers for the Other Minds Festival, where he exchanged ideas with such like-minded peers as Ikue Mori, Ken Ueno, and Harold Budd. In 2013, JazzDanmark invited him to serve as the Danish International Visiting Artist. He was a 2015 recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Award.

Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Columbia University, The New School, The Banff Centre, Wesleyan University, International Realtime Music Symposium, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Danish Rhythmic Conservatory. His work has been premiered at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Ojai Music Festival, The Kitchen, Walt Disney Hall, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and the Stone.

Sorey recently received his doctor of musical arts degree from Columbia University. In the fall of 2017, he assumed the role of assistant professor of composition and creative musics at Wesleyan University, where he received his master’s degree in composition in 2011.


Last updated: February 22, 2018