An Unprecedented FIVE Categories in the Same Year Chosen As A Member of Inaugural Class of Doris Duke Artists Wins Pianist of the Year at 2012 Jazz Journalist Awards
In an unprecedented series of wins, jazz pianist/composer Vijay Iyer has been honored in five categories of the 2012 Down Beat International Critics Poll, including Jazz Artist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year (for Accelerando), Jazz Group of the Year (for the Vijay Iyer Trio), Pianist of the Year and Rising Star Composer. No other artist in the 60-year history of the magazine’s poll has ever taken five titles simultaneously. Iyer appears on the cover of Down Beat’s August 2012 Critics Poll issue.
Adding to this “quintuple crown,” last Wednesday, June 20, 2012 the Jazz Journalists Association honored Iyer with the title Pianist of the Year at their 16th Annual Jazz Awards ceremony in New York City. Iyer was previously named Musician of the Year in the 14th Annual Jazz Awards.
These critical successes come in the wake of April’s news that Iyer was chosen as one of the inaugural recipients of the Doris Duke Artist Award, alongside veteran musicians Bill Frisell, Don Byron, and Meredith Monk. A new initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, this honor includes an unrestricted multi-year cash grant of $225,000, plus additional targeted support for retirement savings and audience development. Earlier this year Iyer was also named the winner of the Greenfield Prize, a $30,000 multidisciplinary award previously bestowed on visual artist Sanford Biggers and celebrated playwright John Guare.
It has been a busy year for Iyer, who, in March, released his latest trio album Accelerando (ACT Music + Vision), the follow-up to the Grammy-nominated Historicity. Accelerando has garnered widespread critical acclaim, described by Pitchfork as “…[Iyer’s] hardest-hitting trio album yet,” by Down Beat as “terrific” and “ingenious,” by All Music Guide as “a triumph in creativity and expert musicianship,” and by New York Magazine quite earnestly as “one of the best instrumental hip-hop albums ever made.” Iyer has spent much of this year touring throughout the United States, Europe & Canada in support of this release with his trio. Featuring bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore (named Downbeat’s 2012 Rising Star Drummer), Iyer’s trio has been described by NPR as “A band grappling with a long tradition of innovation, and risking everything to add to it.”
At this point the trio’s track record is undeniable. Their previous release, the Grammy-nominated Historicity, was named #1 jazz album of the year in Downbeat’s 2010 poll, the Village Voice Jazz Critics’ Poll, and year-end lists in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Metro-Times, PopMatters, and NPR. The trio was also honored with a 2010 Echo Award (the “German Grammy”).
The American-born son of Indian immigrants, VIJAY IYER (pronounced “VID-jay EYE-yer”) was described by The Village Voice as “the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years,” by The New Yorker as one of “today’s most important pianists… extravagantly gifted,” by Pitchfork as “one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today,” and by the L.A. Weekly as “a boundless and deeply important young star.” Iyer has released sixteen highly acclaimed albums, and has collaborated with creative music legends Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Butch Morris, Amina Claudine Myers, and Henry Threadgill; next-generation innovators Craig Taborn, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dafnis Prieto, Steve Lehman, and Tyshawn Sorey; hip-hop artists Das Racist, Dead Prez and DJ Spooky; tablaist/producers Talvin Singh and Karsh Kale; poets Amiri Baraka, Mike Ladd, and Robert Pinsky; filmmakers Bill Morrison and Haile Gerima; and choreographer Karole Armitage. His concert works have been performed by American Composers Orchestra, Brentano String Quartet, Ethel, JACK, Imani Winds, Hermès Ensemble, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. Iyer is currently engaged in a multi-year residency with San Francisco Performances, and was recently appointed Director of the Banff Centre’s International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, a program founded in 1974 by Oscar Peterson.
Vijay Iyer’s 2012 Down Beat International Critics Poll Wins
Jazz Artist of the Year
Jazz Album of the Year (Accelerando)
Jazz Group of the Year (Vijay Iyer Trio)
Pianist of the Year
Rising Star Composer of the Year
Jazz Journalist Association 16th Annual Jazz Awards
Pianist of the Year
Doris Duke Artist Award
Member of the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists including multi-year cash grant of $225,000, plus as much as $50,000 more in targeted support for retirement savings and audience development. See ddpaa.org
Winner of this $30,000 multidisciplinary prize for the creation of a new work. greenfieldprize.org
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