Newark-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey (b. 1980) is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work.
Sorey has written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series, International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, the Louisville Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall in partnership with Opera Philadelphia, as well as for countless collaborative performers. His music was the subject of a Miller Theater Composer Portrait in 2019, and he is Composer in Residence at the Seattle Symphony in the 2019-20 season. In 2017, Sorey was named a MacArthur Fellow.
Sorey “plays not only with gale-force physicality, but also a sense of scale and equipoise” (The New York Times) and is a “composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas” (The Wall Street Journal). The New Yorker hails Sorey as “among the most formidable denizens of the in-between zone…An extraordinary talent who can see across the entire musical landscape.” 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.
As a leader, Sorey has released seven critically acclaimed recordings that feature his work as a composer, multi-instrumentalist and conceptualist including his latest Pillars (Firehouse 12 Records, 2018), among many others. Pillars has been praised as "an immersive soundworld... sprawling, mysterious... thrilling" (Rolling Stone), and has been named as one of BBC Radio 3's Late Junction albums of the year.
Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Columbia University, The New School, The Banff Centre, NEC, the University of Michigan, International Realtime Music Symposium, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Danish Rhythmic Conservatory, Other Minds Festival, and was selected to be the Danish International Visiting Artist at Jazz Danmark.
As of Fall 2017 he has held the role of Assistant Professor of Composition and Creative Music at Wesleyan University, where he received his Master’s degree in Composition in 2011.