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Riders and Stage Plots

Myra Melford - Piano


Myra's Website

"There’s always room in the precincts of improvised music for a new album by the pianist Myra Melford." Nate Chinen, New York Times 

"She draws listeners along while reaching for the highest imaginable realms." Howard Mandel, Jazz Beyond Jazz 

Pianist, composer and bandleader Myra Melford is the winner of the 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts for Music, an esteemed veteran of the international creative music community, and an Associate Professor of contemporary improvised music at the University of California, Berkeley. Critics have called her “a crafty original whose playing is filled with muscle, brains and poetic spark” (Time Out New York), “a very accomplished composer...definitely a voice of her own” (Jez Nelson, BBC 3’s Jazz on 3) and “a visionary bandleader with a singularly expansive sound embracing a global array of influences” (Andrew Gilbert, Berkeleyside).

In addition to her musical studies with such notable figures as Ran Blake, Don Pullen and Henry Threadgill, as well as masters of indigenous styles from around the world, her constant- ly evolving, highly personal approach incorporates such idiosyn- cratic and wide-ranging elements as the “organic architecture” philosophy of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Eastern spirituality of akido and Zen Buddhism, the imagery and metaphor of poets from Rumi to Muhammad Al-Jawahiri, the style and subject matter of such authors as James Joyce and Eduardo Galeano, and the colorful artwork of the late Sacramento-based artist Don Reich.

“I draw great inspiration from other people’s creative work and am intrigued by the ensuing cross-disciplinary dialogue,” she explains in a recent interview. “I think of it as a very personal conversation that begins with a spark of recognition when I experience a given work of art, be it in any medium. Something in that building, the imagery or rhythm in that poem, that dancer’s gestures or that painting, speaks to me or moves me, and I want to respond through music. The conversation is both internal—between the active/doer and the receptive/perceiver within me, and external—between the artwork that inspires and the musical response. It’s a very rich and engaging process on many levels: emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, and one I return to again and again in my work.”