Tyshawn Sorey

Music Event

Saturday, November 14, 2020 | 7:00 PM PST
Online Event

Tyshawn Sorey sits in front of a burgundy backdrop facing the camera

Presented by Mills College Music Department and Center for Contemporary Music

Tyshawn Sorey’s wide ranging work has spanned a multitude of musical and performance mediums, while at the same time defying distinctions between musical genres, composition, and improvisation. An active drum set player, percussionist, trombonist, pianist, conductor, educator, and ensemble leader, Sorey has released twelve recordings that feature his work as a composer, improviser, multi-instrumentalist and conceptualist.

Sorey is a creative artist whose work is impossible to categorize. He has maintained a lifelong interest in establishing an alternative musical model that celebrates genre mobility as an artistic ideal and a compositional attitude, both within and outside of the improvisation-composition continuum. As an artist whose creative output has been rendered “unpredictable to the point of unnerving” (The New Yorker), Sorey’s written and spontaneously composed works can range from lyrical, expressive content to slowly unfolding, barely inaudible sonorities and gestures. Moreover, his music can also contain raucous, maximalist structures that are influenced by noise, death metal, and fast-paced improvisations. Finally, his music also largely deals heavily in multiple streams of black American music—including improvisation and groove-oriented vernacular musics—as well as West African, Afro-Cuban, and Asian folkloric, ritual, and ceremonial traditional musics and practices.

Tyshawn Sorey is the Jean Macduff Vaux Composer-in-Residence at Mills College (November 2020).


Jean Macduff Vaux Composer‐in‐Residence

Jean Macduff Vaux (Class of 1933) was a Mills alumna who went on to earn a secondary teaching credential at the University of California at Berkeley. She lived a life of community service. During World War II, for example, she was a civilian volunteer with the 3rd Fighter Command and worked with the Red Cross. She was an active supporter of Mills' Alumnae Association and served as the National Branch Chair, over‐seeing thirty‐four branches in the 1950s. Jean and her husband Henry Vaux were founding members of the Cyrus and Susan Mills Society.

The Vaux family has established The Jean Macduff Vaux Composer‐in‐Residence Fund at Mills in Jean's memory. The endowed fund is used by the Music Department to invite distinguished composers to teach at Mills in residencies which culminate with concerts of their works.

The Mills College Music Department is very grateful for the vision and generosity of the Vaux family.