Arooj Aftab is a semi-classical, Hindustani, minimalist composer, songwriter, and singer who grew up in Pakistan and is now based in Brooklyn, New York. In 2022, she won the GRAMMY Award for Best Global Music Performance for her song “Mohabbat” and is the first ever Pakistani artist to receive a GRAMMY.
Aftab transforms ancient Urdu poetry and ghazals into genre-defying and contemplative compositions. Her album Vulture Prince was released in April 2021 and has received unprecedented critical acclaim and coverage. The album received praise from The New York Times, was named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork, and included on best-of lists including Time’s “Best Songs of 2021 So Far” and The Guardian’s “Best Albums of 2021 So Far.”
Described by The New York Times as a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway,” Vijay Iyer has carved out a unique path as an influential, prolific, shape-shifting presence in twenty-first century music. A composer and pianist active across multiple music communities, Iyer has created a consistently innovative, emotionally resonant body of work over the last twenty-five years, earning him a place as one of the leading music-makers of his generation.
He received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artist Fellowship, a GRAMMY nomination, the Alpert Award in the Arts, and two German “Echo” awards, and was voted DownBeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year four times in the last decade. He has been praised by Pitchfork as "one of the best in the world at what he does," by the Los Angeles Weekly as “a boundless and deeply important young star,” and by Minnesota Public Radio as “an American treasure.”
Iyer is an active composer for classical ensembles and soloists. His works have been premiered by Brentano Quartet, Imani Winds, Parker Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Sō Percussion, International Contemporary Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, and virtuosi Matt Haimowitz, Mishka Rushdie Momen, Claire Chase, Inbal Segev, Shai Wosner, and Jennifer Koh, among others. He recently served as composer-in-residence at London’s Wigmore Hall, music director of the Ojai Music Festival, and artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A tireless collaborator, he has written big-band music for Arturo O’Farrill and Darcy James Argue, remixed classic recordings of Talvin Singh and Meredith Monk, joined forces with legendary musicians Henry Threadgill, Reggie Workman, Zakir Hussain, and L. Subramanian, and developed interdisciplinary work with Teju Cole, Carrie Mxae Weems, Mike Ladd, Prashant Bhargava, and Karole Armitage.
Shahzad Ismaily is one of the premier creative musicians of our time. Born in Pennsylvania to Pakistani immigrant parents, he is a largely self-taught composer and musician, having mastered the electric and double bass, guitar, banjo, and drums, as well as various percussion instruments, analog synthesizers, and drum machines.
Ismaily has been a driving force in creative music for twenty years as a multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, and recording artist, often working out of his own Figure8 Studios in Brooklyn. His career has included work as a producer or co-producer for Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Sam Amidon, and Laura Veirs; as a sideman with Damien Rice, Feist, Moses Sumney, Arooj Aftab, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Ben Frost, and Bob Dylan; and as a co-leader of the renowned avant-music trio Ceramic Dog alongside Marc Ribot and Ches Smith.
Ismaily has composed regularly for dance and theater, including work for Min Tanaka, the Frankfurt Ballet, and the East River Commedia. He composed the score for films such as Frozen River and William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, in addition to his film work as a percussionist for the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, which includes performing on the score for the movie Sicario. In 2022, Ismaily appeared as one of seventeen international featured artists at the Monheim Triennale festival in Germany.