Shahzad Ismaily is one of the premiere 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.