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Celebrity Series of Boston Presents POEMJAZZ with Vijay Iyer Trio and Robert Pinsky, 3/14

Celebrity Series of Boston Presents POEMJAZZ with Vijay Iyer Trio and Robert Pinsky, 3/14

Celebrity Series of Boston will present a duet performance of poetry and jazz by the Vijay Iyer Trio and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky in POEMJAZZ on Friday, March 14, 2014, at 8:00pm at Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall, Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA. Sponsored by Amy and Joshua Boger.

Tickets for Vijay Iyer Trio start at $20, and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling CelebrityCharge at (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or at the Harvard Box Office, Holyoke Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

This performance is Vijay Iyer's second appearance with the Celebrity Series of Boston; he made his debut in 2011 with the Miguel Zenon Quartet. This is Robert Pinsky's second appearance with the Celebrity Series of Boston; he made his debut in 2002 with the Takács Quartet.

In the first part of this program, pianist Vijay Iyer teams up with former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky inPOEMJAZZ, a duet performance of poetry and jazz. POEMJAZZ presents the human voice -- the reading and performance of poems - along with a variety of jazz musical improvisations. In the second half, the Vijay Iyer Triotakes the stage with its innovative musical interplay.

Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer is one of the most important young musicians in jazz today. His most recent honors include a 2013 MacArthur "genius" fellowship, a "quintuple crown" in the 2012 Down Beat International Critics Poll (winning Jazz Artist of the Year, Pianist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year, Jazz Group of the Year, and Rising Star Composer categories), a "quadruple crown" in the JazzTimes extended critics poll (winning Artist of the Year, Acoustic/Mainstream Group of the Year, Pianist of the Year, and Album of the Year), the Pianist of the Year Awards for both 2012 and 2013 from the Jazz Journalists Association, and the 2013 ECHO Award (the "German Grammy") for best international pianist.

Iyer has released seventeen albums as a leader; his most recent, Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project (2013) is his third collaboration with poet Mike Ladd, based on the dreams of veterans of color from America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His previous album, Accelerando (2012), is the widely acclaimed follow-up to the multiple award-winning Historicity (2009), both featuring the Vijay Iyer Trio (Iyer, piano; Marcus Gilmore, drums; Stephan Crump, bass). Accelerando was voted #1 Jazz Album of the Year for 2012 in three separate critics polls surveying hundreds of critics worldwide, hosted by Downbeat, Jazz Times, and Rhapsody, respectively, and also was chosen as jazz album of the year by NPR, the Los Angeles Times, PopMatters, and Amazon.com. Historicity was a 2010 Grammy Nominee for Best Instrumental Jazz Album, and was named #1 Jazz Album of 2009. The trio won the 2010 Echo Award for best international ensemble and the 2012 Downbeat Critics Poll for jazz group of the year. Previously Iyer was voted the 2010 Musician of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, and named one of 2011's "50 Most Influential Global Indians" by GQ India. His other honors include the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, the Greenfield Prize, the Alpert Award in the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and numerous composer commissions.

Iyer received a Ph.D. in the cognitive science of music from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been published in Journal of Consciousness Studies, Wire, Music Perception, JazzTimes, Journal of the Society for American Music, Critical Studies in Improvisation, in the anthologies Arcana IV, Sound Unbound, Uptown Conversation, The Best Writing on Mathematics: 2010, and in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies. Iyer has been on faculty at Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the New School, and he is the Director of The Banff Centre's International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. Iyer is currently in a multi-year residency with San Francisco Performances. In early 2014 he will join the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University as the first Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts. In March 2014, ECM Records will release "Mutations", a recording for piano, string quartet and electronics.

Robert Pinsky's first two terms as United States Poet Laureate were marked by such national enthusiasm that the Library of Congress appointed him to an unprecedented third term. As Poet Laureate (1997-2000), Robert Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans shared their favorite poems. Pinsky believed that poetry had a vigorous presence in the American cultural landscape. The anthology Americans' Favorite Poems, which includes letters from project participants, is in its 18th printing. The most recent anthology, An Invitation to Poetry, comes with a DVD featuring 27 of the FPP video segments, as seen on PBS. In April 2009, WW Norton published Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud.

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