My Work Focuses on: 
Jazz as a living art form.
My Other Interests Include: 
touring the world and making albums with the bands that I lead, musical and interdisciplinary collaborations, reading science fiction, and watching really good TV.

Contact

Office: 
E201 New Music Building
Phone: 
(609) 258-2219
More about Rudresh Mahanthappa

Few musicians share the ability of Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. The saxophonist/composer hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form reflecting his own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. Just as his personal experience is never wholly lived on one side of the hyphenate or the other, his music speaks in a voice dedicated to forging a new path forward.

The current manifestations of that trajectory include his latest project Bird Calls (2015), which was named #1 jazz album of 2015 by both Downbeat Magazine and NPR Music’s Jazz Critics Poll. This 21st Century tribute to Charlie Parker includes a stellar band of pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist François Moutin, drummer Rudy Royston, and 20-year old trumpet prodigy Adam O’Farrill. The 2013 album Gamak featured guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, whose own microtonal vocabulary opened new possibilities for Mahanthappa’s compositional imagination, alongside bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss. The 2010 release of Samdhi (ACT Music + Vision), a multi-cultural ensemble that advances Mahanthappa’s blend of jazz and Indian music with modernist electronic music, was described by JazzTimes as “a landmark convergence of styles that didn't lend itself to easy analysis... new music of this caliber hasn't been attempted before.” Other recent projects run the gamut from the cross-generational alto summit Apex featuring Bunky Green; trios MSG and Mauger; the quintet Dual Identity co-led with fellow altoist Steve Lehman; and Raw Materials, his long-running duo project with pianist Vijay Iyer. Mahanthappa also continues to partner with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and innovative percussionist Dan Weiss in the Indo-Pak Coalition, while giants in both jazz and South Indian music have recognized his success: he was enlisted by Jack DeJohnette for the legendary drummer’s recent working group, while a collaboration with the renowned Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath resulted in Mahanthappa’s critically- acclaimed 2008 CD Kinsmen (Pi).

Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation,” Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, and numerous commissions. Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics Polls and the Jazz Journalists’ Association have named him alto saxophonist of the year numerous times (including 2016).  In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world. In 2015, he was named a United States Artists Fellow.  Mahanthappa is the Anthony H. P. Lee '79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University.

Mahanthappa is a Yamaha artist and uses Vandoren reeds exclusively.

Education

B. Mus. Berklee College of Music; M.Mus. DePaul University

Recognition & Awards

GRANTS/COMMISSIONS/FELLOWSHIPS

United States Artists Fellowship in Music, 2016; CMA New Works Creation and Presentation Grant, Indo-Pak Coalition, 2015; USArtists International Grant, Gamak, 2015; USArtists International Grant, Gamak, 2014; Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, 2013; MAP Fund Grant, Ragamala Dance, 2013; Commissioning Music USA, Ragamala Dance, 2012; New York State Council on the Arts Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet, 2011; New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Music & Sound, 2010; CMA New Works Creation and Presentation Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet, 2009; Philadelphia Music Project, Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, 2009; Guggenheim Fellow in Music Composition, 2007; New York State Council on the Arts Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa, 2007; Urban Artist Initiative Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa, 2007; New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Music Composition, 2006; American Composers Forum CCP Grant, Indo-Pak Coalition, 2006; New York State Council on the Arts Grant, Indo-Pak Coalition, 2006; CMA New Works Creation and Presentation Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet, 2006; Rockefeller MAP Grant, Dakshina Ensemble, 2004; New York State Council on the Arts Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet, 2004; New York State Council on the Arts Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet, 2002; American Composers Forum CCP Grant, Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet, 2002; Rockefeller MAP Grant, Raw Materials, 2002; Rockefeller MAP Grant, Manodharma Trio, 2001

MAJOR AWARDS

Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2015 Alto Saxophonist of the Year; Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2015 Album of the Year, Bird Calls; Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2015 Rising Star Composer; Echo Award (Germany’s Grammy), 2014 International Jazz Ensemble of the Year Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2013 Alto Saxophonist of the Year; Jazz Journalists Association Alto Saxophonist of the Year, 2013; Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2012 Alto Saxophonist of the Year; Jazz Journalists Association, Alto Saxophonist of the Year, 2012; Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2011 Alto Saxophonist of the Year; Jazz Journalists Association, Alto Saxophonist of the Year, 2011; Grammy Nomination, Danilo Perez’s Providencia, 2011; Jazz Journalists Association, Alto Saxophonist of the Year, 2010; Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2009 Rising Star Jazz Artist,; Downbeat Magazine, Critics Poll Winner, 2009 Rising Star Alto Saxophonist; Jazz Journalists Association, Alto Saxophonist of the Year, 2009; North American Saxophone Alliance, 1994, Jazz Saxophone Competition Finalist