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

Hailed by Pitchfork as “jaw-dropping… one of the finest saxophonists going,” alto saxophonist, composer and educator Rudresh Mahanthappa is widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century. He has over a dozen albums to his credit, including the acclaimed Bird Calls, which topped many critics’ best-of-year lists for 2015 and was hailed by PopMatters as “complex, rhythmically vital, free in spirit while still criss-crossed with mutating structures.” Rudresh has been named alto saxophonist of the year for seven of eight years running in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2018), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2015-2017 JazzTimes Magazine Critics’ Polls and was named the Village Voice’s "Best Jazz Artist" in 2015. He has also received the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, among other honors, and is currently the Anthony H.P. Lee ’79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University. Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black Water, Mother Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa’s inventive methodologies and deeply personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials. Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents’ native southern India, Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition (with Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio’s sonic ambitions. Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitardrivenquartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David Gilmore and Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, “I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight,” which can be heard on the quartet’s 2015 double disc release Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1. 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