Roscoe Mitchell is an internationally renowned musician, composer and innovator serving as the Darius Milhaud Chair Emeritus of Composition at Mills College (CA). His virtuosic resurrection of overlooked woodwind instruments spanning extreme registers, visionary solo performances, and assertion of a hybrid compositional/improvisational paradigm have placed him at the forefront of contemporary music. Mr. Mitchell is a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and the Trio Space. He is also distinguished as thefounder of the Creative Arts Collective, The Roscoe Mitchell Sextet & Quartet, The Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble, The Sound Ensemble, The New Chamber Ensemble, and the Note Factory.
His instrumental expertise includes the gamut of the saxophone and recorder families, clarinets, flute, piccolo, and the transverse flute in addition to his elaborate invention, the Percussion Cage. His oeuvre boasts hundreds of albums and original works, ranging from passionate, forceful improvisations to ornate orchestral music. His vast discography includes “Sound” (1966, 5-star review in DownBeat Magazine), “People in Sorrow” (1969, with the AEOC), “Nonaah” (1977, DownBeat Magazine Record of the Year), “Bells for the South Side” (2017, featured as one of the NYTimes's best jazz albums of the year) and “Discussions” (distinguished on the NYTimes's list of 2017's best classical albums).
Mitchell’s honors include the 2020 NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, the United States Artist Award (2019), Doris Duke Artist Award and Audience Development Fund (2014), a CMA Presenting Jazz grant (2010), The Shifting Foundation Grant, and Meet the Composer. Most recently, he premiered a large-scale orchestral work entitled “Useful News,” made possible by a prestigious commission from the Ensemble intercontemporain in Paris, France. Additionally, he celebrates two 50-year anniversaries this decade: the AACM's in 2015, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago's this year.