Matt Mitchell

Doris Duke Impact Award, 2015

New York, NY

Matt Mitchell works at the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised music. Aside from serving as leader/co-leader of Matt Mitchell Quartet, Normal Remarkable Persons, Fourth Floor, and Snark Horse, he is widely sought-after as a sideman, navigating complicated compositional forms with ease while providing accompaniment that pushes soloists in surprising directions in the bands of Tim Berne and Dave Douglas, among others. His debut album, Fiction (Pi, 2013), collects 15 duets with percussionist Ches Smith that defy the limits of improvised piano technique, highlighting radical independence between hands while including layered rhythmic schemes. A Pew Fellowship recipient (2012), he has taught at NYC’s School for Improvisational Music, as well as at The New School and New York University. His first quartet album, Vista Accumulation (Pi), will be released in October 2015. He can be most recently heard on Snakeoil’s You’ve Been Watching Me (ECM, 2015) and will be in residence at The Stone in NYC in March 2016.

  • Photo Credit: Colin Lenton
  • Concentrical (2015)
  • Matt Mitchell- "Id Balm" and "Upright" from Fiction (Pi, 2012): https%3A//
    "Id Balm" and "Upright" from Fiction (Pi, 2012)
  • Matt Mitchell- Excerpts from 2 Yip Stophes (2014): https%3A//
    Excerpts from 2 Yip Stophes (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Caterina di Perri
  • Photo Credit: Peter Gannushkin
  • Photo Credit: John Rogers
  • Photo Credit: Peter Gannushkin

What are the creative challenges you face as an artist?

I would say that how to live creatively is the main overall challenge I feel as an artist. I believe that most, if not all, creative issues can be covered by that umbrella. As a composer and an improvising performer I'm increasingly interested in how to maintain an environment which allows for sustained creativity and for work to emerge in the most honest way possible. I believe that creative work of any sort has a good chance of connecting with people if joy and enjoyment are somehow present through as many steps of the creative process as possible. The idea of "the work being its own reward" is not by any means a new one, but I feel that it is fairly central to living a creative life, since the work is ultimately what outlasts us.