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Press release

Relation: A Performance Residency by Vijay Iyer

Artist in Residence Vijay Ayer

MetLiveArts Presents Vijay Iyer at The Met Breuer in March 2016

Resident Artist Vijay Iyer Inhabits The Met Breuer’s Tony and Amie James Gallery for a Durational Performance
March 18–March 31, 2016
Location: Tony and Amie James Gallery, The Met Breuer, Madison Avenue and 75th Street

Iyer Also Premieres a MetLiveArts Commission Inspired by Nasreen Mohamedi at
The Met Breuer
March 30–March 31, 2016
Location: Fifth Floor Gallery, The Met Breuer

As part of The Met Breuer’s inaugural season and a highlight of the MetLiveArts spring 2016 program, resident artist Vijay Iyer has created a momentous and visionary music experience that amplifies his own interrogation into collaborative artistry through a series of continuous performances. Relation: A Performance Residency by Vijay Iyer is the very essence of an artistic residency at The Met—to dive deeply into the iconic spaces and collection, and to inspire ambitious new and relevant work. Iyer’s series of marathon performances, which he calls Relation, inhabits the Tony and Amie James Gallery and extend his creativity outwards, to fellow artists of various mediums. Together they shape the performances and energy of the gallery, all day during Museum hours by live performances as well as sound and video installations. Iyer is also premiering a separate work inspired by The Met Breuer’s inaugural exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi in two ticketed performances on March 30 and March 31 in the Fifth Floor Gallery.

Relation: A Performance Residency by Vijay Iyer is commissioned by MetLiveArts, the performance and talk series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Iyer is The Met’s 2015-16 resident artist.

“Vijay Iyer is one of the most contemplative and visionary artists creating music today,” said Limor Tomer, General Manager of Concerts & Lectures. “His approach to composition is so exploratory that this residency has developed into a deep integration of his perception as an artist, and the ideas present in The Met’s collection and spaces.”

Iyer highlights his full body of work, performing solo, with other musicians and performers, and also curating performances by fellow musicians. Additionally, Iyer has created sound installations and curated video content specifically for the gallery, resulting in full-day performance experiences that are free with The Met admission and open to the public. Artists joining Iyer include Rafiq Bhatia, Michelle Boulé, Matt Brewer, Teju Cole, Stephan Crump, Miranda Cuckson, Liberty Ellman, Amir ElSaffar, Patricia Franceschy, Marcus Gilmore, Graham Haynes, Okkyung Lee, Steve Lehman, Roopa Mahadevan, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mat Maneri, Nitin Mitta, Adam O'Farrill, Elena Pinderhughes, Prasanna, Mark Shim, Jen Shyu, Wadada Leo Smith, Tyshawn Sorey, Tyshawn Sorey Trio, Becca Stevens, Anjna Swaminathan, Rajna Swaminathan, Craig Taborn, and Mark Turner.

The sound installation, which is activated as an interlude between live performances, is composed by multi-disciplinary artists Mendi + Keith Obadike. Titled Fit (The Battle of Jericho), the installation is described by Keith Obadike as a reworking of the African-American spiritual, “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” imagined by Obadike for this gallery as an installation. With small speakers installed on three walls of the gallery and ceiling, the space vibrates with low frequencies, playing the harmonies of the piece, with both spoken and sung lyrics. Fit (The Battle of Jericho) is approximately 10 minutes in length and is played on a loop.

Iyer and musician/composer Wadada Leo Smith are premiering a new work, A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke, commissioned for an exhibition dedicated to Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi in two ticketed performances on March 30 and 31, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fifth Floor Gallery. This collaboration and world premiere inspired Iyer’s upcoming album, A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (2016, released by ECM).

More details about Vijay Iyer at The Met Breuer can be found at For tickets and additional information about A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke, visit or call 212-570-3949.

About Vijay Iyer

Iyer has an encyclopedic range of diverse and impressive talents—composer, pianist, Harvard professor, MacArthur Fellow—although he prefers the description “collaborator.” This residency at The Met Breuer is an opportunity for Iyer to venture into further depths of his collaborative creative process. In the Tony and Amie James Gallery itself, visitors are invited to step into what Iyer calls an interdependent experience, creating a sense of community through music.

A Grammy nominee, Vijay Iyer was named DownBeat Magazine's 2015 Artist of the Year and 2014 Pianist of the Year, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist. Iyer has released 20 recordings under his own name. The latest, on the ECM label, include Mutations, featuring his compositions for piano, string quartet and electronics; Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi, a film by Prashant Bhargava, with Iyer’s score performed by International Contemporary Ensemble; and Break Stuff, featuring the Vijay Iyer Trio.

Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in the Department of Music at Harvard University, and the director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. His compositions have been commissioned by Arturo O’Farrill, American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, ICE, Jennifer Koh, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. He is a Steinway artist.

Relation: A Performance Residency by Vijay Iyer is made possible by
Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, with additional support from
the Chester Dale Fund.

A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke is made possible through the Saroj Jhaveri Foundation, sponsored by the R.&S. Nanavati Charitable Trust No.2. It is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi, on view March 18–June 5, 2016.

Nasreen Mohamedi is made possible by Nita and Mukesh Ambani and the Reliance Foundation. The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, with the collaboration of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

About MetLiveArts
The groundbreaking live arts series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores contemporary performance through the lens of the Museum’s exhibitions and unparalleled gallery spaces with singular performances and talks. MetLiveArts invites artists, performers, curators, and thought-leaders to explore and collaborate within The Met, leading with new commissions, world premieres, and site-specific durational performances that have been named some of the most “Memorable” and “Best of” performances in New York City by the New York Times, New Yorker, and Broadway World.

About The Met Breuer
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern and contemporary art program is expanding to include a new series of exhibitions, performances, artist commissions, residencies, and educational initiatives in the building designed by Marcel Breuer on Madison Avenue and 75th Street. Open to the public beginning March 18, 2016, The Met Breuer provides additional space to explore the art of the 20th and 21st centuries through the global breadth and historical reach of the Met’s unparalleled collection.

Other programs featured as part of The Met Breuer’s inaugural season include a major thematic survey, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible(March 18—September 4, 2016), which looks at unfinished works of art from the Renaissance to the present day; the largest exhibition to date dedicated to Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi (March 18—June 4, 2016); and a month-long performance installation, by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer (March 18-30, 2016). Upcoming exhibitions include a presentation of Diane Arbus’s rarely seen early photographic works (July 12–November 27, 2016) and the first museum retrospective dedicated to Kerry James Marshall (October 25, 2016–January 29, 2017).

About The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in three iconic sites in New York City – The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online.

Since it was founded in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.

Special Hours for The Met Breuer Inaugural Weekend, March 18–20
Friday, March 18, 10 am–10 pm
Saturday, March 19, 10 am–10 pm
Sunday, March 20, 10 am–5:30 pm

Regular Hours for The Met Breuer (as of March 21)

Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am–5:30 pm
Thursday and Friday, 10 am–9 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5:30 pm
Closed Monday

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Updated March 2, 2016

Photo by Paula Lobo

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