Vijay Iyer is a Grammy nominated composer-pianist and Harvard University professor. This week, he’s bringing his talents to Ohio State.
The Vijay Iyer Trio will be performing at the Performance Art Space at the Wexner Center for the Arts on Thursday at 8 p.m.
“As part of our regular programming in performing arts, we have a jazz series, so we host jazz performances all year around from some of the greats, and Vijay is a part of that,” said Jennifer Wray, marketing and media assistant at the Wex.
Iyer performed at the Wex with his quartet in 2007 and he last performed in 2012 with his band Tirtha.
“His last visit was with his band Tirtha, which based his music on traditional Indian music forms and integrated it with jazz,” Wray said. “I think that looking at what’s planned for this performance, it’ll be more kind of a fundamental jazz performance, but it also has emotionally compelling and innovative elements.”
Iyer said both community and relationships are much more important in music than focusing on style.
“Performing with Tirtha was different because it was with different people and it was different music,” Iyer said. “The trio has a much more standard format for jazz.”
The trio consists of Iyer on the piano, Marcus Gilmore on drums and Stephan Crump on bass. The three have known each other and played music together for several years. They released their newest album, “Break Stuff,”this past January.
“We’re able to improvise and evolve our sound and work out what needs to be worked out,” Iyer said. “So there’s a certain trust we have with each other.”
Iyer said he enjoys playing at the Wex because “it’s a part of an amazing institution that has a lot to offer its students.”
The admiration is mutual, according to Wray. “We’ve had an ongoing relationship with him, and the audience has really responded to him,” she said. “We were thrilled to be able to bring him back.”
Wray added that the Performance Art Space is a good environment for the audience.
“We have it set up cabaret style, and there’s great acoustics and lighting,” she said.
Tickets are $18 for members, $22 for the general public and $10 for students.