Nicole M. Mitchell is an award-winning creative flutist, composer, bandleader, poet and educator. Having emerged from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late 90s, and having relocated to Long Beach, California in 2011, Mitchell’s music celebrates contemporary African American culture. She is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, a multi-generational and gender-balanced group that is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2018. Black Earth Ensemble’s Mandorla Awakening project, celebrating Afrofuturism and intercultural collaboration, was highlighted as the #1 Jazz Album of 2017 by the New York Times. Mitchell composes for contemporary ensembles of varied instrumentation and size, while incorporating improvisation and a wide aesthetic expression. She is a 2018 recipient of the “Champion of New Music” award from the American Composers Forum, and she has been repeatedly awarded by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as “Top Flutist of the Year” from 2010-2017. The former first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Mitchell celebrates endless possibility by “creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar with the unknown.” Mitchell works to raise respect and integrity for the improvised flute, to contribute her original voice to the jazz legacy, and to continue the bold and exciting directions that the AACM has charted for decades. Mitchell was awarded the Herb Alpert Award in 2011, and the Doris Duke Performing Arts award in 2012. With her ensembles, as a featured flutist and composer, she has been a highlight at festivals and art venues throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Mitchell is a proud member of the incredibly progressive, fun and forward-looking Long Beach community, and is a Professor of Music at University of California, Irvine.