Nicole Mitchell

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.



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Nicole Mitchell

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Artist Work

Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections (2015)
Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections with Nicole Mitchell flute/composition, Craig Taborn piano, David Boykin tenor sax, Chad Taylor drumset @ the Vision Festival, Manhattan, New York 2015.

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NewMusicBox Live in Chicago - Nicole Mitchell (2017)
Nicole Mitchell speaks about her inspiration and does a solo flute performance.

Nicole Mitchell: Ear Taxi presents NewMusicBox LIVE! in Chicago

As regular readers of NewMusicBox know well, there's something special about the stories told by musicians. Whether they're reminiscing about family history, sharing the memory of meeting a favorite collaborator, or revealing the impetus behind an important piece, artists offer unique and compelling insights into their lives and the work they create-and often the broader world at large.

Nicole Mitchell Orchestra Piece and Solo Flute (2011)
A world premiere of "Flight for Freedom: A Tribute to Harriet Tubman" composed by Mitchell and performed by the Chicago Composers Orchestra at Garfield Park in December 2011, featuring Nicole Mitchell on flute.

Nicole Mitchel Flight for Freedom World Premiere

Nicole Mitchell's Flight for For Freedom describes Harriet Tubman's heroic struggle for freedom from slavery. Performed by the Chicago Composers Orchestra at Garfield Park Conservatory on December 7, 2011

Poetry excerpt from "When Life's Door Opens" (2018)
This is an excerpt from a 30 page poem entitled "When Life's Door Opens" by Nicole M Mitchell . The work celebrates the journey of those at the “crossroads” of choosing a life-path based on their passion--a path that may not be popular, easily supported, or clearly promising of reward,

Interdimensional Interplay for disklavier, pre-recorded flute and video

Interdimensional Interplay between flute and disklavier (with video/electronics). Music from live performance April 23, 2016, 8pm @ UC Irvine's Winifred Smith Hall. Nicole M. Mitchell, composition, concept, pre-recorded flute, video; Joshua White, disklavier; Richard Savery, and Nicole Mitchell MSP patch development; Chantal Eyong and Nicole Mitchell camera work.