Nicole Mitchell Gantt

Professor (Composition & Computer Technologies)

Wilson 103


Nicole Mitchell Gantt is an award-winning creative flutist, composer, conceptualist, bandleader and educator. A United States Artist (2020), a Doris Duke Artist (2012), and a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award (2011) her research centers on the powerful legacy of contemporary African American culture and black experimental art. For over 20 years, Mitchell’s critically acclaimed Chicago-based Black Earth Ensemble (BEE) has been her primary compositional laboratory with which she has performed at festivals and art venues throughout Europe, Canada, and the US. The former first woman president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Mitchell composes for contemporary ensembles of varied instrumentation and size (from solo to orchestra and large jazz band) while incorporating improvisation and a wide aesthetic expression. She is perhaps best known for her work as a flutist, having developed a unique improvisational language and having been repeatedly awarded “Top Flutist of the Year” by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association (2010-2022). Mitchell initially emerged from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late 90s, having started as a co-founder of the all-woman group Samana, and a member of the David Boykin Expanse. Much of Mitchell’s creative process has been informed by literature and narrative, with a special interest in science fiction. Her album, Mandorla Awakening (FPE, 2017), combines Afrofuturism with intercultural collaboration and was selected by the New York Times as the #1 jazz album of 2017. As a composer, she has been commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Music NOW, French Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Art Institute of Chicago, the French American Jazz Exchange, Chamber Music America, the Chicago Jazz Festival, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Bang on a Can. Mitchell has performed with creative music luminaries including Craig Taborn, Terri Lyne Carrington, Roscoe Mitchell, Joelle Leandre, Geri Allen, Mark Dresser, Anthony Davis, Myra Melford, Ed Wilkerson, Rob Mazurek, and Hamid Drake.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu