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Cory Smythe

About this Artist

Pianist CORY SMYTHE is an inventive improviser, chamber musician, and performer of contemporary classical music. He has performed internationally both as a soloist and chamber musician at the Darmstadt International Summer Festival for New Music, the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City, Ravinia's Rising Stars Series, and Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center. He was recently selected by composer John Adams to perform the keyboard part in Nixon in China in the Metropolitan Opera's staging of the work.

As a core member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Smythe has presented numerous premiers, collaborated in the development of new works, and worked closely with composers Philippe Hurel, Dai Fujikura, Steve Lehman, Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Mathias Pintscher, and Alvin Lucier among many others. A forthcoming recording by ICE (on Mode Records) will feature Smythe as the piano soloist in Iannis Xenakis’s ‘Palimpsest’. Smythe has also been a featured guest and soloist with many new music ensembles throughout the United States, including Milwaukee's Present Music, the Boston-based Firebird Ensemble, Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.

A prolific improviser, Smythe has worked in collaboration with artists Greg Osby, Tyshawn Sorey, and Anthony Braxton. His recent performance of the latter's seminal Composition No. 30 has been released on the composer's New Braxton House label and described by The Wire magazine as "startling… gorgeously dense…" Smythe's debut album as improviser/composer, Pluripotent, has garnered praise from New York Times critic Steve Smith as well as jazz pianist Jason Moran, who called it "hands down one of the best solo recordings I’ve ever heard." Pluripotent is available for free download at

Smythe holds degrees in classical piano performance from the music schools at Indiana University and the University of Southern California, where he studied with Luba Edlina-Dubinsky and Dr. Stewart Gordon, respectively. He currently resides in New York City.