Roscoe Mitchell’s innovation as a solo performer, role in the resurrection of long-neglected woodwind instruments of extreme register, and reassertion of the composer into what has traditionally been an improvisational form have placed him at the forefront of the international music community for more than four decades. A leader of avant-garde jazz and contemporary music, Mitchell is a founding member of the renowned Art Ensemble of Chicago, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and Trio Space.
Beginning his distinguished career in Chicago in the sixties, Mitchell is the founder (or founding member) of numerous ensembles and collectives, including the Roscoe Mitchell Sextet, the Roscoe Mitchell Quartet, the Sound Ensemble, and the Note Factory. He is the recipient of many honors, such as Jazz Personality of the Year (Madison, Wisconsin), Madison Music Legend (Madison magazine), Honorary Citizen (Atlanta, Georgia), the Outstanding Service to Jazz Education Award (National Association of Jazz Educators), and an Image Award (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).
Highly prolific, Mitchell has recorded more than 85 albums and written more than 250 compositions. In 2003, he was selected as artist-in-residence for the Chicago Jazz Festival, and in 2004, he received a commission from the City of Munich to compose three works, which premiered at the Symposium on Improvised Music. In 2006, he premiered two compositions, White Tiger Disguise and Far Side, at the prestigious Merkin Concert Hall.
Mitchell has received numerous grants and awards from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest Jazz Masters, Michigan State University, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique in Paris. He has taught at the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the California Institute of the Arts, the AACM School of Music, and the Creative Music Studio, while holding workshops and residencies worldwide.
In 2007, Mitchell was appointed to the Darius Milhaud Chair in Composition at Mills College.