Melanie Dyer

Photo credit: Mariana Meraz

Melanie Dyer (she/her) is a violist/composer who finds freedom in multiple arts disciplines as means of exploring sonic language and possibility, reflecting and responding to lived experience in the 21st century zeitgeist. Her body of work includes viola performance, music composition, theater, poetry/prose and visual arts. She has appeared at the Vision Festival, Donaueschingen Musiktage, Festival Sons d’hiver, Jazz em Agosto, City of Asylum, Elastic Arts and Lincoln Center Outdoors.  Her current projects are the Afro-Modernist ensemble WeFreeStrings, the Siren Xypher collective, and the Incalculable Likelihood of Being.  She has performed and/or recorded with notable jazz /creative improvisers including Henry Grimes, Marshall Allen and the Sun Ra Arkestra, Tomeka Reid, William Parker, Charles Burnham, Joe Morris, Matana Roberts and James Brandon Lewis.  She is the recipient of the NYSCA Support for Artists (’24), AFA Vision Artist (’23), Herb Alpert Ragdale Prize (’23), and grants from New Music USA, Chamber Music America, Jazz Road South Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the American Composers Forum/Innova.

Melanie studied with William Lincer (Principal Violist, NYPhilharmonic), Lee Yeingst (Principal Violist, Colorado Symphony Orchestra), John Jake Kella (NY Metropolitan Opera) and Naomi Fellows (Colorado Symphony Orchestra); and studied viola performance and theater at the LaMont School of Music/University of Denver.  She matriculated in jazz/creative improvisation on bandstands in groups/sessions led by Salim Washington, Donald Smith, Joe Bonner and Makanda Ken McIntyre at St. Nick’s Pub and the Manhattan Healing Arts Center (NYC), Connolly’s Stardust Lounge and Wally’s (Boston).

Selected publications include WeFreeStrings Love In The Form Of Sacred Outrage (ESP-disk, 2022) and Fulfillment (Indepstrings, 2018), The Music of William Parker: Migration of Silence Into & Out of the Tone World (2021), Gwen Laster’s Blue Lotus: New Muse 4tet (2021), Patricia Nicholson Parker No Joke! (2021) David Haney’s Birth of a City (2019), Come Sunday (T. Cumberbatch, 2015); Dogon A.D. Revisited, Salim Washington (2018); Live at St Nick’s Pub, Salim Washington & Donald Smith Ensemble, Cadence Records (2007); With Strings, Salim Washington & The Harlem Arts Ensemble, CIMP Records (2007); Harlem Homecoming, Salim Washington & The Harlem Arts Ensemble, UJam Records (2005), Gap-toothed Girlfriends: The Third Act anthology published by Third Act Press, 1984.