The American flutist and Black Earth Ensemble founder discusses her spherical, afro-futuristic approach to jazz and classical composition.
Nicole Mitchell is a black American composer, flutist, writer and educator whose work draws on be-bop, free jazz and classical, as well as afro-futurist literature, music and art, to creative solo and ensemble works. Born in Syracuse, New York, Mitchell was for a long time based in Chicago, where she joined Samana, an all-female ensemble within the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), before later becoming president of the AACM itself. In 1998 she founded the Black Earth Ensemble, with which she has released dozens of albums, the most recent being 2017’s Liberation Narratives and Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds. Through her music, Mitchell has become an educator; in 2013, she became a professor of music at the University of California, Irvine.