Pioneer Power

Tyshawn Sorey ’04

A multitalented musician who does not wish to be slotted into any specific musical genre, Tyshawn Sorey ‘04, a graduate of the University’s jazz studies program, is a performer (he plays the drums, trombone, and piano), and a composer who has found conventional success as a jazz drummer, but also, as one who has studied both Western philosophy and Zen Buddhism, has used those concepts and beliefs in his own music.

Currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at Wesleyan University, Sorey has released two CDs of his own music, That/Not, released in 2007, and Koan, which came out in 2009. He has composed additional music that he has not yet published.

After years of performing as a sideman with numerous musicians, Sorey has expanded his interests to encompass a larger musical world than jazz. Introduced to klezmer music at Wesleyan, he now performs in an ensemble that plays the traditional folk music. He is also interested in Japanese Taiko drumming and West African Ghanian drumming, and continues to perform creative improvisational music.

“Music is about universality,” he says. “I’ve never thought of myself as a jazz musician, or a classical musician, or any kind of musician. I’m a student of music, a person who likes all kinds of music from different cultures.”