World-renown pianist and composer Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams has been at the forefront of the
contemporary music scene for over 68 years. Muhal is a co-founder of the Association for the
Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), founder of the AACM School of Music and president of
the AACM New York City Chapter, Inc.
Muhal was the first recipient of the grand international jazz award, "The JazzPar Prize", which was awarded to him in 1990 by the Danish Jazz Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1999 Muhal was presented a proclamation by Richard M. Daley, Mayor of the City of Chicago, declaring April 11, 1999 as "Muhal Richard Abrams Day" in Chicago, Illinois. In 2009 Muhal was selected to be a USA Prudential Fellow by United States Artist. In 2010 Muhal was chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts to be a NEA Jazz Master, and Muhal was also inducted into the Downbeat Magazine "Jazz Hall of Fame". In 2012, Muhal received the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, from Columbia University. Also in 2012, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation presented Dr. Abrams with The BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award at The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. In 2014 Dr. Abrams received the Doris Duke Impact Award. Dr. Abrams was also the recipient of the 2014 Walter Dyett Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago, an organization in which Dr. Abrams was one of the co-founders. In 2015 Dr. Abrams received a PhD. in Humane Letters, honoris causa from DePaul University and Dr. Abrams also received the 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award.
Except for a brief period of study at Chicago Musical College and Governors State University in University Park, Illinois, where he studied electronic music, Dr. Abrams is predominately a self-taught musician who, as a result of many years of observation, analysis and practice as a performing musician, has developed a highly respected command of a variety of musical styles both as a pianist and composer.
The versatile Dr. Abrams and members of The AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) are responsible for some of the most original new music approaches of the last four decades.