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Brooklyn Museum Announces First Composer-In-Residence

Cellist Niles Luther will assume the residency through a fellowship from the Ford Foundation


Niles Luther currently serves as musical director for the Kehinde Wiley Studio, where he is a resident artist. The 27-year-old’s first projects with the Brooklyn Museum began in 2020, when he was asked to curate, produce, and perform a concert to launch Black History Month and the First Saturday event series at the museum.

As the museum’s first composer-in-residence, Luther will contribute to its cultural programming by creating original scores, or art music, inspired by the collection and exhibitions. He will hold the residency until November 2025.

“[I will explore] the different ways Art Music can be engaged with by visitors: live performances, recorded music featured on Bloomberg Connects, and full-blown immersive audio installations,” Luther told The Art Newspaper. “The aim of this residency is to use the institutional support I have received to position Art Music on the global stage, solidifying its relevance and criticality as a new genre of music that deeply enhances the experience of viewing art.”

A New York based cellist and composer, Luther studied cello at the Yale School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music and with Ole Akahoshi and Wolfram Koessel. He has won prizes in the Lilian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition and the Ruth Widder String Quartet Competition in Manhattan School of Music’s 2016, 2017, and 2018 academic school years. 

Luther was selected to be one of three American cellists to participate in an international cello festival hosted by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in celebration of their 90th anniversary. He has served artist residences at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church in Fairfield, CT and Christ Church in Summit, NJ where

“I am deeply honored to inaugurate the role of composer in residence at the Brooklyn Museum,” Luther said in the press release. “[This position] is a unique opportunity to engage with the museum’s diverse and rich collections, drawing inspiration to create compositions that resonate with contemporary audiences while paying homage to the classical tradition,” he continued. “I look forward to crafting musical works that not only complement the museum’s exhibitions but also forge a lasting legacy of cultural enrichment and innovation.”

“Building on our tradition of pushing the boundaries of artistic dialogue, our composer in residence program offers visitors an entirely new way to engage with art,” added Sharon Matt Atkins, deputy director for art at the Brooklyn Museum. “We are so thrilled to welcome Niles Luther as we head into a landmark 200th anniversary year for the Brooklyn Museum.”

A recent interview with Luther by the Brooklyn Museum can be viewed here.

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