Brooklyn Museum Names Cellist Niles Luther First Composer In Residence

Arts & Celebrities

New York–based classical cellist Niles Luther is the Brooklyn Museum’s first-ever composer in residence.

During his residency, supported by a fellowship from the Ford Foundation, “Luther will enhance the useum’s cultural programming by composing original scores, or art music, inspired by the collection and exhibitions. This remarkable collaboration advances the Museum’s efforts to deepen the visitor experience and amplify artistic excellence across time and genres,” the museum said, announcing Luther’s appointment.

It also said “his specialization in composing scores directly inspired by historical and contemporary art will create immersive experiences for museumgoers of all ages, allowing visitors to engage with art through sight and sound.”

“I am deeply honored to inaugurate the role of composer in residence at the Brooklyn Museum,” Luther said, adding, “this position represents a novel convergence of visual and musical arts, allowing me to explore and expand the boundaries of art music.

”It 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. 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.”

Luther is kicking off his residency by composing three musical arrangements to accompany the exhibition Hiroshige’s 100 Famous Views of Edo (feat. Takashi Murakami), which opened today.

The museum said, “While not aiming to precisely replicate sounds of 19th-century Tokyo (then Edo), Luther’s compositions deftly incorporate traditional Japanese scales, modes, and techniques to evoke the era’s ambiance as reflected in Utagawa Hiroshige’s prints. Drawing on his own experiences in Tokyo and collaborations with Japanese instrumentalists, Luther blends Eastern and Western musical elements to capture the essence of Hiroshige’s work, underscoring its lasting relevance. In this way, Luther’s music serves as a link between eras.”

Luther’s pieces employ binaural audio technology “to create a multisensory experience, capturing and reproducing sound in a manner that simulates the natural hearing experience of human ears,” the museum explained. His arrangements are accessible through the Brooklyn Museum’s digital guide on the Bloomberg Connects app.

Luther also will play an integral role in collaborating with the Brooklyn Museum on its bicentennial programming, creating original scores and immersive audio elements to complement its collection and special exhibitions.

New York-based composer-cellist Luther has collaborated with artists including Jon Batiste, H.E.R., Mac Miller, Solange Knowles, SEAL, The Roots, Bastille, Common and OneRepublic he has also performed on Good Morning America, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

From 2019 to 2021, he was the musical director at the Kehinde Wiley Studio, during which he composed, orchestrated, produced and installed scores for art films in galleries and museums in New York, London and Paris. In 2022–23, he served as the principal cellist for the National Broadway Tour of Les Misérables.


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