Bio

 Profile

zachary_maxwell_stertz_pic2Chris Dingman is a vibraphonist and composer known for his distinctive approach to the instrument: sonically rich and conceptually expansive, bringing listeners on a journey to a beautiful, transcendent place. He has been profiled by NPR,  the New York Times,  DRUM magazine and many other publications, and has received fellowships and grants from the Chamber Music America, the Doris Duke Foundation, New Music USA, and the Herbie Hancock Institute (formerly the Thelonious Monk Institute).

Dingman has done significant work with legendary artists Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as well as next generation visionaries such as Jen Shyu, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Lehman, and many others, performing around the world including India, Vietnam, and extensively in Europe and North America. Hailed by the New York Times as a  “dazzling” soloist and a composer with a “fondness for airtight logic and burnished lyricism,” the fluidity of his musical approach has earned him praise as “an extremely gifted composer, bandleader, and recording artist.” (Jon Weber, NPR).

Performance/Projects

Ever growing and evolving, Dingman’s latest work is focused on music for solo vibraphone as well as his trio. His upcoming album with the trio, Embrace, was awarded the prestigious New Music USA project grant and will be released in 2020. The album features Linda May Han Oh on bass and Tim Keiper (David Byrne, Vieux Farka Toure) on drums, and is produced by Keith Witty (Thiefs, Somi). 

In recent years Dingman’s diverse body of work has been featured in a week-long residency at The Stone, unveiling several new projects, including his trio, a collection of settings of poetry by Rumi with a chamber-like quartet with vocalist Miriam Elhajli, a solo project, and his group Omens featuring Tyshawn Sorey, Matt Brewer, and Steve Lehman. His three-part suite for SATB choir was premiered by the LIU Post choral ensemble in June 2018, and several of his projects were featured in a summer-long residency at Saint Peter’s Church in 2019.  

Dingman’s album-length work The Subliminal and the Sublime, was commercially released by Inner Arts Initiative in June of 2015. The Subliminal and the Sublime is a 62-minute work continuously unfolding in five movements. Blending jazz, ambient electronica, and minimalism through vivid textures and sweeping narratives, Dingman explores subliminal layers of patterns, detail, and depth inspired by the natural world. Commissioned by Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Foundation, and premiered in November 2013, The Subliminal and the Sublime was one of three works featured at the 2015 Concert of Commissioned Works, as part of the Chamber Music America National Conference. The piece was later featured in the Bryant Park new music series and at The Greene Space at WNYC. In the press, the album was selected as #1 Jazz Album of the Year in the Huffington Post, and included on many year-end lists for best of 2015. 

In 2011, Dingman released his debut album, Waking Dreams to widespread critical acclaim. The album was called “gorgeous” (Time Out NY), “brilliant” (All About Jazz), and “luminous” (NY Times). Stereophile called it “a very big, pleasant surprise” and the Los Angeles Times commended: “rich and full of unexpected twists but never less than approachable, Waking Dreams casts an atmospheric spell true to its name.” In 2012, Dingman was named Rising Star Vibraphonist of the Year in Downbeat Magazine, was an Up-and-Coming Artist of the Year nominee at the Jazz Journalist Association Awards, and was featured on NPR’s Piano Jazz: Rising Stars. From 2012 – 2014 he toured the project to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and New Haven, as well as several performances in and around New York City – including the Jazz and Colors Festival in Central Park, the Jazz Gallery, St Peters Church, Cornelia Street Cafe, and Zinc Bar. The album was named among the top jazz albums of the 21st century in Nate Chinen’s book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century

Since his arrival in New York in 2007, Dingman has been busy working as a sideman in a wide array of projects, performing with groups led by Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Lehman, John Zorn, Jen Shyu, Anthony Braxton, Gerald Clayton, Okkyung Lee, Mike Moreno, Ike Sturm, John Ellis, Fabian Almazan, Amir Elsaffar, Aaron Parks, and many others. His playing has been featured on several critically acclaimed albums, including Mise En Abime and Travail, Transformation, and Flow, by Steve Lehman (Pi Recordings); Song of Silver Geese by Jen Shyu (Pi); Prelude: to Cora, by Ambrose Akinmusire (Fresh Sound/New Talent); and numerous records by Harris Eisenstadt’s group Canada Day, among many others. For these achievements and more, he was named a Rising Star on vibes for five years in a row from 2009 to 2014 in the Downbeat Critics Polls, topping the category in 2012. In the 2015-19 Downbeat Critics Polls, Dingman was voted among the top 8 vibraphonists in jazz – along with legends Gary Burton and Bobby Hutcherson, and torchbearers Joe Locke and Stefon Harris. 

Dingman continues to keep up a busy performance schedule, including numerous tours of Western Europe, Canada, and the United States, as well as a rigorous performing and recording schedule in the New York City area. Recent performances have included some of the world’s top festivals, including the North Sea, Vancouver, Newport, and Torino Jazz Festivals, as well as some of the world’s finest performing arts venues such as Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Culturgest (Lisbon), Wexner Center (Columbus, OH), Atlas Arts (Washington DC), the Rubin Museum of Art, Joe’s Pub; and universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Wesleyan, University of Michigan, and many others.

Education

While growing up in San Jose, California, Dingman began piano and percussion studies at an early age. He went on to attend Wesleyan University, where he received his B.A. with honors in music. While at Wesleyan, he studied intensively with vibraphonist Jay Hoggard, drummer Pheeroan AkLaff, composer/multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, and mridangist David Nelson. During this time, he was heavily involved in the study of many of the world’s musical cultures, including South Indian, West African, Korean, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian music. In the summer of 2000, his studies brought him to Kerala, India to delve further into mridangam and South Indian classical music.

In 2005, Dingman was one of only seven musicians selected by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard to participate in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. At the Institute, he studied with Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Jerry Bergonzi, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Lewis Nash, Hal Crook, Stefan Harris, John Magnussen, Vince Mendoza, Russell Ferrante, and many others. He received his Master of Music degree from USC and the Monk Institute in 2007.

During his time at the Monk Institute, Dingman had the opportunity to perform extensively with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. In November of 2005, they traveled with the Monk Institute ensemble on a U.S. State Department tour of Vietnam. The ensemble gave concerts and master classes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In January of 2007, he traveled again with Hancock, Shorter, and the Monk Institute ensemble, this time to Mumbai, Calcutta, New Delhi, and Agra, India, where they performed for capacity crowds and presented clinics at the Ravi Shankar Institute in Delhi and St. John’s School in Mumbai.

Teaching

In addition to performing, Chris is an active educator, working with students of all ages and levels for the past 15 years. His extensive teaching experience includes presenting master classes at conservatories and schools both nationally and internationally (including Miami-Dade College, Trinity College, Vancouver Jazz Festival, the National Conservatory of Vietnam, Staffeldsgate College in Oslo, Norway, and more), directing a summer music camp for students ages 11-18, leading jazz ensembles at the high school and middle school levels, and teaching group percussion classes for both children and adults.

In addition to presenting workshops and educational residencies throughout the world, he teaches vibraphone, composition, piano, percussion, and jazz improvisation in private lessons and group classes through Inner Arts Initiative and Play Music in Brooklyn, NY, and teaches vibraphone performance at The New School University. You may contact Chris directly for more information about lessons or clinics. For more information about Play Music, visit www.playmusicnyc.org.