Trinidad born Etienne Charles is a performer, composer and storyteller, who is continuously searching for untold stories and sounds with which to tell them.
A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow and 2022 Creative Capital Awardee, he researches his compositions by traveling to the regions on which he is focused, meeting with musicians and cultural leaders then observing and participating in rituals to be fully immersed into the cultures that he is studying.
As an Afro-descendant, his work is actively connecting the diaspora and drawing lines to regions at the roots of migrations. Highlighting marginalized communities and engaging with them has been his mission, evident with projects such as Carnival: The Sound of a People Vol. 1, San Jose Suite, Creole Soul, and Folklore.
He has been featured as a bandleader at the Newport Jazz Festival (RI), Monterey Jazz Festival (CA), Atlanta Jazz Festival (GA), Java Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Ottawa Jazz Festival (Canada), and Carnegie Hall (NY)
He has been commissioned as a composer and arranger by Lincoln Center (2018 & 2021), Savannah Music Festival (2017), Chamber Music America (2015 & 2021), the Charleston Jazz Orchestra (2012) and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (2011) and currently serves as Associate Professor of Studio Music and Jazz at the University of Miami, Patricia L. Frost School of Music.
He will be performing in SEEN/UNSEEN, a collaborative work by Terri Lyne Carrington & Mickalene Thomas on May 5th @ MOCAD 4454 Woodward Ave.