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Billy Childs

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Billy Childs

Biography

Billy Childs (b. 8 March 1957, Los Angeles, Calif.) is an American composer and pianist.

Childs grew up immersed in jazz, classical, and popular music influences. A prodigious talent at the piano earned him public performances by age six, and at sixteen he was admitted to the University of Southern California (USC) Community School of the Performing Arts, going on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in composition under the tutelage of Robert Linn and Morten Lauridsen.

By the time of his graduation from USC, Childs was already an in-demand performer in the L.A. jazz scene. Soon thereafter he was discovered by trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, with whom he embarked on a successful performing and recording tour. He recorded and performed with a number of other influential jazz musicians including J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, and Wynton Marsalis. His recordings earned him two GRAMMY awards and five nominations.

Simultaneously with his recording career, Childs has occupied a parallel niche as an in-demand composer. He has married the musical products of his heritage with the Western neoclassical traditions of the twentieth century in a powerful symbiosis of style, range, and dynamism. His orchestral and chamber commission credits include Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, and The Dorian Wind Quintet.

Thus far in his career, Childs has garnered thirteen GRAMMY nominations and four awards. In 2006, he was awarded a Chamber Music America Composer’s Grant, and in 2009 was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was also awarded the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2013, and most recently, the music award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015.

As a pianist Childs has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Renee Fleming, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, and The American Brass Quintet, among others.


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