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Jay Vilnai

Brooklyn, NY   

A formidable composer, the missing link between Rasputina and Bernard Herrmann‘ (Lucid Culture)

Vilnai’s musical journey owes to a unique heritage as a Russian-Romanian descendant raised in Jerusalem around a mix of contemporary and traditional music, with a BFA in jazz and an MM in composition. He studied jazz guitar at the New School, graduating with honors in 2003. In 2009 Vilnai completed an MM in composition at Brooklyn College, studying with Jason Eckardt and earning the John Cage Award for Excellence in Composition. He has been commissioned by the Metro Chamber Orchestra to create a concerto for himself on guitar and chamber orchestra, ai ensemble, trombonist Jen Baker, trombonist Will Lang, New York Trombone Consort and video artist Elizabeth Hamby. As a guitarist, Vilnai has performed with Matt Darriau’s Paradox Trio, Midrash Mish Mosh, Romashka, and other ensembles in NYC’s downtown and world music scenes. He has shared the stage with diverse figures such as Frank London, balafon player Famoro Dioubate and the Phoenix Symphony. Vilnai leads Vampire Suit, an ensemble that examines the intersection of Balkan, jazz and chamber music. The ensemble has released two recordings to positive reviews, being called  ‘spirited and enjoyable‘ (Time Out NY) and said to have ‘enduring beauty‘ (Cadence Magazine). His 2011 release ‘Shakespeare Songs’, featuring the MIVOS quartet and singer Gelsey Bell was said by Lucid Culture to possess ‘creepy otherworldliness’, and ‘ghostly ambience’.

There’s a Bluebird in My Heart

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I Sleep

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