Resolved: Critiquing Contemporary Music Through Improvised Performance


Julian Terrell Otis is a vocalist dedicated to the advancement of Black music in America, spanning genres from creative music and jazz, to contemporary classical.

Artist Bio

Julian Terrell Otis’s memories of participating in his high school debate team are tinted by inequity, stifling opportunities the experience intended to provide for academic exploration, travel, and community. In the face of inequity, he and his peers improvised solutions to win cases. In his performance Resolved, Otis applies this improvisation to tackle similar inequities around contemporary music circles. Using the artist’s experience on the debate team and their use of critical race theory as inspiration, the work facilitates dialogue and musical expression by convening the music and debate communities in knowledge sharing, rehearsals, and performance.


Award Year
2021
Status

In Progress

A Black man with short black hair, wearing neon green glasses a yellow t-shirt and light blue jacket.

Julian Terrell Otis

Chicago, IL

Julian Terrell Otis is a vocalist dedicated to the advancement of Black music in America, spanning genres from creative music and jazz, to contemporary classical. His work explores the limitless possibilities of his instrument’s expressive capacity through song, improvisation, and theater. Known for bringing fresh perspective, nuance, and “high drama” to the contemporary music world, the integration of performance “live art” elements is of particular interest to him. Otis’s experiences have led him to create the male soloist role in George E. Lewis’ chamber opera, Afterword, on both domestic and international stages. In exploring the life and work of Julius Eastman, Otis has performed his solo work, Prelude for the Holy Presence of Joan of Arc. He revived Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King at the inaugural Bang on a Can All Star’s Loud Weekend, and is devising works focusing on improvisation, electronics, and movement. All the Pretty Flowers is his first recording project of improvised music and poetry. Committed to community empowerment, he led an improvised jam for South Side Chicago communities called Self Care = Resistance!