Billy Childs has emerged as one of the foremost American composers of his era, successfully marrying the musical products of his heritage with the Western neoclassical traditions of the twentieth century in a powerful symbiosis of style, range, and dynamism.
A native of Los Angeles, 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 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 have earned him two GRAMMY awards and five nominations.
Childs’ orchestral and chamber commission credits include Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Kronos Quartet, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The American Brass Quintet, The Ying Quartet, and The Dorian Wind Quintet.
Thus far in his career, Childs has garnered thirteen GRAMMY nominations and four awards: two for Best Instrumental Composition and two for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist. In 2006, Childs was awarded a Chamber Music America Composer’s Grant, and in 2009 he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was also awarded the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2013, and, most recently, he received the music award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015.