Born in 1963, Cyrus Chestnut started his musical career at the age of three, and began playing piano at the Mount Calvary Star Baptist Church at the age of six in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. By age nine, he was studying classical music at the Peabody Preparatory Institute in Baltimore. In the fall of 1981, Cyrus began jazz education in Boston, Mass., at the Berklee College of Music. In 1985, he earned a degree in jazz composition and arranging. After Berklee, Cyrus began further honing his craft as a sideman with some of the legendary and leading musicians in the business.
As Cyrus was absorbing experiences as a sideman, he was also developing as a leader, recording and playing live around the world.
His leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call for the piano chair in many big bands including the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Big Band, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.
Chestnut continually tours with his trio, playing live at jazz festivals around the world as well as clubs and concert halls. With his hectic schedule, Cyrus has also found the time to get involved in jazz education, giving seminars worldwide and also, on occasion, educating students in jazz at Middlebury College in Vermont during the winter months. In his own words, "This country and this art form are founded on the basic principles of freedom, whereby a person is able to think, say, or play what he or she chooses. Throughout the years as I look at history, all of my predecessors, regardless of what their environment was, shared freely their thoughts and feelings in a swinging, musical way on the bandstand. They swung hard and made the listeners feel better leaving than when they arrived. This is the tradition I intend to preserve."
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