One of the most unique and powerful musical talents of her generation, guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been active on the New York scene since 2002. She earned a degree in music from Wesleyan University (2002), where she studied with the legendary Anthony Braxton and also studied with Joe Morris during the same years. Spending her junior year at the New School first allowed her to engage with the New York scene directly and after graduation she settled in Brooklyn in May 2002.
By August 2003, Halvorson was performing publicly and by early 2004, was getting more exposure in a number of varied contexts within the “avant music” scene with one foot in rock and one in jazz-inspired improvisation and creative music.
Since her arrival, Halvorson has led some of the most active and exciting groups and played as a sideperson in a number of dynamic ensembles. One of her earliest associations in bassist Trevor Dunn’s Trio Convulsant brought her into contact with drummer Ches Smith, with whom she has continued to play in a number of bands since that time. Smith joined the Mary Halvorson Trio along with bassist John Hebert in 2007. In the years since, Halvorson has expanded the group to form a quintet with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, and later expanded to a septet with tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik. In addition, Halvorson has co-led a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, and been a part of collaborative ensembles Reverse Blue, Secret Keeper, and Thumbscrew. She works regularly as a sideperson in numerous contexts including bands led by Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Curtis Hasselbring, Ingrid Laubrock, Myra Melford, Marc Ribot, Tom Rainey, and Matthew Welch, among others.