Jazz Pianist Vijay Iyer at the Met

Lena Adasheva

The jazz innovator inaugurates the museum's brand new building. 

Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer is best known for his groundbreaking trio’s covers of pop pieces by M.I.A. and Michael Jackson, as well as for his own unconventional compositions. But he resists categorization in other ways, too. A 44-year-old Harlem resident with a physics degree from Yale, a Ph.D. in music and cognitive science from Berkeley, and a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Iyer has collaborated with string ensembles, filmmakers, and the politically minded conceptual rapper Mike Ladd. It’s difficult to experience the full range of Iyer’s proclivities at a single event, but he may have finally landed a gig that showcases his eclecticism: a residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. Beginning on March 10, he will direct 18 days of constant activity in the lobby gallery of the new Met Breuer (the former home of the Whitney Museum), from poetry readings to dance performances to appearances by such similarly unclassifiable jazz artists as drummer Tyshawn Sorey and vocalist Jen Shyu. Iyer will frequently add his own distinctive piano stylings to the mix. “The Met may be the one frame wide enough to convey the depth of his creativity,” says Limor Tomer, the museum’s general manager of concerts and lectures. “Hopefully, this is only the beginning of our engagement with Vijay.” 945 Madison Ave.; 212-535-7710; metmuseum.org.