India Gailey (she/they) is an American Canadian cellist, composer, and improviser. Distinguished as “a young musician to watch” (Scotia Festival), she draws from many eras and genres to craft poetic narratives of sound. She frequently works with living composers, musicians outside of the Western Classical tradition, and the meeting of standard and obscure. She has toured across Canada, The United States, and Germany as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborator. She is also a member of the award-winning environmental avant-jazz quartet New Hermitage, which recently released their fifth recording, Unearth, to critical acclaim. India recently completed her Master of Music degree at McGill’s Schulich School of Music, under the tutelage of Matt Haimovitz. Since then, she has worked with several much-admired composers of our time, including Philip Glass, Yaz Lancaster, Amy Brandon, Michael Harrison, Anne Lanzilotti, and Nicole Lizée. India released her debut album, Lucid, a collaboration with three emerging Canadian composers, in 2017. Her awaiting-releases include Lizée’s “Bookburners,” featuring NYC-based turntablist P-Love, and a full album of post-minimalist cello music by Canadian and American musicians.
India holds numerous honours, including awards from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, the Canada Council for the Arts, Acadia University, and McGill University. Venues at which she has performed or held residencies include the Canadian New Music Network forum, Domaine Forget, Garth Newel Music Center, Green Lake Festival, Halifax Jazz Festival, OBEY Convention, Open Waters Festival, Scotia Festival of Music, Tuckamore Festival, and other various halls, galleries, homes, bars, gardens, and castles. She can also be heard regularly on CBC and CKDU radio stations.
India received her Bachelor of Music degree from Acadia University, where she studied with Norman Adams and Christoph Both. Over the years, she has played in masterclasses for renowned cellists such as Emmanuelle Bertrand, Colin Carr, Denise Djokic, Blair Lofgren, Antonio Lysy, Philippe Müller, and Shauna Rolston. Chamber music mentors include Denise Lupien, Ilya Poletaev, members of the Daedalus, Kronos, and Shanghai string quartets, Garth Newel Piano Quartet, Apple Hill Chamber Players, and Gryphon Trio. She studied improvisation with Jerry Granelli and Javanese Gamelan with Ken Shorley.
As a composer, India is inspired by interdisciplinary interaction, and her compositions often explore environmentalism, magical realism, or minimalism. In addition to her musical studies, she has studied visual art at NSCAD University, and as a child studied ballet and contemporary dance, these other disciplines informing her compositional work. She has written music for Ear Camera, Keep Good (Theatre) Company, The Acadia Gamelan Ensemble, New Hermitage, and for various combos of musicians and dancers. She is currently working on a new body of work for solo cello. When not creating music, India enjoys making visual art, writing poetry, facilitating social meditation, and being with the trees, rocks, sky, and earth.
[photo by Zach Bachand]