bio

India Gailey (she/they) is an American-Canadian cellist, composer, vocalist, and improviser currently based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). She draws from many eras and genres to craft poetic narratives of sound, most often performing in the realms of classical and experimental music. She frequently works with living composers, musicians outside of the Western Classical tradition, and the intersection of standard and obscure. Named by CBC as one of “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30,” India has toured across the Western hemisphere as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborator. India is also a member of the award-winning improvisational 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, Nicole Lizée, and Andrew Noseworthy. India’s most recent work has been presented by organizations such as the Canadian Music Centre (TO), Government House (NS), International Contemporary Ensemble (NY), Metropolis Ensemble (NY), and Upstream Music (NS). India released her debut album, Lucid, in 2017, followed by to you through (Redshift Records, 2022), which was praised as “a truly exceptional display of unparalleled talent” (Take Effect) that “flows like poetry” (The Whole Note). Forthcoming are the release of Lizée’s “Bookburners,” ft. NYC-based turntablist DJ P-Love, as well as a series of commissioned works written especially for India by Canadian composers.

India holds numerous honours, including awards from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, the Canada Council for the Arts, Acadia University, and McGill University. In 2021, she was bestowed an “Emerging Artist Recognition Award” from Arts Nova Scotia. Venues at which she has performed or held residencies include the Canadian Music Centre, 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. 

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 Symphony Nova Scotia, Ear Camera, Keep Good (Theatre) Company, The Acadia Gamelan Ensemble, New Hermitage, and for various combos of musicians and dancers. She has also served as an adjudicator for various funding bodies and competitions, and facilitated various workshops on mindfulness and/or music. India enjoys making visual art, writing poetry, meditating, and being with the trees, rocks, sky, and earth.