“After playing a Steinway, it's pretty hard to play anything else. It's as though all physical obstacles of playing the piano are eliminated, and expression becomes effortless.”
Emmy Award-winning composer and pianist, Kris Bowers, creates genre-defying music that pays homage to his jazz roots with inflections of alternative and R&B influences. A confluence of jazz greats, classical standards, and the alternative and experimental music of his youth, along with the cinematic storytelling of his most studied film scores. Bowers’ earliest musical inspirations were varied, transcending generation and genre to include work by artists such as Steve Reich, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder, Brian Eno, Herbie Hancock, and Jimi Hendrix. As a young musician, Bowers brought the language of jazz to his covers of artists like Death Cab For Cutie, Tune-Yards, Radiohead, and Kendrick Lamar.
Bowers has established himself at the forefront of Hollywood’s emerging generation of genre-defying composers. What sets Bowers apart is his unique ability to compose music that resonates across such a diverse continuum of artists, storytellers, and audiences. From scoring documentaries like Kobe Bryant’s Muse (SHOWTIME, 2015) and Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (2016), to scripted series including Shonda Rhimes and Paul William Davies’ For The People (ABC), Netflix’s Dear White People, and SHOWTIME’S Black Monday (Exec. Produced by Seth Rogen & Evan Golberg), Bowers’ work as a film and television composer is a testament to his versatility as an artist.
Bowers first made a name for himself in 2011, when he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where Aretha Franklin chose him as a favorite to win during the semi-finals concert. The win earned him a record deal with Concord Jazz, who later released his debut album, Heroes+Misfits, which opened at number one on the iTunes jazz chart in 2014.
In 2015, Bowers partnered with choreographer and MacArthur Genius Grant winner Kyle Abraham on the performance piece Absent Matter. The following year the pair was commissioned by the Alvin Ailey Dance Company to create an original composition for its modern ballet, Untitled America. In 2016 Danish speaker brand Bang & Olufsen invited Bowers to compose original music for an exclusive dinner and experiential art event in Brooklyn, as part of their Future Series arts initiative with Aska’s Michelin-awarded chef, Fredrik Berselius. Bowers collaborated with Krug Champagne and Eleven Madison Park’s Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara on Krug Journey Southampton in 2017, for which he composed and performed an original piano composition reflective of the night’s menu.
In 2018, Bowers had the honor of collaborating with Emmy and Academy Award-winning director Peter Farrelly and Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali on their critically acclaimed Green Book (Academy Award Winner, ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Original Screenplay,’ 2019). In addition to scoring the film, Bowers served as Ali’s on-screen hand-double, providing the fingering for close up piano shots, as well as spending months working with Ali as his piano instructor—Ali Went won ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for the role. Bowers’ work on Green Book landed him a nomination for ‘Best Score’ at the 2019 Critic’s Choice Awards, at which he performed a live version of “Dear Dolores” from the Green Book soundtrack.
Bowers has recorded and performed with artists such as Q-Tip, Aretha Franklin, Ludacris, Christian Rich, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. He has contributed to albums by Marcus Miller, José James, Moses Sumney, and Murs.
Bowers is an official Steinway Artist, he was named one of twelve ‘Artists to Watch’ by iTunes in 2014, and he was one of six composers invited to participate in the Sundance Film Composers Lab at Skywalker Sound in 2015. In 2016, he was selected as one of 40 artists to perform at the White House for International Jazz Day, an event hosted by President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama. Bowers received the prestigious ‘ROBIE Pioneer Award’ from the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 2019. He is managed by Specter Artists, WME, and Paradigm Talent Agency.
Kris Bowers has been a Steinway Artist since 2013.