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Claire Ritter Pianist Composer Educator
Kristin Byrum Photography

American jazz master, composer/pianist/educator Claire Ritter, is a multiple award recipient, and "among the most successful Thirdstream synthesis of jazz & classical musics" author Ed Hazel/ Wikipedia encyclopedia. In 2014 Ritter was the recipient of an artist grant awarded by the NC Arts & Science Council, her third, as well as a previous NC Arts Council Jazz Composer Fellowship. AllAboutJazz describes Ritter as "an under sung jazz master, with each engaging melody buffed up like a little jewel". JazzTimes notes the music as "painterly, exquisite & poetic". Beginning with the great Mary Lou Williams at Duke University in the 1970s, Ritter has studied, worked, performed & recorded with the best, which includes over a decade with MacArthur Grant Genius recipient Ran Blake at New England Conservatory of Boston, where she taught her contemporary songwriting class in the Contemporary Improvisation department during the 1990s. The economic song-like quality & harmonic sophistication of her tunes are hallmarks of Ritter's style, described by Owen Cordle, writer for JazzTimes/News & Observer as "direct, succinct & skillful - like the NC born pianist/composer, Thelonious Monk's style.

Claire Ritter is the author of over 200 compositions, most of which have been published and recorded; and performed in festivals, concert halls, and museums in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Her work has been the subject of numerous publications & radio interviews on WGBH Boston, WHRB Harvard University, WBUR Boston, & WFAE Charlotte, and has been recorded on European labels Soul Note, HatArt, and the independent label Zoning Recordings, founded in Boston in honor of a major work by Mary Lou Williams. Ritter's compositions have been recorded by internationally acclaimed Jazz artists including Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Christine Correa, Ricky Ford, Jon Metzger, and Franz Koglmann, as well as performed in concert halls including Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Festival at NEC, American Women Composers Boston, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Brandeis University Jazz Band, New England Conservatory Jazz-Thirdstream Festival, Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium, Osterreichischen Museum in Europe, Multicultural Arts Center in Boston, Queens University, 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival, and Central Piedmont Community College 21st Century Music Series & Tate Hall Music Series in Charlotte, NC, to name a few.

Ritter's discography includes 12 CD/DVD recordings on Zoning Recordings: In Between (Ran Blake, Dave Holland, Dominique Eade/1988); Ain't Life a Circus (Christine Correa, Stan Strickland/1991); Mistral (by Eleni Odoni, with Ran Blake/1991); At One (Taki Masuko/1994); True (Taki Masuko, Kaku Sato/ 1998); Castles in the Air (Steve Swallow/2001); River of Joy (Steve Swallow, Ran Blake/2001); Greener Than Blue (Stan Strickland, Bob Weiner/2004); Waltzing the Splendor (Jon Metzger, Jane Hart Brendle, Ashima Scripp/2007); Stream of Pearls Project (Taki Masuko, Ashima Scripp, Toni Naples/2011); Claire Ritter & Friends at Multicultural Arts Center in Boston (Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Taki Masuko/2013); Soho Solo (2015). Recorded by others: Ran Blake ("Short Life of Barbara Monk"/Soul Note/1988); Franz Koglman ("Orte Der Geometrie" with Ran Blake/HatArt/1989); Documentary "Streaming" New England Conservatory; Southern Arts Federation "Jazz South # 3"); Film collaboration, Queens University & Charlotte New Music Festival with photographer JoAnn Sieburg-Baker "Mirrors Project/Six Jazz Variations."

Claire's Wikipedia page

Claire's All About Jazz artist profile

Claire's bio

Claire's LinkedIn profile

Claire Ritter on iTunes


Other compositional performances/workshops include:

* 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival
* Central Piedmont Community College Tate Hall New Music Series
* Ottawa Jazz Festival
* New England Conservatory Jazz-Third Stream Festival
* Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium
* Osterreichischen Museum
* Brandeis University
* University of North Carolina
* Queens University
* Festival of Women Improvisers, Boston
* Multicultural Arts Center, Boston
* Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance
* Stockbridge Music Series, Massachusetts
* Berkley School of Music
* Longy School of Music
* American Women Composers
* Club Passim, Cambridge

Claire Ritter is the recipient of a 2014, 2006 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant; 2001 'Composers Charlotte’ Grassroots Grant as Artist Director/Queens University, 2000 NC Arts Council Jazz Composers Fellowship, and 2000 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant.

Grant information is available through and (Charlotte).

Additional grants/awards include the Massachusetts Arts Lottery in Boston, and the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta, Georgia. Claire Ritter is also the founder of the Ziggy Hurwitz Jazz Scholarship at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC.

Claire Ritter teaches and composes in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she is the Artistic Director Composers Concert at Queens University.
Contact: Claire Ritter Studio, (704) 321-0708, (704) 372-5008.



Soho Solo I Claire Ritter .... Zoning Recordings: ZR 1012

DVD: Claire Ritter & Friends.... Zoning Recordings: ZR 1011

The Stream of Pearls Project (inspired by water)...Zoning Recordings: ZR 1010
Guests Ashima Scripp (cello), Richie Stearns (banjo), Toni Naples & Rick Hansen (accordion 1+2), Jon Metzger (vibraphone), Takaaki Masuko (percussion/drums)

Waltzing the Splendor...............Zoning Recordings: ZR 1009
featuring Four Jazz Serenades for Georgia O’Keeffe, Opus 23. Guests: Jon Metzger, Jane Hart Brendle, Ashima Scripp, Dave Holland

Greener than Blue................Zoning Recordings: ZR 1008
featuring Opus 21: World Poems for Peace
Guests: Stan Strickland, Todd Low, Bob Weiner

River Of Joy ............................ Zoning Recordings (2001): ZR1007
Solo Portraits w/Claire Ritter, Dave Holland, Ran Blake, Steve Swallow

Castles in the Air ..................... Zoning Recordings (2001): ZR1006
Featuring Steve Swallow and the NEW SOUTHERN SYMPHONIC SUITE For Modern Dance Opus 17, produced by Claire Ritter and Takaaki Masuko

True .......................................... Zoning Recordings (1998): ZR1005
w/ Kaku Sato and Takaaki Masuko

At One ..................................... Zoning Recordings (1994): ZR 1004
w/ Takaaki Masuko

Mistral w/Eleni Odoni ............. Zoning Recordings (1991): ZR1003

Ain't Life A Circus ........................ Zoning Recordings (1991): ZR1002
w/ Stan Strickland

In Between .............................. Zoning Recordings (1988): ZR1001
w/ Dave Holland and Ran Blake

Claire Ritter compositions and CD recordings by others:

JazzSouth (documentary, interview) Southern Arts Federation (1992) #3

Orte Der Geometrie (Franz Kloglman) Hat Art Recordings (1989): 6018

Short Life of Barbara Monk (Ran Blake) Soul Note Recordings (1986): 1127


Documentary Films:

"Streaming" (music score) : Department of Third Stream Studies,
New England Conservatory, Boston, MA (1991)

"Claire Ritter" (documentary), Babson College: Documentary Wellesley, MA (1991)

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