Shahzad Ismaily | Ars Nova Workshop
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December 15, 2021

Ars Nova Workshop, in collaboration with Artists Space (NYC), presents a special performance by multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily, in conjunction with Fundamental Frequency, a multiform retrospective exhibition on the life and work of interdisciplinary artist and percussionist Milford Graves. The performance will take place at Artists Space and will be presented as a livestream on the exhibition website, December 15, 2021, at 6:30PM.


Shahzad Ismaily was born in the United States to Pakistani parents who emigrated here just before his birth. Growing up in a bicultural household, he has always followed a multitude of paths and perusals. Primarily self-taught as a musician, composer, recording engineer, and producer, Ismaily plays electric bass, drums, percussion, guitar, synthesizers, and all manner of sound-makers procured in life’s travels.

Ismaily has recorded and performed with a diverse crew of artmaker, including: Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Beth Orton, Colin Stetson, Ben Frost, Bonnie Prince Billy, Damien Rice, Jolie Holland, JFDR, Secret Chiefs 3, Sam Amidon, further and further. He has been an integral member of experiences such as the People Festival (the brainchild of Bon Iver, The National, and the Michelberger), the Eau Claires festival, the Moers Festival. He has done work for dance and theater pieces, such as the film Frozen River (Oscar-nominated and Sundance award-winning), Inkboat (a butoh crew from California/Switzerland), and visual artist Laleh Khorramian.

Currently based in Brooklyn and working out of the recording studio collective he founded and created, Figure 8 Recording, Ismaily has studied music extensively in Pakistan, India, Turkey, Mexico, Chile, Japan, Indonesia, Morocco, and Iceland.

Cover: Milford Graves with William Parker and Shahzad Ismaily. Performance documentation, October 15, 2017, The Artists Institute, New York. Image courtesy The Artists Institute.
Wednesday, December 15


  • Performance

Program Info

Free Admission
All Ages


Artists Space
New York, NY


Lead Support for Milford Graves: Fundamental Frequency is provided by the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation.

Original support for Milford Graves: A Mind Body Deal at ICA Philadelphia was provided to Ars Nova Workshop by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Encore Presentation

December 15, 2021 — “Shahzad Ismaily,” livestream from Artists Space, New York City. (Vimeo)

October 8, 2021–January 15, 2022

Milford Graves: Fundamental Frequency

  • Exhibition

Milford Graves: Fundamental Frequency

Ars Nova Workshop, in collaboration Artists Space (NYC), presents a multiform retrospective exhibition and event series dedicated to the life and work of interdisciplinary artist and percussionist Milford Graves.