New York-based pianist, composer, arranger and educator, Caili O’Doherty (pronounced “KAY-lee” “oh-DOE-er-tee”), is known for integrating structures of language in both her compositions and her approach to improvisation. Her recent music focuses on the celebration, preservation, and expansion upon the achievements of jazz's unsung women heroes. O’Doherty has received national awards for piano performance and composition from the ASCAP Foundation and Downbeat Magazine.
Praised by All About Jazz for its “exquisitely forged, dramatic and darkly hued pieces”, O’Doherty’s debut release Padme (2015) uses lyrics to give the melodies a natural rhythm of language. Padme was selected as a Downbeat Magazine Editor’s pick and received a 4-star review in All About Jazz. The latest release from O’Doherty is Quarantine Dream (Posi-Tone Records 2022). The album release was followed by a U.S. CD release tour with support from a Jazz Road grant from South Arts.
The Caili O’Doherty Quintet was selected by the U.S. Department of State as one of ten ensembles to participate in the 2022-23 American Music Abroad U.S. State Department tour to the Republic of Georgia and Canada. Also in 2022, O’Doherty was one of ten artists to receive a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, which funds the creation of a new original work. In 2021, O’Doherty received a Chamber Music America Presenters Consortium for Jazz Grant to present her project, “Caili O’Doherty: Celebrating Lil Hardin Armstrong”, featuring her arrangements of compositions by pianist, composer, and vocalist Lil Hardin Armstrong.
She has performed at the Kimmel Center, SF Jazz, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Panama Jazz Festival, Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, concert halls throughout China and UNESCO First International Jazz Day in Paris, as well as two US State Dept. supported tours to Colombia and Togo and Benin in West Africa.
O’Doherty is currently on the faculty at Purchase College School of the Arts Conservatory of Music. Additionally, she is on the faculty at Jazz House Kids and Savannah Music Festival Jazz Academy. She leads educational performances in New York City schools about jazz, democracy and civil rights as a bandleader for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People program. O’Doherty has been a faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop since 2012, as well as faculty at the University of Wisconsin Madison Summer Music Clinic and Litchfield Jazz Camp. She is a graduate of Berklee College of Music (BM '13) and Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (MM '19).