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Claire Ritter

American jazz master, composer/pianist/educator Claire Ritter, is a multiple award recipient, and "among the most successful Thirdsteam 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 fourth, as well as a previous NC Arts Council Composer Fellowship recipient. AllAboutJazz describes Ritter as "an under sung 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, and recorded with the best, which includes over a decade and half of work with MacArthur Grant 'Genius' Fellow, Ran Blake at New England Conservatory in Boston, where she taught her Contemporary Songwriting 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/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, Ricky Ford, Jon Metzger, and Franz Koglmann, as well as performed in concert halls including Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Festival/NEC, American Women Composers, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Brandeis University, 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 CPCC 21st Century New Music Series and Tate Hall Music Series 2014 to name a few.

Ritter's discography includes 11 CDs/ 1 DVD recording on Zoning Recording. Visit www.claireritter.com or www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Ritter.


Southern Arts Federation Artist Profile Recording 1993 North Carolina Arts Council Jazz Composer Fellowship 1999 Charlotte Arts & Science Council Artist Grants 2000 Charlotte Arts & Science Council Cultural Grant/Artistic Direct- ComposersCharlotte 2000 Charlotte Arts & Science Council Artist Grant 2006 Charlotte Arts & Science Council Artist Grant 2014


Album Review

Claire Ritter, Ran Blake: Eclipse Orange

Read "Eclipse Orange" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro

Misura, buon gusto e un po' di accademia: questo, in estrema sintesi, ciò che troviamo in questo elegante album inciso dal vivo alla Queens University of Charlotte nel luglio 2017 da uno degli autentici decani del pianismo jazz, Ran Blake (classe 1935), accanto alla collega ed ex-allieva Claire Ritter (1952), di fatto principale artefice dell'operazione (sua anche l'etichetta che ha prodotto l'album). I due suonano insieme o separatamente, in alcuni brani (cinque) abbinando al pianoforte della Ritter il sax tenore ...

Radio & Podcasts

Mary Lou Williams, James Moody & More

Read "Mary Lou Williams, James Moody & More" reviewed by Joe Dimino

This week we start everything off with the talented veteran North Carolina jazz pianist Claire Ritter with the title track off her 2018 CD Eclipse Orange. Then we hear from her mentor Mary Lou Williams, a new one from Branford Marsalis and his Quartet and some solid groove with the great John Kirby leading The Biggest Little Band. We keep things going with profiles of Amina Figarova, Yuriy Galkin and Drew Williams. In between, we hear from new artists like ...

Album Review

Ran Blake / Claire Ritter: Eclipse Orange

Read "Eclipse Orange" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Pianist Claire Ritter is one of the countless musicians out there who deserve more recognition. A former student of Ran Blake's, she has forged her own path as a composer and educator. This CD presents a 2017 concert she gave with Blake, in North Carolina, for Thelonious Monk's 100th birthday. The program features compositions by Ritter, Blake and Monk, played in solo and duo configurations, involving both pianists and saxophonist Kent O'Doherty.The entire concert has an easy, harmonious ...

Album Review

Ran Blake / Claire Ritter: Eclipse Orange

Read "Eclipse Orange" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The concert that resulted in the CD Eclipse Orange was done in honor of pianist Thelonious Monk's 100th birthday, but there's so much more than a Monk showcase here. Pianists Claire Ritter and Ran Blake play in duets and solos, and Ritter shares the stage with Australian saxophonist Kent O'Doherty on five tunes, in an atmospheric and wide-ranging program. The pairing of Blake and Ritter began in 1981, when Ritter arrived to study at New England Conservatory, where ...

Album Review

Claire Ritter: Soho Solo

Read "Soho Solo" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Almost any jazz pianist you can think of has taken a shot at the solo recording. Keith Jarrett explores uncharted territory with his wholly improvised approach. Denny Zeitlin and Fred Hersch examine the Standards and some of their own outstanding compositions. Brad Mehldau brings more modern musical mix with his own distinctive tunes stirred up with The Great American Songbook. Jessica Williams delves deeply into Thelonious Monk,  Art Tatum, and the divine poetry of her originals. Now it's ...

Album Review

Claire Ritter: The Streams Of Pearls Project

Read "The Streams Of Pearls Project" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Claire Ritter's tenth album, The Stream Of Pearls Project, is inspired by water. More accurately, it's inspired by waters: rivers, lakes, brooks, ponds, cascades and their attendant beaches and shorelines. Ritter began the work in 2006 and over the next four years her travels took her to many different places across North America. The result is a beautifully crafted album, with an unusual instrumental lineup that Ritter uses with great ingenuity. Taken individually each of the tunes ...

Album Review

Claire Ritter: Waltzing The Splendor

Read "Waltzing The Splendor" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist/composer Claire Ritter's expansive artistic vision comes into sharp focus on her ninth CD release, Waltzing the Splendor.

It's music that won't slip into a neat category, though “classical jazz"--if you must apply a label--might be as good a fit as you'll find for her highly melodic approach. And that sharp focus is laid out on a very wide screen, employing everything from delicate classical beauty to Monkish angles to rollicking stride grooves.Here, as on her ...

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Claire Ritter - The Stream of Pearls Project (2011)

Claire Ritter - The Stream of Pearls Project (2011)

Source: Something Else!

There is a sensuous, lush quietude to this recording, which notes on the front that it was “inspired by water." Ritter's playing—trickling and ruminative one moment, bubbly and adventurous the next—certainly echoes the theme. The Stream of Pearls Project, available for purchase through Ritter's Web site, eventually encompasses trips she took from Boston's Charles River ("The Beauty of the Stillness Overflowed Me Like a Tide,") to the Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, from New Hampshire ("Bolero ...

"Every new idea coming at you quickly, every tight, engaging melody buffed up like a little jewel" - Dan McClenaghan, AllAboutJazz.

"Applying splashes of color, dabs of contrast and subtly adjusting tempo and dynamics to create masterful soundscapes" - Nancy Ann Lee, JazzTimes.

"direct, succinct, & skillful - like the NC born pianist/composer Thelonious Monk's style" - Owen Cordle, writer for JazzTimes/ Raleigh News & Observer

Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Advanced only


Visit www.claireritter.com Click on "teaching"

Clinic/Workshop Information

Claire Ritter Studio Teaching Classical, Jazz, Songwriting, Improvisation All levels, specializing in new music performance



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Eclipse Orange

Zoning Recordings


Soho Solo

Zoning Records


The Streams Of Pearls...

Zoning Records


Waltzing The Splendor

Zoning Records


Greener Than Blue

Zoning Records


Castles in the Air

Zoning Recordings


Eclipse Orange

From: Eclipse Orange
By Claire Ritter


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