Aurora Nealand

Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant Recipient

Aurora Nealand

Recipient Information


New Orleans, Louisiana

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant

Grant Amount


About the Project

Saxophonist/accordionist/vocalist Nealand and core ensemble to include drummer Mikel Patrick Avery, and other sonic collaborators, will build a "practice co-op" for New Orleans creative composers to work in tandem with environmental, racial and social justice advocates. 

Residency Location

New Orleans, LA

About the Artist

Aurora Nealand is a sound artist and multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, accordion, voice) based in New Orleans, LA. Nealand has become a prominent force in the New Orleans music scene. She is the founder and leader of the non-traditional Traditional Jazz band, The Royal Roses, which draws its approach to collective improvisation from both the New Orleans Jazz traditions, as well as the AACM, and collage-sound art.

Nealand is deeply interested in the embodiment and sonification of everyday objects and knowledge-generation. Her ""formal"" education includes studies in musique concrète at Oberlin Conservatory, and experimental physical theatre studies at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris. Her ""informal"" education for the past 15 years includes playing music in the streets and clubs of New Orleans, touring in crammed vans to squat houses and  bike co-ops around the world, and working with dancers/theater artists in improvisational and composed contexts. She has studied and worked with Pauline Oliveros, Randy Coleman, Jonathan Hart Makwaia, James Singleton, Liz Lerman, Tim Berne, Bill Frisell, Arto Lindsey, Germaine Bazzle, and many more.

Nealand regularly works as a musical facilitator with Found Sound Nation (under Bang on a Can) -an organization, which facilitates international musical collaboration and sonic diplomacy, and teaches annually at the Walden School for Young Composers. Nealand was voted  ""Best Female Performer” (2016 Gambit awards), and  ""Best Traditional Jazz Band (The Royal Roses)"" in the 2015 and 2017 Big Easy Awards, and named one of Downbeat Magazine's ""Rising Stars"" on both soprano saxophone and clarinet in 2017, 18, 20.  She is the co-founder of SONO (Sound Observatory New Orleans), which facilitates workshops of new music in the New Orleans region. She has been awarded residencies at the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, the MacDowell Colony, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.  In spring 2018, she was a co-curator of and performer in Southern Sonic at the CAC. In 2019 she headlined the Big Ears Festival in a quartet with Bill Frisell, Tim Berne and David Torn. Nealand's was slated to return to Big Ears with The Royal Roses in 2020 and thus rescheduled for 2021. ""KindHumanKind"" her multi-media performance piece was commissioned by The Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in 2019 to a sold out run. The piece was commissioned to remount at the CAC and The Kennedy Center in 2020, but both engagements were cancelled due to COVID.