ALIYA holds a Master of Music in Composition from Wesleyan University and a Bachelor of Music in Cello and Composition from Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
She is a composer-improviser, cellist-vocalist, and video artist from Brooklyn, NY. Growing up homeless with her mother and sister, Aliya entered music as a means of escape and emergence from severe poverty. At thirteen years old, Aliya wrote and performed music with members of the New York Philharmonic in Alice Tully Hall later to become a From the Top, Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist. As music and the cello continue to serve Aliya as a vehicle for change, her approach to the instrument and composition continues to evolve resulting in works that defy genre.
Most recently Aliya completed a film titled RESIDUUM premiered this year at Roulette Intermedium featuring Dutch cellist Katinka Kleijn playing the cello while wearing several tons of plastic bottles and cans. Another recent work is a performance piece titled DOWN involving the destruction and burial of a 1920’s German cello, calling into question the many connotations the instrument bears such as class, tradition, expectation, and access.
As a classically trained musician turned free improviser, Aliya’s sound is particularly unique as it presents contrasting styles, ideas, and approaches to the instrument resulting in a kind of maximalist minimalism, energy-based music. Her playing reads as both playful and cathartic through her physicality and use of preparations such as fishing line, chains, glass, aluminum, dominoes, plants, and more. In the last two years, Aliya has been a highly active performer playing in all but a few of New York’s historic venues with ensembles such as the International Contemporary Music Ensemble and musicians such as Calvin Weston, Anthony Coleman, David Behrman, Yasunao Tone, Tyshawn Sorey, Douglas Ewart, and Aaron Dilloway among others. Aliya currently performs in Hadestown on broadway and is a core member of Yoshiko Chuma’s School of Hard Knocks. In addition, Aliya leads three of her own projects involving musicians from a wide range of scenes across Brooklyn and Queens. Aliya will be releasing her debut solo album this summer, another record titled Beasts Everywhere with GNR8RZ (Simon Hanes, Anthony Coleman, and Calvin Weston), as well as an EP with her septet called SEVEN.
Aliya teaches private cello lessons.