AYANNA WOODS is a composer, performer and bandleader from Chicago. Her music explores the spaces between acoustic and electronic, traditional and esoteric, wildly improvisational and mathematically rigorous. A collaborator across genres and forms, her work spans new music, theater, film scoring, arranging, songwriting, and improvisation. She earned her B.A. in music from Yale University.
Woods’ chamber works have been performed by Third Coast Percussion, Wet Ink Ensemble, Fifth House Ensemble, among others. Her work has premiered at Fresh Inc. Festival, Walden CMR, the Loretto Project, and Close to There<>Perto de Lá, a cross-cultural residency in Salvador, Brazil.
She is a frequent collaborator with the Chicago Children’s Choir, of which she’s an alumna. Her arrangements for the choir have been performed all over Chicago, notably at CCC’s Paint the Town Red in Millenium Park (2016), Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day at Guaranteed Rate Field (2016), and Jamila Woods’ Heavn Here at Harold Washington Cultural Center (2018).
In 2018, she originated her role as a vocalist in Place,a new oratorio about gentrification and displacement co-conceived by Pulitzer finalist Ted Hearne, director Patricia McGregor and poet/librettist Saul Williams.
Her music appears in a range of film and theater projects. Two of her songs are featured in the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls. In 2017, she composed the score for No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, a live film created by writers Eve Ewing, Nate Marshall, and Emmy-winning performance collective Manual Cinema. She continues to tour the U.S. and Canada with Manual Cinema as a bassist and music director.
As a gigging musician, she is a sought-after bassist and improvisor in Chicago. As the bassist for TASHA, she toured the west coast and performed at Pitchfork Music Festival in 2019. Woods is currently recording a debut solo album with her own band, Yadda Yadda.
Woods is a recipient of Third Coast Percussion's 2017 Emerging Composers Partnership, a 2017 3Arts Make A Wave grant, and a 2020 DCASE Individual Artist Program grant.