Riley Mulherkar has been recognized as a “smart young trumpet player” by The New York Times and praised by The Wall Street Journal as a “youngster to keep an eye on.” As a bandleader, Riley is a founding member of The Westerlies, a new music brass quartet that has premiered over 50 new works since its inception in 2011, creating the rarest of hybrids: music that is both “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). As a musical director, Riley has worked with a number of leading artists of our time, including NEA Jazz Masters Wynton Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Riley also serves as Artistic Director for Jazz at The Joye in Aiken Festival, bringing leading young musicians, actors and dancers to the historic city of Aiken, South Carolina.
Born and raised in Seattle, Riley moved to New York in 2010 to study at The Juilliard School, where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in 2014 and his Master’s in 2015, receiving the Knowles Prize for Jazz and the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music. He is also an inaugural recipient of Juilliard’s Marks Fellowship. In 2011, Riley was named a “rising jazz artist” by Wynton Marsalis in JET magazine, and in 2014 was the first recipient of the Laurie Frink Career Grant at the Festival of New Trumpet Music.
Riley is actively engaged in educational outreach, founding the music program at stART Osceola, a summer arts intensive in Florida, where he taught for five years. He has facilitated master classes in Brazil, Mexico, and across the United States.