The Kennedy Center

Avi Wisnia



Biography

Singer/Songwriter Avi Wisnia presents an eclectic mix of refreshingly original songs, finding inspiration in classic Brazilian bossa nova, acoustic American folk, 1950’s west-coast jazz, and contemporary pop. A wordsmith as well as a composer and performer, Avi's clever lyrics give a knowing nod to those that came before, while his smooth vocals and deft piano skills assure you that this is truly something new.

Fans say it is Avi Wisnia’s live performance that really captures his musical virtuosity, his humor and his energy. Avi showcases his own music with unexpected arrangements, and he experiments with contemporary pop tunes from artists like Lauryn Hill, Bjork, Wilco and The Cure, stripping them down, taking them apart and reviving them with a new bossa spirit. Performing in both English and Portuguese, Avi and his talented ensemble also reinterpret the Bossa Nova classics that emerged from Brazil in the late 50's and 60's, revisiting legendary Brazilian musicians such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, Chico Buarque and Paulinho da Viola.

In the summer of 2007, after earning an enthusiastic following, Avi gathered a few of his band members in the sanctuary of the New Jersey synagogue where his father serves as rabbi to record his debut EP, “Avi Wisnia Presents.” In two days, seven tracks were recorded. The CD was released in the fall with sold-out shows at The Bitter End in NYC, where Avi lives, and at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia, where he is from.  His debut full-length studio album, "Something New," represents a more mature and professional artist.  Produced by Grammy-winner Glenn Barratt (Melody Gardot, Amos Lee), the album features his signature songwriting supported by lush arrangements in a variety of styles.  The album also features local Phildelphia musicians including some supporting vocals from Lizanne Knott.

Avi Wisnia divides his time between New York City and Philadelphia. He and his talented ensemble continue to play shows across the country, performing at such prestigious venues as The Kennedy Center and World Café Live, and in renown music festivals including SxSW and CMJ. Avi is a 2009 OutMusic Award Winner for Oustanding Jazz Song of the Year for his inventive cover of TLC's "No Scrubs".  Avi has also won CMJ's Zig Zag Live Competition, was named a finalist in Rolling Rock’s National Band Search, and received several additional songwriting honors for his song "Rabbit Hole." His music plays on radio stations across the country, with 88.5 WXPN's Helen Leicht featuring him as her Philly Local Pick in April and June.  His songs have been used in movies such as "All Dressed Up" in addition to ABC, NBC and MNN TV Shows.  Avi Wisnia and his band have also shared the stage with such diverse artists as hip-hop legends The Roots, indie-rock darlings Au Revoir Simone and entertainer Tony Orlando.

Throughout, giving back to his community has always remained a priority. In 2008, Avi created The No Brainer Benefit Concert with his family, which continues to raise funds and awareness for The National Brain Tumor Society. He has organized and hosted events like the annual Make Music New York Festival, The Bent Compass Party (for LGBT artists) and The House of Tribes Fundraiser (for Habitat for Humanity). Avi works with students, from high-schools to pre-schools, encouraging a new enthusiasm for music through discussions, workshops and interactive performances.  Avi is also the creator and ensemble director for The New York Megaphonica.
Avi Wisnia