A native of New York City, Akua Dixon, cellist-composer, has performed with Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Woody Shaw, B.B. King, Archie Shepp, James Brown, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, J.J. Johnson, Steve Turre, Chucho Valdez, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Don Cherry, James Blood Ulmer, Henry Threadgill, Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige and many others. She is the leader of Quartette Indigo and was the founding cellist in the Uptown String Quartet. Akua supplied the string arrangements for the five-Grammy award winning CD, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and Aretha Franklin’s Grammy-nominated “A Rose Is Still A Rose”. She has conducted for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Akua has received several awards from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation (The Opera of Marie Laveau). She has lectured at the Smithsonian and is the 1998 recipient of the African American Classical Music Award.
In 1973 Akua made her prodigious debut appearance at New York’s landmark Village Gate. Since then she has performed at Jazz Festivals in New York, Berlin, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, North Sea, Monmarte, Pori, Vienne, Hong Kong and Cuba, to name a few. Akua performed at the Fourth Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. The Washington Post commented that she “can swing with a gritty passion”. Her first CD, “Quartette Indigo”, received four stars in Downbeat. Bob Blumenthal of the Boston Globe referred to them as “jazz’s leading string quartet”. In 2002 Akua composed a program of duos for tenor saxophone and baritone violin for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Duets on the Hudson” series. This concert featured Akua with Chris Potter on tenor. She is “one of the treasures of contemporary jazz”. Dedicated to educating young string players she has been on the roster of Carnegie Hall’s Educational series for the past eight years. This spring she launched her “Swing Quartet” on a 3-week Educational concert tour for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Akua mentors children from many schools in the New York, New Jersey area.