Dr. Kyle Motl Appointed Assistant Professor of Contemporary Instrumental Performance

Kyle Motl plays his bass

Please join the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities School of Music in welcoming the new Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Kyle Motl. Joining the faculty in Fall 2024, Motl will teach as both a bass and improvisational music specialist, leading the bass studio and contributing his wide musical expertise to students across the School of Music. 

“Dr. Motl is exactly the kind of innovative, experimental, and collaborative musician we were seeking to join our outstanding faculty,” said Patrick Warfield, Director of the School Music. “He brings a wealth of experience in notated and improvised performance and will help to expand our musical offerings and connect to the vibrant Twin Cities community.”    

The School of Music extends thanks to all of the candidates and finalists, as well as the search committee for their dedicated work this year to fulfilling this position. 


Kyle Motl is a bassist, composer, and improviser described as “spectacularly adventurous and dynamic,” whose playing is noted for both “iridescent delicacy as well as abrasive force” (The Wire). A frequent soloist, his performances “promise to change us by revealing things we could never have imagined” (Free Jazz Collective).

As a composer and bandleader, Kyle’s ensemble music has been praised for its “speculative, many-layered evolution of imagination,” (Free Jazz Collective) and for “constantly confounding expectation” (Jazz da Gama). Treesearch, with violinist Keir GoGwilt, brings together chamber music, jazz, and improvised excursions in “its own brand of in-the-moment invention, mingling rich tones, rhapsodic gestures, and companionable jousts” (The New Yorker). Kyle makes music in collaborative trios with Anthony Davis and Kjell Nordeson (Vertical Motion, 2023 Astral Spirits), Dan Clucas and Nathan Hubbard (Daydream and Halting, 2022 FMR), and with Rocío Díaz de Cossío and José Fernando Solares. Other recent projects include work with musicians including Earl Howard, Rhonda Taylor, Carlos Dominguez, Niloufar Shiri, and Wilfrido Terrazas.

Kyle works regularly with both emerging and established composers and champions new works for the bass. He has performed with ensembles including International Contemporary Ensemble and Ghost Ensemble. His 2022 solo record, Hydra Nightingale, consists of solo premieres by Caroline Louise Miller, Anqi Liu, Jessie Cox, and Asher Tobin Chodos.

Kyle holds a DMA from UC San Diego, where he studied bass with Mark Dresser and composition with Anthony Davis, an MM from Florida International University, and a BM from Florida Atlantic University. His book, Bells Plucked From Air, sheds light on harmonic techniques for the double bass.

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