Victor Haskins is a multi-instrumentalist, multidisciplinary artist, international performer, composer, improviser, bandleader, and educator. Haskins creates transformative, sound-based works which channel the power of human connection, immediacy, and inventiveness to engage with time and space. Victor specializes in creating unforgettable memories through the power of performance.
As a performer, Victor has appeared at the Henrico, Richmond, Elkhart, and Apex Jazz Festivals, the Kennedy Center REACH Opening Festival, the Richmond 2nd Street and East End Festivals, the Festival of New Trumpet Music (NYC), and the Christopher Newport University Trumpet Festival. He has performed in venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage (Washington, D.C.), the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts (Richmond, VA), the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art (Richmond, VA), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Ewell Hall (Williamsburg, VA), the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD), the Jazz Gallery (NYC), iBeam (NYC), Résonance Café (Montreal, CA), Diese Onze (Montreal, CA), Snug Harbor (New Orleans, LA), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), and Teatro SESI Rio Vermelho (Salvador, Bahia, BR), amongst others. In addition, some of Victor's activities are supported by grants from CultureWorks RVA, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment of the Arts.
As a recording artist, Haskins has released 3 albums of his original music that defy genre categorization. Victor recorded and released his first album, The Truth, in 2013; this album features a quintet of improvisers exploring a wide range of emotions in a primarily acoustic setting. Haskins released his second album of original compositions, Showing Up, in 2019, featuring SKEIN, Victor’s main working ensemble. This album reflects Victors developments and experiments with a group sound that combines electronic sound design and live audio processing with his classic hallmark of intricate ensemble interplay and cinematic story arcs within compositions. Most recently in 2022, Haskins performed with SKEIN on his 3rd album release: Ikigai. Ikigai is a Japanese concept which loosely translates to “reason for living” in English. The music on this album is directly inspired by the philosophies that guide Victor’s life and personal interactions. CultureWorks Richmond awarded Victor a grant for the 2021-22 season to produce Ikigai. To accomplish this goal, Victor Haskins & SKEIN performed a series of eight free concerts for the Richmond community which Victor recorded and subsequently mixed and pressed into a CD.
As a performance artist, Haskins has been selected to present his sound-based, multidisciplinary works via his ImproviStory™ concept for a variety of occasions and organizations. Victor Haskins created “The Other America…Is Here, Now: A Musical/Multimedia Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” which debuted at the 2023 Winter Blues Jazz Festival in Williamsburg, VA (administered by CultureFix VA). This powerful, innovative presentation incorporates Victor’s ImproviStory performance concept, a live music ensemble performing original music and arrangements, and video footage of King’s “The Other America” speech. Haskins synthesizes these elements to emotionally impact the audience by demonstrating how the America that King addresses in his speech is directly connected to the America of today. The College of William & Mary Library commissioned Haskins to create a new work, “Frame”, to celebrate the new Arts Quarter at the university in 2022. This piece featured the confluence of musical improvisation, conversation with the audience, and new media. The Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Performing & Visual Arts Magnet Program commissioned Victor to create an original, multidisciplinary work for their teacher professional-development seminar in August of 2019. His creation, entitled "The American Way", examines lynching of African-Americans in post-Civil War America in relation to killings of African-Americans at the hands of police in the modern era. CultureWorks Richmond commissioned Victor to create and perform “Be/Flow”, a collaborative performance involving improvised sound, improvised dance, new media, and improvised staging. Victor was selected to present original, multidisciplinary works for 1708 Gallery’s large-scale, light-based art installation (called InLight) for both the 2019 and 2020 events. For InLight 2019, Haskins presented “Chimborazo, in Every Sense of the Name (1865-1866)”, an exploration of the true story of Chimborazo as a refugee camp for newly-freed African-Americans in 1865 in Richmond, VA, and the conditions which precipitated the camp’s demise in 1866. For InLight 2020, Haskins presented a reimagined version of his previous work, “The American Way”. The new performance, “The American Way (Hindsight is 2020)”, reprised the ever-relevant material of the original presentation, and added content addressing the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement.
As an educator, Victor Haskins teaches Trumpet, Improvisation, and the Jazz Ensemble at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He also teaches Improvisation at Eastern Mennonite University. Previously, Victor directed the In-School Jazz Ensembles for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. (2014-2020), and served on the faculty of the inaugural Izmir International Jazz Camp in Izmir, Turkey. Haskins has given educational presentations at institutions such as the Jazz Education Network Conference, the University of Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Royal Academy of Music (England), Conservatoir Nadia et Lili Boulanger (France), the University of Richmond, TEDxVCU, and TEDxLizardCreek. As a curator, Haskins is the Director of the Ewell Concert Series at William & Mary.
Victor holds a Jazz Studies/Performance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed the 4-year music program in only 3 years (the first and only person to ever accomplish this feat). Haskins was a member of the 2013 class of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency at the Kennedy Center.
Victor Haskins is proud to be sponsored by Eclipse Trumpets, and Denis Wick mouthpieces.
To get one of Victor’s albums, see videos, access educational materials, and more, please visit www.victorhaskins.com