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 generating unforgettable memories through the power of performance.
As a soloist and bandleader, 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), the Winter Blues Jazz Fest (Williamsburg, VA), 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 Richmond CultureWorks, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment of the Arts.
Victor’s two main projects as an artist are Victor Haskins & SKEIN, and ImproviStory™.
Victor Haskins & SKEIN performs music that inspires the human spirit. As the band’s name suggests, the members of Victor Haskins & SKEIN weave together improvisational threads of emotional melodies and infectious rhythms. The result: dynamic tapestries of uplifting spiritual stories rendered in sound, song, and groove. Scintillating, synthesized tones meld with rumbling drums and sizzling cymbals as dark, smoky cornet notes dance in the air atop a deep, lithe bass. Victor Haskins & SKEIN’s ethereal and electrifying performance of all-original music takes the audience to another dimension; the journey is as beautiful as the destination.
ImproviStory™ is a one-man-band where multi-instrumentalist/sound artist Victor Haskins creates improvised, story-like soundscapes. The soundscapes provide a cinematic soundtrack to our imaginations. Audience members are immersed in each ImproviStory and have their own personal, internal experience with what kind of story is suggested to them based on their perception. Imagine a live band crossed with a DJ crossed with sounds from a mystical realm...all generated and performed by one person in real time without any pre-recorded elements. This is a powerful, one-of-a-kind experience for the emotions and imagination.
As a recording artist, Haskins has released three albums of his original music: The Truth (2013), Showing Up (2019), and Ikigai (2022). The Truth features a quintet of improvisers exploring a wide range of emotions and sonic colors in a primarily acoustic setting. Showing Up (which features Victor Haskins & SKEIN) reflects Victor’s 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, Victor Haskins & SKEIN released Ikigai. “Ikigai” is a Japanese term/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. Richmond CultureWorks awarded Victor a grant for the 2021-22 season to produce Ikigai. To accomplish this goal, Victor Haskins & SKEIN performed and recorded a series of eight community concerts in Richmond, Virginia. Victor then picked the best recordings from those concerts and turned those collective recordings into Ikigai. Also of note is that Victor engineered all the live recording sessions, and is responsible for mixing all the final tracks appearing on the album. All three of these albums are available at victorhaskins.com/music
As a multimedia artist, Haskins has presented his sound-based, multidisciplinary works via his ImproviStory concept for a variety of occasions and organizations. Most recently, for the 2023-2024 season, Richmond CultureWorks awarded Victor a grant to develop a digital, interactive visual element with ImproviStory, tying together programming, visual art, and sound art. Some of the results of his explorations in this avenue will be shared with the Richmond Public Library, the Rho Iota Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Alpha Pioneers Academy, Art for the Journey, and Oakwood Arts to bring some special experiences to the Richmond community. In February of 2023, Haskins was in residence at Sweet Briar College where he performed a concert with ImproviStory and conducted classes with their music ensemble, Daisy's Harp, and the improvisation dance class. 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. In 2020, Richmond CultureWorks 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.
Victor Haskins is currently touring a production he created called “The Other America…Is Here, Now”: A Multimedia/Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This event is an artistic exploration of Dr. King's less-talked-about speech, “The Other America”, primarily using live musical performance and video. Parallels will be drawn between this speech (given more than 50 years ago) and issues of the current day to show how King's America and the America of today share much in common. Artist Victor Haskins leads his world-class ensemble in transporting the audience on a journey to take a closer look at our present times through the lens of the past.
As an educator, Victor Haskins independently produces educational materials, teaches private lessons, and conducts masterclasses and workshops. He also teaches trumpet, improvisation, and the Jazz Ensemble at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. 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, Sweet Briar College, TEDxVCU, and TEDxLizardCreek, amongst others.
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 endorses Eclipse Instruments (the creator of Victor’s signature custom black cornet), and Denis Wick Products (mouthpieces and mutes).
To purchase Victor’s albums, experience him performing live, see videos, access educational materials, and more, please visit www.victorhaskins.com