Childs’ 2020 release Rebirth won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Previously, he won for Best Arrangement, Instrumental & Vocal (featuring Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma) in 2015 for “New York Tendaberry”, from his highly successful release Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. Other Grammy wins include Best Instrumental Composition for “The Path Among the Trees” (2011) and “Into The Light” (2005), from his much-heralded jazz/chamber releases, Autumn: In Moving Pictures and Lyric. DownBeat Magazine states, “…Childs’ jazz/chamber group has taken the jazz-meets-classical format to a new summit.”
Childs’ canon of original compositions and arrangements has garnered him the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2015 award for composition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Chamber Music America grants for both jazz and classical works.
Born in Los Angeles in 1957, Childs was already proficient at the piano by age. He was accepted to USC’s Community School For The Performing Arts at age 16, studying music theory and piano with some of the world’s most renowned musical scholars. He graduated from USC in 1979 with a degree in composition. Among Childs’ early influences were Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, Chick Corea and others, and credits classical composers such as Paul Hindemith, Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky for also influencing his love of composition. Childs’ performing career was also enriched with early-career apprenticeships with legendary jazz trombonist JJ Johnson and trumpet great Freddie Hubbard.
Childs’ has worked with many acclaimed artists including Yo Yo Ma, The Kronos Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, Sting, Chris Botti and Leonard Slatkin, among others. His latest album, The Winds of Change was released in March 2023 and was called “essential” by Paris-Move and “a rare treat” by Jazzwise.