Nicole Mitchell is a flutist, bandleader, composer, and educator. Mitchell is the founder of the critically acclaimed Black Earth Ensemble and Black Earth Strings, and has been named Jazz Flutist of the Year (2010) by the Jazz Journalist Association, Top Flutist (2010) by Downbeat Magazine, and Chicagoan of the Year (2006) by the Chicago Tribune. Mitchell is the first woman president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and her work has been a highlight of festivals throughout Europe, the US, and Canada. As a composer, she has won fellowships from Chamber Music America and the Illinois Arts Council and has been commissioned by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Ravinia, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Jazz Institute of Chicago. She has performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Orbert Davis's Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Anthony Braxton's 12+1-tet, Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra, and David Boykin Expanse. Mitchell was the Artist in Residence at the 2010 Chicago Jazz Festival. Her composition, Flight for Freedom for Creative Flute and Orchestra, a Tribute to Harriet Tubman, premiered with the Chicago Composers' Orchestra in December 2011 and will be presented again in May 2014. Mitchell is a Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine.