Wynton Marsalis (Music Director, Trumpet) is the Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Mr. Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12 and soon began playing in local bands of diverse genres. He entered The Juilliard School at age 17 and joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Mr. Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and has since recorded more than 70 jazz and classical albums which have garnered him nine GRAMMY® Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMY® Awards in the same year; he repeated this feat in 1984. Mr. Marsalis' rich body of compositions includes Sweet Release; Jazz: Six Syncopated Movements; Jump Start and Jazz; Citi Movement/Griot New York; At the Octoroon Balls; In This House, On This Morning; and Big Train. In 1997, Mr. Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields, which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 1999, he released eight new recordings in his unprecedented Swinging into the 21st series, and premiered several new compositions, including the ballet Them Twos, for a 1999 collaboration with the New York City Ballet. That same year, he premiered the monumental work All Rise, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Morgan State University Choir. Sony Classical released All Rise on CD in 2002. Recorded on September 14 and 15, 2001 in Los Angeles in the tense days following 9/11, All Rise features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra along with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Morgan State University Choir, the Paul Smith Singers and the Northridge Singers. In 2004, he released The Magic Hour, his first of six albums on Blue Note records. He followed up his Blue Note debut with Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, the companion soundtrack recording to Ken Burns' PBS documentary of the great African‐American boxer; Wynton Marsalis: Live at The House Of Tribes (2005); From the Plantation to the Penitentiary (2007); Two Men with the Blues, featuring Willie Nelson (2008); He and She (2009); Here We Go Again featuring Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones (2011); and Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues (2011). To mark the 200th Anniversary of Harlem’s historical Abyssinian Baptist Church in 2008, Mr. Marsalis composed a full mass for choir and jazz orchestra. The piece premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center and followed with performances at the celebrated church. Mr. Marsalis composed his second symphony, Blues Symphony, which was premiered in 2009 by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and in 2010 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That same year, Marsalis premiered his third symphony, Swing Symphony, a Co‐Commission by the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and The Barbican Centre. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performed the piece with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Berlin and with the New York Philharmonic in New York City in 2010 and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Los Angeles in 2011. Mr. Marsalis is also an internationally respected teacher and spokesman for music education, and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of universities and colleges throughout the U.S. He conducts educational programs for students of all ages and hosts the popular Jazz for Young People™ concerts produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Mr. Marsalis has also written and is the host of the video series “Marsalis on Music” and the radio series Making the Music. He has also written six books: Sweet Swing Blues on the Road, in collaboration with photographer Frank Stewart; Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life, with Carl Vigeland; To a Young Musician: Letters from the Road, with Selwyn Seyfu Hinds; Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!, illustrated by Paul Rogers, published in 2012; and Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life, with Geoffrey C. Ward, published by Random House in 2008. In October 2005, Candlewick Press released Marsalis' Jazz ABZ: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits, 26 poems celebrating jazz greats, illustrated by poster artist Paul Rogers. In 2001, Mr. Marsalis was appointed Messenger of Peace by Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary‐General of the United Nations; he has also been designated cultural ambassador to the United States of America by the U.S. State Department through their CultureConnect program. In 2009, Mr. Marsalis was awarded France’s Legion of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by the French government. Mr. Marsalis serves on former Lieutenant Governor Landrieu's National Advisory Board for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, a national advisory board to guide the Lieutenant Governor's administration’s plans to rebuild Louisiana’s tourism and cultural economies. He has also been named to the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin's initiative to help rebuild New Orleans culturally, socially, economically, and uniquely for every citizen. Mr. Marsalis was instrumental in the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief concert, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, which raised over $3 million for the Higher Ground Relief Fund to benefit the musicians, music industry related enterprises, and other individuals and entities from the areas in Greater New Orleans who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. He led the effort to construct Jazz at Lincoln Center's new home–Frederick P. Rose Hall–the first education, performance, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz, which opened in October 2004.