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Yale University to host trumpeter Wynton Marsalis

February 4, 2009

Chubb Fellow Wynton Marsalis will hold a “musical conversation” on February 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the United Church on the Green, corner of Temple and Elm streets. The event is free and open to the public.

Wynton Marsalis is the most outstanding jazz musician and trumpeter of his generation. He is a big band leader in the tradition of Duke Ellington and also a prolific composer, educator, advocate for the arts, and public leader. Born in New Orleans, at age 14 he made his debut with the New Orleans Philharmonic and was a member of the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet, New Orleans Community Concert Band, New Orleans Youth Orchestra, New Orleans Symphony, and local jazz and funk bands. A year after moving to New York at age 17 to attend Juilliard, Mr. Marsalis joined Art Blakey’s band, the Jazz Messengers.

Marsalis has produced over 60 record albums. With his own band, Marsalis performed over 120 concerts a year. He has played with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sweets Edison, Clark Terry, Sonny Rollins, and other jazz legends, and has garnered recognition for the earlier generation of jazz musicians and prompted the re-issuance of jazz recordings worldwide.

Marsalis has composed for the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. His epic composition for the millennium, All Rise, for big band, gospel choir, and symphony orchestra, was performed by the New York Philharmonic led by Kurt Masur in December 1999.

In 1987 Marsalis co-founded Jazz at Lincoln Center, which has grown from three concerts in its first season to the world’s largest not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to jazz. As artistic director, Marsalis is responsible for 400 events annually in 15 countries, including the Jazz for Young People concert series and a high school competition that involves over 2000 bands. His PBS series on jazz and classical music and his National Public Radio series, Making the Music, earned him the George Foster Peabody Award.

Wynton Marsalis has won nine Grammy awards in jazz and classical music, and has received 29 honorary degrees, including degrees from Brown, Columbia, Bard College, Amherst, NYU, Princeton, and Yale. Time named him one of America’s most promising leaders under age 40 in 1995, and one of America’s 25 most influential people in 1996. Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed him UN Messenger of Peace in 2001. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons in the United States, an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Knight in the French Order of Arts in Literature. He is the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer prize for music.