music director, trumpet
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Wynton Marsalis serves as Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961 to a musical family, Marsalis was gifted his first trumpet at age 6 by Al Hirt. By 8, he began playing in the famed Fairview Baptist Church Band led by Danny Barker, and began his formal training on trumpet at 12. Subsequently, he began performing in bands all over the city, from the New Orleans Philharmonic and New Orleans Youth Orchestra to a funk band called the Creators.
His passion for music rapidly escalated. Fresh out of high school, Marsalis moved to New York City in 1979 to attend The Juilliard School to study classical music. Once there, however, he found that jazz was calling him. His career launched when he traded Juilliard for Art Blakey’s band, The Jazz Messengers. By 19, Marsalis hit the road with his own band and has been touring the world ever since. From 1981 to date, he has performed 4,777 concerts in 849 distinct cities and 64 countries around the world.
Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982 and has since recorded more than 100 jazz and classical albums, four alternative records, and released five DVDs. In total, he has recorded 1,539 songs at the time of this writing. Marsalis is the winner of nine Grammy Awards, and his oratorio Blood on the Fields was the first jazz composition to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He’s the only musician to win a Grammy Award in two categories, jazz and classical, during the same year (1983, 1984).