Yale University to Host Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis will hold a “musical Q&A” on February 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the United Church on the Green, corner of Temple and Elm streets.

This event is free and open to the public. Marsalis is visiting Yale University as a Chubb Fellow.

Widely considered to be the most outstanding jazz musician and trumpeter of his generation, Marsalis is a big band leader in the tradition of Duke Ellington as well as a prolific composer, educator and advocate for the arts. His ensemble, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, played at the White House for a private party in honor of newly inaugurated President Barack Obama on January 20. The day before, he performed in the Kennedy Center with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, on the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Born in New Orleans into a musical family, Marsalis made his debut at age 14 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, Marsalis joined Art Blakey’s band, the Jazz Messengers.

Marsalis has produced over 60 record albums. With his own band, he has performed 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 an earlier generation of jazz musicians, prompting the re-issuance of out-of-print 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. His oratorio, “Blood on the Fields,” draws upon the blues, work songs, call and response chants, spirituals, New Orleans jazz, orchestral arrangements, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and Greek chorus-style recitations. This work won the Pulitzer Prize for music.

In 1987 Marsalis co-founded Jazz at Lincoln Center, which has grown from hosting three concerts in its first season to becoming 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.

Marsalis has won nine Grammy awards in jazz and classical music and has received 29 honorary doctorates, including degrees from Brown, Columbia, Bard College, Amherst, New York University, Princeton and Yale. Time magazine 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 U.N. Messenger of Peace in 2001. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts — the highest award given to artists in the United States — an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music and a Knight in the French Order of Arts in Literature.

The Chubb Fellowship was designed to encourage Yale College students in the operations of government, culture and public service. Established in 1936 through the generosity of Hendon Chubb (Yale 1895), the program brings distinguished women and men to campus every year to give public lectures and interact informally with students. Former Chubb Fellows include Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Raul Alfonsín of Argentina; authors Toni Morrison and Carlos Fuentes; choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov; journalist Walter Cronkite; and feminist Gloria Steinem.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325