Branford Marsalis is a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, a renowned Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, a Tony Award-winning composer and one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. Mr. Marsalis founded his own label, Marsalis Music, in 2002, allowing him to produce his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising artists, both new and established.
Mr. Marsalis has composed original music for Broadway shows, including the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences, for which he received a Tony Nomination and a 2010 Drama Desk Award. In addition, Mr. Marsalis scored the Broadway premiere of The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. Mr. Marsalis leads one of the finest jazz quartets and is a frequent soloist with classical ensembles. Mr. Marsalis also had the opportunity to join the New York Philharmonic as a soloist in their 2010-2011 concert series.
Mr. Marsalis is dedicated to shaping the future of jazz in the classroom, and, accordingly, has shared his knowledge at various universities, such as Michigan State, San Francisco State, Stanford and North Carolina Central University (NCCU). The full quartet participated in an innovative extended residency on the NCCU campus. Mr. Marsalis also created Marsalis Jams, an interactive program in which leading jazz ensembles present concert/jam sessions in mini residencies on high school and college campuses. Marsalis Jams has visited campuses throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest and Southeast and has established an ongoing Marsalis Berklee Jams series with the Berklee College of Music.
After Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Marsalis, a New Orleans native, joined forces with Harry Connick, Jr. to create the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village, a newly constructed community in the city’s historic Upper Ninth Ward that provides new homes for displaced residents, including displaced musicians and their families. The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music stands at the heart of the Village, providing the community with a magnificent facility that includes performance, instructional and practice spaces, as well as a recording studio.