Wynton Marsalis has been described as the most outstanding jazz artist and composer of his generation. He has helped propel jazz to the forefront of American culture through his brilliant performances, recordings, broadcasts, and compositions as well as through his leadership as the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC). Wynton Marsalis is the music director of the world-renowned Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, which spends more than half the year on tour. He also hosts the popular Jazz for Young People concerts and helped lead the effort to construct JALC’s new home, Frederick P. Rose Hall, the first education, performance, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz, which opened in October 2004.
Wynton Marsalis was born in New Orleans in 1961. He began his classical training on the trumpet at age twelve and entered the Juilliard School at age seventeen. That same year, he joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, the acclaimed band in which generations of emerging jazz artists honed their craft, and subsequently made his recording debut as a leader in 1982. Since then, he has made more than forty jazz and classical recordings, earning nine Grammy Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win classical and jazz Grammys in the same year and repeated this feat in 1984. His rich body of compositions includes the oratorio Blood On the Fields, for which he was awarded the first-ever Pulitzer Prize in music for a jazz composition.
Wynton Marsalis is an internationally respected teacher and spokesperson for music education and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of universities and colleges throughout the United States. Britain’s senior conservatoire, the Royal Academy of Music, granted Wynton Marsalis honorary membership, the Academy’s highest decoration for a non-British citizen. In France, the Ministry of Culture awarded him the most prestigious decoration of the French Republic, the rank of Knight in the Order of Arts and Literature. He also was appointed as a U.N. Messenger of Peace by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1991.
Jazz A B Z is Wynton Marsalis’s first book for children. A resident of New York City, he is the father of three boys.