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Wynton Marsalis is a world-renowned trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and a leading advocate of American culture. He presently serves as Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Director of Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School, and President of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation.

Marsalis has been called the “Pied Piper” of jazz and the “Doctor of Swing.” Since his recording debut in 1982, he has released 127 jazz, classical and alternative recordings and won many awards, from a home cooked meal to honors that require a tuxedo. He regularly performs in the most prestigious concert halls and is known to play until all hours of the morning in the most inconspicuous local clubs. From the very beginning of his career, education has been vital to his mission. He has taught and mentored a voluminous number of musicians who have gone on to play, teach and advocate in their own brilliant ways. Through these relationships Marsalis has ensured that the legacy of jazz music will continue to propagate for generations to come.

Over the past four decades, Marsalis has rekindled and animated widespread international interest in jazz through performances, educational activities, books, curricula, and relentless advocacy on public platforms. Today, Marsalis continues the renaissance that he sparked in the early 1980s, attracting new generations of young talent to jazz and illuminating the mythic meanings of jazz fundamentals.

Marsalis performs and composes across the entire spectrum of jazz and has written jazz-influenced chamber music and symphonic works for revered classical ensembles across the US and abroad. He is inspired to experiment in an ever-widening palette of forms and concepts that constitute some of the most advanced thinking in modern jazz and in American music on the broad scale.

Wynton Marsalis’ core beliefs are based on jazz fundamentals: freedom and individual creativity (improvisation), collective action and good manners (swing), as well as acceptance, gratitude and resilience (the blues). Marsalis believes that music has the power to elevate our quality of life and lead us to both higher and lower levels of consciousness. He maintains that music can elevate the quality of human engagement for individuals, social networks and cultural institutions throughout the world.

A Musical Upbringing

Wynton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 18, 1961, to jazz pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis Jr. and Dolores Marsalis. He is the second of six sons, preceded by Branford Marsalis and followed by siblings Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya and Jason.

From an early age, Wynton’s father Ellis encouraged him to channel himself into music. In years to come, he would develop an avid desire to participate in the cultural community that surrounded him. He was curious about his father and his musician friends that would always come by the family home for a visit, or to shed tunes. Hearing how passionately Ellis and his musician friends talked about the Civil Rights Act, and key political figures of the time such as Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Lyndon B. Johnson led Wynton to first start to understand the intrinsic link between music and the human experience that it represents.

When he was six, his father’s friend Al Hirt gifted Marsalis his first trumpet. By eight years old, he had begun his musical journey with the historic Fairview Baptist Church Band, founded by Reverend Andrew Darby in 1970. There, he was launched into the world of New Orleans jazz and brass band traditions. The band was directed by the legendary banjoist Danny Barker and his appointed bandleader Leroy Jones. Leroy was just 12 years old at the time.

However, it wasn’t until Wynton turned 12 himself that he started to become serious about his musicianship. It was around this age that he had a chance encounter with a young music student while riding the streetcar Uptown one day. The student had caught Wynton staring at his Maurice André record — a classical album — and generously gave it to him to take home. Hearing André‘s rendition of Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major opened a new chapter in Marsalis’ musical studies. He decided he also wanted to pursue the world of classical music.

Wynton’s father Ellis became the director of the jazz program at a newly formed performing arts school called the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts when Wynton was a young teen. Soon, the Marsalis brothers started attending lessons at the school. Wynton continued his studies there as he entered Benjamin D. Franklin High School. Renowned jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard and actor Wendell Pierce were among the talented and driven students who attended NOCCA with Wynton.

When he turned 14, Marsalis performed with the New Orleans Philharmonic. From there he quickly gained momentum on the local music scene. On any given evening, he could be found playing with the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet, the New Orleans Community Concert Band, the New Orleans Youth Orchestra, the New Orleans Symphony, local jazz and traditional brass bands, or with his popular local funk band, The Creators. At 17, Marsalis became the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center. Despite his youth, he was awarded the program’s prestigious Harry Shapiro Award for outstanding brass student.

Early Years in New York

After receiving his diploma from Benjamin D. Franklin High School in New Orleans, Marsalis left home to continue studying classical music at The Juilliard School in New York City. He enrolled in the fall of 1979.

While a student at Juilliard, Marsalis quickly began to take note of the flourishing jazz scene that was transpiring in New York. He soon started playing jazz gigs around the city; it didn’t take long for the grapevine to begin to buzz as people wondered who this young cat from New Orleans was.

Columbia Records signed Marsalis to his first recording contract in 1980— just a year after he had left home.

Almost simultaneously, Wynton and his brother Branford seized the opportunity to join Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers to tour worldwide under master drummer and bandleader, “Bo” himself. Wynton decided to put his studies at The Juilliard School on hold.

As a bandleader, Blakey didn’t mince his words—never afraid to lend his sharp, though constructive, criticism to the band. Marsalis acquired his unique concept for bandleading from Blakey; his mentor also taught him the importance of exuding soulfulness in each and every performance.

Come 1981, Marsalis assembled his own quintet and hit the road. Since that year, he has performed 5,026 concerts in 858 distinct cities and 65 around the world. [From the time of this writing—May 05, 2023]

Marsalis’ list of influences would expand in the years to follow as he performed with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, his beloved mentor Harry “Sweets” Edison, Clark Terry, John Lewis, Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and countless other jazz legends. Playing with these heavy hitters impacted him greatly, and would inspire Marsalis to pave his own unique legacy in jazz music.

Marsalis as a Recording Artist

Marsalis released his first, self-titled record in 1982. That same year, he also released his first classical album titled Haydn, Hummel, L. Mozart: Trumpet Concertos. His subsequent records Think of One (1983), Hot House Flowers (1984), and Black Codes (1985) all garnered high volumes of critical and popular acclaim. In an August 1984 review of Hot House Flowers, The Los Angeles Times wrote:

“With the exception of the title tune, an attractive Marsalis original, all the compositions in this unique collection are old pop songs (‘Star Dust,’ 1927; ‘I’m Confessin’,’ 1930; ‘When You Wish Upon a Star,’ 1940; ‘Lazy Afternoon,’ 1954) or early jazz works: Duke Ellington’s little-known 1953 ‘Melancholia’ and John Lewis’ 1954 ‘Django.’

On paper, this looks like a pretentious production, with Marsalis’ regular sideman augmented by 20 strings, woodwinds, and Robert Freedman as arranger/conductor. Your reflexes tell you: Our new trumpet idol has sold out. Then you play the album and realize that instead of abandoning his principles, Marsalis, with considerable help from Freeman, has shown yet another aspect of his seemingly boundless artistry.”

Of course, with acclaim also came some criticism. Yet Marsalis’ work continued to surprise and captivate audiences throughout the decade and into the 1990s. His most well-known albums from this period of his career are Standard Time Vol. 3 — The Resolution of Romance (1990), Blood On The Fields (1997), A Fiddler’s Tale (1999) and Live at the Village Vanguard (1999).

In the early 2000s, Marsalis went on to record a number of records with the Wynton Marsalis Quartet, Quintet, Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. His stand-outs that have persisted in the minds of audiences over the years include The Marciac Suite (2000), All Rise (2002), Here…Now (2007), and He And She (2009).

On June 30, 2015, The New York Times announced the launch of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Blue Engine Records label. Under Blue Engine, Marsalis has recorded 23 albums and nine singles. Most recently, he has released the recordings of his compositions Blues Symphony (2021), The Democracy! Suite (2020) and The Ever Fonky Lowdown (2020) with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet.

Of The Democracy! Suite, The San Francisco Chronicle stated that “a foundational dialectic between tradition and innovation allows for radical evolution and the integration of far-flung influences. The Democracy! Suite isn’t about starting a new story. It’s music that makes sense of the current moment by paying close attention to past crossroads” (Gilbert, Andrew 2021). The album utilizes jazz as a metaphor for American democracy, celebrating the power of community and cooperation as means for creating an equitable environment for all. It was born out of the intense struggle during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when the social, economic, cultural and political fabric of America was truly tested. Though it grapples with the brutal, violent aspects of this global crisis, The Democracy! Suite ultimately leaves audiences with a message of optimism.

The Ever Fonky Lowdown shows the underbelly of the American ideal. A jazz parable, the work features an omniscient narrator named Mr. Game (Wendell Pierce): a mover, shaker, hustler and politico. Mr. Game enlightens the audience to the clear bond between America’s thirst for capitalistic gain—which runs in tandem with the chase for freedom and liberty. Here in America, one cannot exist without the other.

In total, Marsalis has released 127 recordings, including 113 jazz and classical albums, nine jazz singles, five alternative records. He has also released five DVDs. From the time of this writing, he has recorded a grand total of 1,539 songs. He has sold over seven million copies of his music worldwide and garnered three Gold Records.

His recordings consistently incorporate a heavy emphasis on the blues, and an inclusive approach to all forms of jazz—from New Orleans traditional jazz to modern styles and bebop.

(*) At the end of this page, you can find a comprehensive list of Wynton’s recordings.

Classical Career

Since his boyhood encounter with the young man on the New Orleans streetcar, Marsalis has maintained his love of classical music. His deep interest in the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and others has driven him to pursue classical music as well as jazz throughout his career.

Marsalis recorded Haydn, Hummel, L. Mozart: Trumpet Concertos at age 20. It was his debut recording in the genre, receiving outstanding reviews and winning the Grammy Award® for “Best Classical Soloist with an Orchestra” in 1983. In September of that year, The Washington Post wrote:

“But at 22, Marsalis is accomplished in two extremely difficult disciplines that are the antithesis of each other. The strict interpretation of classical music is 180 degrees away from the vivid improvisation of jazz, yet Marsalis has both under such control that even the praise of his peers shares an odd harmony (Maurice Andre insists he could become the greatest interpreter ever of trumpet concerti, and Leonard Feather calls him ‘the symbol for the new decade’).” — Richard Harrington, “Marsalis, Jazzy AND Classical,” The Washington Post, September 4, 1983

Marsalis also won the 1983 Grammy for “Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist” for his album Think of One. With this, Marsalis became the first artist to win both jazz and classical Grammy Awards in the same year. He repeated the distinction again in 1984 with his release of Wynton Marsalis Plays Handel, Purcell, Torelli, Fasch, and Molter alongside Hot House Flowers.

Another early emphasis in Wynton’s classical career was his collaboration with soprano Kathleen Battle on their 1992 recording Baroque Duet. The composition focuses on the transformation of the trumpet from an ‘outdoor’ military instrument to an ‘indoor’ one that could be accompanied by vocals for religious and regal music. As such, the recording recreated the performances of the seventeenth and eighteenth century’s most celebrated trumpeters and singers. Marsalis and Battle recorded the record with the esteemed Orchestra of St. Luke’s

To date, Marsalis has recorded 20 classical records, all to critical acclaim. Marsalis has performed with the world’s leading orchestras including: The New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and London’s Royal Philharmonic. The head count of conductors he has collaborated with is equally as eminent. Among them are Raymond Leppard, Charles Édouard Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Cristian Măcelaru.

Marsalis as a Composer

Marsalis’ original compositions stand on their own as groundbreaking feats in the world of music. His contributions to the classical and jazz canons are significant, and many of which are genre-bending. Marsalis has composed 607 original songs and movements across genres. His original work includes (but is not limited to) eight ballet and modern dance scores, two chamber pieces, two string quartets, a bassoon quartet, a fanfare, a mass, four symphonies, 13 original suites, a jazz oratorio, and concertos for violin, tuba, and most recently, trumpet.

Marsalis’ work in composition writing began to take a heavy focus after his streak of Grammy wins from 1983 to 1987. His inventive interplay with melody, harmony and rhythm, along with his lyrical voicing and tonal coloring assert new possibilities for the jazz ensemble. As a classical composer, Marsalis’ pieces emphasize innovation, introducing new rhythms and orchestral concepts to the canon— many influenced by jazz and world ethnic traditions.

Prominent choreographers have embraced his inventiveness as they commissioned works to fuel their imagination for movement. The first was Garth Fagan, with Marsalis’ composition Citi Movement recorded in July of 1992.

Marsalis would then go on to compose numerous innovative scores in partnership with Lincoln Center’s constituent organizations for the remainder of the 1990s (more info on these collaborations can be found in the “Jazz at Lincoln Center” section of this page).

Alongside his pioneering work that has pushed the public’s perception of genre, Marsalis has also maintained a keen focus on reminding listeners of the great work of past eras. He has reconnected audiences with the beauty of the American popular song through his collections of standard recordings (Standard Time Volumes I-VI) as well as The Majesty Of The Blues, a mix of innovative sextet compositions and songs celebrating the magic of traditional New Orleans jazz. On many of his other blues recordings, Marsalis extended the jazz musician’s interplay with the blues — Uptown Ruler, Levee Low Moan, and Thick In The South are great examples.

In his jazz oratorio Blood on the Fields, Marsalis continued to reconceptualize the structure of extended form pieces that he had initiated with Citi Movement and In This House, On This Morning. Blood on the Fields draws upon the blues, work songs, chants, spirituals, New Orleans jazz, Ellington-esque orchestral arrangements and Afro-Caribbean rhythms—using Greek chorus-style recitations to progress the narrative of its two key characters, Jesse and Leona. The work tells the story of these two opposing characters’ long and tenuous journey in America: from their kidnapping in Africa, to their passage through the Transatlantic, their enslavement in the United States, and on to their fight for freedom. It was first performed in April of 1994 at Alice Tully Hall in New York City, with its second performance broadcasted across the country by National Public Radio (NPR). New York Times Magazine claimed Blood on the Fields “marked a symbolic moment when the full heritage of the line, Ellington through Mingus, was extended into the present.” In 1997, Blood on the Fields became the first jazz composition ever to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Marsalis extended his achievements in Blood On The Fields with All Rise, an epic twelve-part composition for big band, gospel choir, and symphony orchestra. The work examines the global commonalities in music across culture, time and circumstance: from New Orleans brass bands to clave and samba, to church music and Chinese parade bands, the Italian aria, and more. Movements I to IV concentrate on the themes of birth and self-discovery; the second four movements grapple with mistakes, pain, sacrifice and redemption. The last four movements are concerned with maturity and joy. In sum, the piece demonstrates the many facets of human experience. All Rise was performed by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Kurt Masur, along with the Morgan State University Choir and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (December 1999).

Several years later, Marsalis collaborated with Ghanaian master drummer Yacub Addy to create Congo Square, a groundbreaking composition combining harmonies from America’s jazz tradition with fundamental rituals in African percussion and vocals (2006).

For the anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church’s 200th year of service, Marsalis blended Baptist church choir cadences with blues accents and big band swing rhythms to compose The Abyssinian Mass. The work was performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Abyssinian’s 100 voice choir with special guests Damien Sneed and Chorale Le Chateau before packed houses in New York City (May 2008).

In the fall of 2009, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra premiered Marsalis’ composition Blues Symphony. Here he infused blues and ragtime rhythms with symphonic orchestrations to create a fresh representation of classical repertoire. Marsalis further expanded his catalog for symphony orchestra with his piece Swing Symphony, employing complex layers of collective improvisation. The work was premiered by the renowned Berliner Philharmonie and performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in June 2010.

Marsalis made a significant addition to his oeuvre with Concerto in D, his violin concerto composed for virtuoso Nicola Benedetti. The concerto is constructed into four movements: “Rhapsody,” “Rondo Burlesque,” “Blues,” and “Hootenanny.” The concerto traces the distinct connection between the Anglo-Celtic traditions and those of Afro-American culture, illustrating these links with sweeping melodies, jazzy orchestral dissonances, blues-tinged themes, fancy fiddling and a rhythmic swagger. Concerto in D was given its world premiere by the London Symphony Orchestra in November 2015; it was premiered stateside by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia in July 2016.

Marsalis further deepened his musical imagination with The Jungle, performed by the New York Philharmonic along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (December 2016). “The Jungle,” according to Marsalis, “is a musical portrait of New York City, the most fluid, pressure-packed, and cosmopolitan metropolis the modern world has ever seen.” The New York Philharmonic and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra reunited to present The Jungle in Shanghai in July 2017.

Marsalis released his 3-hour jazz parable The Ever Fonky Lowdown just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing narration, big band orchestration and vocals, the expansive composition critiques the insidious relationship between consumerism and American culture. It is narrated by actor Wendell Pierce, includes vocals from Camille Thurman, Christie Dashiell, Doug Wamble, and Ashley Pezzotti, and the instrumentals of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

In 2021, he premiered his Tuba concerto, commissioned by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and composed for the all-star tubist Carol Jantsch. Also within the past two years, Wynton has premiered a bassoon quartet (4 Bassoons Talking, 2021), his fanfare Herald, Holler and Hallelujah! (2022) and his second string quartet, Still Singing, which premiered at the opening of The David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center at Pocantico on September 29, 2022.

April 27, 2023 marked the world premiere of Marsalis’ Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra. Written in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra for Cleveland’s Principal Trumpet Michael Sachs, it represents Marsalis’ newest advance in the world of classical music. “Through this process of delving into the traditions of our instrument, [Michael Sachs] and I have literally conversed for hours with unforced enthusiasm about all the great teachers we’ve had, august masters we love, fantastic younger players we encounter, and ultimately, what we continue to learn from our instrument through favorite recordings, fresh insights and funny performance experiences,” Marsalis wrote for the premiere’s program notes. “I want this concerto to enable Mike to convey the broad depth of feeling and joy of discovery that defines our proud legacy as trumpeters.” Consisting of six movements, Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra navigates the diverse history of the trumpet: starting in the jungle with nature’s first trumpeter, the elephant; then, on to the legacy of Louis Armstrong, further to the Afro-Hispanic diaspora in the Americas and the regality of the trumpet in the French tradition, in the blues and the Eastern European Jewish tradition, and also the role of trumpet in the universal ‘joker’ trope.

Television, Radio & Literary

Throughout his career, Marsalis has taken on an inexhaustible advocatory role for jazz music. He has often been referred to as The Conscience of Jazz. Through the mediums of television, radio, journalism and literature, he has communicated his message to the world about the imperative force of jazz to elevate our livelihood and culture.

Marsalis had two documentaries made on his music and perspective early in his career: Catching a Snake in 1985 and Playing Through the Changes in 1992. Though many years have passed since these two pieces aired, Marsalis’ overall message about jazz music and its importance as a classic American art form have remained consistent to date.

In the fall of 1995, Wynton launched two major broadcast events. That October on PBS, he premiered Marsalis on Music, an educational television series on jazz and classical music which he wrote and hosted. Writers distinguished Marsalis on Music with comparisons to Leonard Bernstein’s celebrated Young People’s Concerts of the 1950s and 60s. That same month, NPR aired the first of Marsalis’ 26-week series entitled Making the Music. These entertaining and insightful radio shows were the first full exposition of jazz music in American broadcast history. Wynton’s radio and television series’ were awarded the most prestigious distinction in broadcast journalism, the George Foster Peabody Award. The Spirit of New Orleans, Marsalis’ poetic tribute to the New Orleans Saints’ first Super Bowl victory (Super Bowl XLIV) has also received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Feature (2011).

From 2012 to 2014, Wynton served as cultural correspondent for CBS News, writing and presenting features for CBS This Morning on an array of topics: from Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and Louis Armstrong to Juke Joints, BBQ, the Quarterback & Conducting and Thankfulness.

Marsalis has been interviewed for countless documentaries and educational specials on jazz music, as well as classical. One of his most notable moments in this vein was his collaboration with Ken Burns in 2001 on his documentary miniseries Jazz. Other examples include his contributions to A World Without Beethoven? (2020), TCM’s Jazz in Film series (2020), and his interviews with LIFE on Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong (2015). Marsalis is consistently called upon to speak about the legacies of other jazz legends. He has given interviews on Charles Mingus, George Butler, Marcus Belgrave, Leonard Bernstein, John Lewis, on mystical character Frankie Presto, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and so many others.

In 2022, Marsalis’ outlook on jazz and its history was featured in the documentary Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues, on BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week series, The Glenn Gould Foundation’s The Gould Standard podcast, and on The Bill Maher Show.

Marsalis has written six books: Sweet Swing Blues on the Road, Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life, To a Young Musician: Letters from the Road, Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life, Jazz ABZ: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits and Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!, a sonic adventure for kids.

Select Awards and Accolades

Marsalis’ creativity has been celebrated throughout the world. He has won the Netherlands’ Edison Award and the Grand Prix Du Disque of France. The Mayor of Vitoria, Spain, awarded him with the city’s Gold Medal – its most coveted distinction.

Britain’s senior conservatoire, the Royal Academy of Music, granted Mr. Marsalis Honorary Membership, the Academy’s highest decoration for a non-British citizen (1996). The city of Marciac, France, erected a bronze statue in his honor. The French Ministry of Culture appointed Wynton the rank of Knight in the Order of Arts and Literature and in the fall of 2009 Wynton received France’s highest distinction, the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, an honor that was first awarded by Napoleon Bonaparte. French Ambassador, His Excellency Pierre Vimont, captured the evening with his introduction:

“We are gathered here tonight to express the French government’s recognition of one of the most influential figures in American music, an outstanding artist, in one word: a visionary…

I want to stress how important your work has been for both the American and the French. I want to put the emphasis on the main values and concerns that we all share: the importance of education and transmission of culture from one generation to the other, and a true commitment to the profoundly democratic idea that lies in jazz music.

I strongly believe that, for you, jazz is more than just a musical form. It is tradition, it is part of American history and culture and life. To you, jazz is the sound of democracy. And from this democratic nature of jazz derives openness, generosity, and universality.”

In 2001, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan proclaimed Wynton Marsalis an international ambassador of goodwill for the Unites States by appointing him a UN Messenger of Peace. Then, in November 2005, Wynton Marsalis was bestowed The National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States Government. Marsalis was honored with The National Humanities Medal by President Barak Obama in 2015, in recognition of his work to deepen the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broaden American citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages and philosophy.

In the five decades preceding Marsalis’ 1997 Pulitzer Prize win for Blood on the Fields, the Pulitzer Prize jury had refused to recognize jazz musicians and their improvisational music, reserving the distinction solely for classical composers. In the years following Marsalis’ award, the Pulitzer Prize for Music has been awarded posthumously to Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. In a personal note to Wynton, Zarin Mehta wrote:

“I was not surprised at your winning the Pulitzer Prize for Blood on The Fields. It is a broad, beautifully painted canvas that impresses and inspires. It speaks to us all … I’m sure that, somewhere in the firmament, Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong and legions of others are smiling down on you.”

Marsalis has been honored with the Louis Armstrong Memorial Medal and the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has been inducted into the American Academy of Achievement and dubbed an “Honorary Dreamer” by the I Have a Dream Foundation. The New York Urban League awarded Wynton with the Frederick Douglass Medallion for distinguished leadership, and the American Arts Council presented him with the Arts Education Award. TIME magazine selected Wynton as one of America’s most promising leaders under age 40 in 1995; in 1996, TIME celebrated Marsalis again as one of America’s 25 most influential people. In 2011, the Marsalis family, including Wynton, became the first to receive a group NEA Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment of the Arts. Honorary degrees have been conferred upon Marsalis by 41 of America’s leading academic institutions including Columbia, Harvard, Howard, Princeton, Yale and Tulane University in his hometown of New Orleans.

In the winter of 2021, Marsalis was welcomed into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The same year, he was winner of the Dr. Maria Montessori Ambassador Award given by the American Montessori Society, Brooklyn for Peace’s PathMakers to Peace Award, the winner of the American Prairie Reserve’s Ken Burns American Heritage Prize and was presented the Key to the City of New York by Bill DeBlasio. In 2022, Marsalis was presented with SFJAZZ’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Marsalis’ album Black Codes (From the Underground) was inducted into the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the spring of 2023.

Jazz at Lincoln Center

During the mid-1980s, an executive by the name of Alina Bloomgarden began looking for fresh programming to present at Lincoln Center, one of the country’s most revered cultural institutions. Bloomgarden recognized that when it came to jazz, there was a distinct lack of representation in the fine arts world. She was determined to remedy this. Bloomgarden was innovative and knew that although her proposals were going unnoticed, with the right support, her vision would succeed. After years of attempts to bring jazz to classical music audiences, she presented the “Classical Jazz at Lincoln Center” summer concert series in 1987—with Wynton Marsalis as the Artistic Director.

The series lasted from 1987 to 1990, featuring jazz all-stars Betty Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Etta Jones, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Danny Barker, Dr. Michael White, and Joe Temperley, among many others. Marsalis and Bloomgarden realized that the series’ success opened the floodgates for jazz to be seen as a great American art form on the world stage. Marsalis enlisted a broad group of advocates to assist him in expanding the concert series into a jazz department at Lincoln Center. That list included, but was not limited to, Stanley Crouch, Albert Murray, Gordon Davis, Diane Coffey, and Jonathan Rose.

American art form on the world stage. Marsalis enlisted a broad group of advocates to assist him in expanding the concert series into a jazz department at Lincoln Center. That list included, but was not limited to, Stanley Crouch, Albert Murray, Gordon Davis, Diane Coffey, and Jonathan Rose.

As he was developing Lincoln Center’s Jazz Department in the 1990s, Marsalis sought to create artistic partnerships with the other branches of the Lincoln Center family. The goal was to connect across intellectual and methodical orbits: to combine jazz with everything from ballet to classical music and beyond. Every year, Marsalis endeavored to write a new collaborative piece that would connect the Jazz Department to one of Lincoln Center’s constituent organizations. These cooperative ventures would further solidify “Jazz at Lincoln Center” on its path to becoming an independent constituent itself. The first of these collaborations was with Peter Martins of the New York City Ballet in 1993, when Marsalis was commissioned to write two new ballet scores: Jump Start and Jazz: Six Syncopated Movements. In 1995, Marsalis collaborated with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society (LCCMS) to compose the string quartet At The Octoroon Balls. He premiered Sweet Release in 1996 in collaboration with Judith Jamison, Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the the-titled Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Marsalis then went on to compose Them Twos for the New York City Ballet, which premiered on June 3, 1999. His work with the LCCMS continued in 1998 when the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed The Soldier’s Tale with the Chamber Music Society, and subsequently Marsalis created a response to Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale with his composition A Fiddler’s Tale. Also in 1998, Marsalis’ ballet score Ghost Story was choreographed by Judith Jamison and performed with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. All Rise was premiered with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and New York Philharmonic at Avery Fischer Hall in 1999.

In July 1996, due to the department’s significant success and growing community of support, Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) was installed as a new constituent organization of Lincoln Center, equal in stature with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Ballet. It marked a historic moment for jazz as an art form and for Lincoln Center as a cultural institution. Its mission was, and remains, to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education, and advocacy, with the belief that jazz is a metaphor for Democracy. JALC’s induction as a constituent to Lincoln Center was an amazing feat—now, all the organization needed was a place to call ‘home.’

This opportunity showed itself when, in August of 1998, Time Warner won New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the reconstruction of the New York Coliseum site at Columbus Circle. One requirement of the bid was for the new building to house a major arts and entertainment space. Wynton and then-JALC Executive Director Rob Gibson jumped at the occasion, creating what they called a “Campaign for a New Home,” in 1999.

The campaign, it turned out, was convincing: finally in October of 2004, with the assistance of a dedicated Board and staff, Marsalis opened Frederick P. Rose Hall, the world’s first entertainment complex solely dedicated to jazz. The complex contains three state-of-the-art performance spaces (including the first concert hall designed specifically for jazz) along with recording, broadcast, rehearsal and educational facilities. Jazz at Lincoln Center has become a preferred venue for New York jazz fans and a destination for travelers from across the world. Marsalis presently serves as Managing and Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Under his leadership, Jazz at Lincoln Center has developed an international agenda presenting rich and diverse programming that includes concerts, debates, film forums, dances, television and radio broadcasts, and educational activities.

Jazz at Lincoln Center has become a mecca for learning as well as a hub for performance. Their comprehensive educational programming includes a Band Director’s Academy, a hugely popular concert series for kids called Jazz for Young People, Jazz in the Schools, the Middle School Jazz Academy, WeBop! (a program for kids ages 8 months to 5 years), Essentially Ellington (an annual High School jazz band competition & festival that reaches over 2000 bands in 50 states and Canada), The Jack Rudin Jazz Championship (an annual college jazz band competition) and an adult educational concert series titled “Journey through Jazz.”

Marsalis as an Educator

When Wynton was nearing the end of high school, he was accepted to some of the world’s top academic institutions: Harvard, Yale, and The Juilliard School. At the time, he was satisfied with what these names represented—he was sure that admittance to institutions of this caliber meant that his future would be golden. His mother, however, knew that a good education was more than just an illustrious name on a piece of paper. She challenged him by demanding, “What is the substance of your education?”

Marsalis took this lesson to heart. Throughout his career, a key component of his work has been to continue the legacy of jazz music through education. He has upheld this value by holding hundreds of master classes and open sound checks for students across the world, creating educational CDs, DVDs, TV specials, song books and picture books. Marsalis also upholds his mission for music education as the Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, as the Director of Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School, and as the President of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation.

In 2009, Wynton created and presented Ballad of the American Arts at the Kennedy Center. The lecture/performance was written to elucidate the essential role the arts have played in establishing America’s cultural identity. “This is our story, this is our song,” stated Marsalis, “and if well-sung, it tells us who we are and where we belong.”

In 2011, Harvard University President Drew Faust invited Wynton to enrich the cultural life of the University community. Wynton responded by creating a 6-lecture series Hidden in Plain View: Meanings in American Music, that he would deliver over the ensuing 3 years. The goal of the lectures was to foster a stronger appreciation for the arts and a higher level of cultural literacy in academia.

From 2015 to 2021, Marsalis served as an A.D. White Professor at Large at Cornell University. A.D. White Professors are charged with the mandate to enliven the intellectual and cultural lives of university students. Marsalis conducted masterclasses, lectures, classroom visits, and student performances during his time with the program.

Wynton has also been driven to create lasting content that can be shared with students for generations. His children’s books Jazz ABZ (2007) and Squeak, Rumble, Whomp, Whomp, Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure (2012) explore the creativity of jazz music along with illustrations by celebrated visual artist Paul Rogers. In 1999, Marsalis served as one of the composers for the children’s album Listen to the Storyteller: A Trio of Musical Tales from Around the World. Twenty years later in 2019, he composed a children’s jazz album called Jazz for Kids, and recorded A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration (2020), both recorded with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on Blue Engine Records.

Marsalis has served as a mentor, and in turned learned significantly from, some of the greatest jazz and classical musicians at work today: Christian McBride, Jonathan Batiste, Carlos Henriquez, Vincent Gardner, Damien Sneed, Ulysses Owens Jr., Cécile McLorin-Salvant, Aaron Diehl, Anthony Hervey, and Sullivan Fortner, as well as rising stars Giveton Gelin, Summer Camargo, Endea Owens, Sean Mason, Isaiah J. Thompson, Julian Lee, Abdias Armenteros, Alexa Tarantino, Philip Norris, Dominick “Domo” Branch and more.


(*) For full album information, please visit Wynton’s discography page.

Title Released
Wynton Marsalis 1982
Haydn, Hummel, L. Mozart: Trumpet Concertos 1983
Think Of One 1983
Wynton Marsalis Plays Handel, Purcell, Torelli, Fasch, and Molter 1984
Hot House Flowers 1984
Black Codes 1985
Tomasi, Jolivet: Trumpet Concertos 1986
J Mood 1986
Carnaval 1987
Marsalis Standard Time, Vol. 1 1987
Live At Blues Alley 1988
Baroque Music for Trumpets 1988
Blues & Swing 1988
Portrait of Wynton Marsalis 1988
Works By Husa, Copland, Vaughan Williams, and Hindemith 1989
The Majesty of The Blues 1989
Crescent City Christmas Card 1989
The Resolution of Romance – Standard Time, Vol. 3 1990
Tune In Tomorrow 1990
Haydn: Three Favorite Concertos 1990
Intimacy Calling – Standard Time Vol. 2 1991
Thick in the South 1991
Uptown Ruler 1991
Levee Low Moan 1991
Baroque Duet 1992
Blue Interlude 1992
Portraits by Ellington 1992
A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert 1992
Concert for Planet Earth 1992
Resolution to Swing 1993
Citi Movement 1993
On the Twentieth Century 1993
Jazz At Lincoln Center Presents: The Fire of The Fundamentals 1994
Accent on the Off Beat 1994
In This House, On This Morning 1994
They Came to Swing 1994
The London Concert 1994
Griot New York 1995
Joe Cool’s Blues 1995
Marsalis on Music 1995
In Gabriel’s Garden 1996
Blood on the Fields 1997
Jump Start and Jazz – Two Ballets by Wynton Marsalis 1997
The Midnight Blues – Standard Time Vol. 5 1998
Classic Wynton 1998
Live In Swing City – Swingin’ with Duke 1999
Marsalis Plays Monk – Standard Time Vol. 4 1999
A Fiddler’s Tale 1999
At The Octoroon Balls – String Quartet No. 1 1999
Big Train 1999
Sweet Release & Ghost Story: Two More Ballets by Wynton Marsalis 1999
Mr. Jelly Lord – Standard Time Vol. 6 1999
Listen to the Storyteller: A Trio of Musical Tales from around the World 1999
Reeltime 1999
Live at the Village Vanguard 1999
Selections from The Village Vanguard Box 2000
The Marciac Suite 2000
Popular Songs: The Best of Wynton Marsalis 2001
All Rise 2002
The Marsalis Family – A Jazz Celebration 2003
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis plays the music of Duke Ellington 2004
The Magic Hour 2004
Casts of Cats 2004
Unforgivable Blackness – The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson 2004
A Love Supreme 2005
Live at the House of Tribes 2005
Don’t Be Afraid: The Music of Charles Mingus 2005
iTunes Live Session 2006
Master Class Jazz – Wynton Marsalis 2006
Master Class Trumpet – Wynton Marsalis 2006
In This House, On This Morning 2006
Here…Now 2007
From the Plantation to the Penitentiary 2007
The Essential Wynton Marsalis 2007
The War – A Ken Burns Film 2007
Congo Square 2007
Standards & Ballads 2008
Congo Square 2008
The History of the Trumpet – Wynton Marsalis 2008
“Willie Nelson& Wynton Marsalis: Live at Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC” 2008
Willie Nelson& Wynton Marsalis: Two Men with the Blues 2008
He and She 2009
Christmas Jazz Jam 2009
Portraits in Seven Shades 2010
From Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf 2010
Music Redeems 2010
Vitoria Suite 2010
Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles 2011
Wynton Marsalis& Eric Clapton Plays the Blues 2011
Swingin’ Into the 21st Century 2011
Selections from Swingin’ Into the 21st Century 2011
The Music of America: Wynton Marsalis 2012
The Spiritual Side of Wynton Marsalis 2013
Live in Cuba 2015
Big Band Holidays 2015
The Abyssinian Mass 2016
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” b/w “Little Drummer Boy” 2016
The Music of John Lewis 2017
Spotify Singles: JLCO Featuring Wynton Marsalis & Jon Batiste 2017
All Jazz is Modern: 30 Years of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Vol. 1 2017
Handful of Keys 2017
Jingle Bells 2017
United We Swing: The Best of The Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas 2018
Una Noche con Ruben Blades 2018
Winter Wonderland 2018
Bolden 2019
Swing Symphony 2019
Wynton Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite 2019
Jazz and Art 2019
Motherless Brooklyn 2019
Jazz For Kids 2019
Big Band Holidays II 2019
Sherman Irby’s Inferno 2020
The Music of Wayne Shorter 2020
Black, Brown & Beige 2020
Rock Chalk Suite 2020
Christopher Crenshaw’s The Fifties: A Prism 2020
Quarantine Blues 2020
Walkin’ 2020
Everybody Wear They Mask 2020
The Ever Fonky Lowdown 2020
Yardbird Suite 2020
A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration 2020
The Democracy! Suite 2021
Blues Symphony 2021
The Jungle 2023

Awards and Recognition

Year Award
1973-74 De La Salle High School Science Award
1977 The Otto Bloomfield Memorial Award for Outstanding Student Musician – Eastern Music Festival
1982 Edison Award
1982 National Association of Jazz Educators Award – Wynton Marsalis Quintet – For Outstanding Service to Jazz Education
1983 City of Atlanta: Wynton Marsalis Day
1983 City of Richmond, VA – Wynton Marsalis Day
1984 DC Public Schools – The Artist Speaks Award
1984 State of Louisiana – Honorary Deputy Attorney General for Musical Art
1984 State of Louisiana Citation of Merit
1986 “Swing Journal – Jazz Disc Silver Award J. Mood: Wynton Marsalis; CBS/SONY Inc”
1986 WM Stokes and Ron Gray – Extraordinary Efforts in Jazz in Its Purist Form
1986 Howard University Dance Ensemble – For Distinguished Contributions to the Arts
1987 Blue Note – The Blue Note Award for Musical Excellence in the Jazz Idiom
1987 Black United Fund of Pennsylvania – Arts and Culture Award
1987 Cultural Crossroads at Lafayette Avenue Church – Heritage Award – For His Outstanding Advocacy in the Recovery of Our Jazz Heritage
1988 Food For All Seasons – Golden Can Award
1988 Vanguard Community Group – Project Hope
1988 Harpers – In recognition of your sold-out audiences and extended shows at Harpers
1988 Young Audiences of Chicago
1988 City of Philadelphia, PA – Liberty Bell
1988 Franck C. Carr Achievement Award
1988 Russian River Jazz Festival – JAZZNOTE Award for Outstanding Achievement in A Great American Art Form
1988 City of Memphis, TN – Certificate of Honorary Citizenship
1988 Shelby County, TN – Honorary Shelby County Commissioner
1988 Denver Musicians Association AFM – Senior Distinguished Achievement Award
1988 Greenville, NC – Key to the City
1988 State of Louisiana – Honorary State Representative
1988 State of Louisiana – Distinguished Artist of the State of Louisiana
1988 Southern University – Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity – In Acknowledgement of Your Contributions to the Arts and Education
1988 “International Professional Music Fraternity; Beta Zeta Chapter & Alumni”
1988 City of Baton Rouge, LA -Honorary Mayor/President
1989 Morgan State University – Distinguished Achievement Award
1989 North Carolina A&T State Univ., Greensboro – Honors… as a World-Class Trumpet Player, Humanitarian and Superb Role Model for the Youth of America
1989 Newark, NJ – Key to the City
1989 Wynton Marsalis Day – Newark Municipal Council Resolution
1989 Humanitarian Award…In Appreciation for Educational Motivation to The Students of The Arts Magnet High School at Booker T. Washington
1989 City of Baltimore – Honorary Citizenship
1989 Duke Ellington Youth Orchestra – The Swinging Maestro
1989 City of New Orleans – Certificate of Appreciation
1989 City of New Orleans – Wynton Marsalis Day
1990 Levine School of Music – Paul Hume Award
1990 City of New Orleans – Certificate of Merit
1990 San Antonio Jazz Society – Articulate Spokesperson for Jazz, America’s Original Classical Music
1990 Bronx Community College – Hall of Fame Award for Great American Music
1990 Borough of the Bronx, NY – Citation of Merit
1990 City of Houston, TX – Wynton Marsalis Day
1991 Learning Through Art/Guggenheim Museum Award
1991 18th Official IAJE Award…For Outstanding Service to Jazz Education
1991 Dallas Independent School District – Thank You Award
1991 City of Dallas, TX – Honorary Citizen
1992 CERA Pioneer of Excellence Award
1992 3M Visionary [Award] – Baroque Duet Surpassing the Limits of Artistic Innovation
1992 3M Visionary [Award] – Blue Interlude Surpassing the Limits of Artistic Innovation
1992 Univ of Arizona Distinguished Community Service- African American Studies Program
1992 52nd Street Americana Festival – Duke Ellington Memorial Award
1993 3M Visionary [Award] – Citi Movement Surpassing the Limits of Artistic Innovation
1993 SHMF – Bernstein Award
1993 Campus Activities Today – Best Jazz Performer
1993 Twentieth Anniversary – Associazione Umbria Jazz 1973-1993
1993 James Weldon Johnson Medal in Artistic Achievement
1994 Manhattan County School – Living the Dream Mentor Award
1994 Sony Music Thailand – To Commemorate the Performance…
1994 Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, City of Cleveland – Sacred Music Concert, In Tribute to Wynton Marsalis: In This House… On This Morning
1994 House of Representatives -Congressional Award
1994 State of Louisiana Department of Culture – Citation
1994 New Orleans City Council – Recognizes Wynton Marsalis, a native New Orleanian and outstanding musician
1994 ETA Creative Arts Foundation – Custodians of our Cultural Consciousness
1994 Afro-American Museum – From Slavery to Freedom
1994 RIAA – Certified Sales Award – Gold – RIAA – Certified Sales Award – Gold – Hot House Flowers
1994 RIAA – Certified Sales Award – Gold – Standard Time Vol. 1
1995 Département Du Gers – Marciac Jazz – Stage Sessions – Medal
1995 Down Beat Magazine – Trumpeter of the Year
1995 US Postal Service Louis Armstrong US Commemorative Stamp, September 1, 1995 (is this an award ?)
1995 Peabody Award, George Foster -For Significant and Meritorious Achievement Presented to Making the Music/Marsalis on Music NPR & SONY Classical for PBS
1995 Wichita Jazz Festival – Homer Osborne Award – Musician and Educator
1995 Third Street Music School Settlement – To the Marsalis Family, Award for Distinguished Achievement in and Service to the Arts
1995 Texaco – Marsalis on Music, for his stellar achievement
1995 National Press Club – Certificate of Appreciation -Awarded in recognition of your appearance as guest speaker for Press, Radio, and Television in the Nation’s Capital
1996 Games of the XXVI Olympiad – In Recognition of and Appreciation for your contribution to the success of the Games of the XXVI Olympiad- as a Participant in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Certificate of Achievement
1996 American Council for the Arts – Arts Education Award
1996 Trane Stop Resource Institute, Inc – In Recognition of Significant Contribution to Jazz Music Education Worldwide and Especially for Support of the Jazz Curriculum Development Project
1996 City of Philadelphia, PA and Trane Stop Resource Institute Day – Proclamation
1996 Royal Academy of Music – Honorary Member of this Royal and National Institution
1996 City of New Orleans, LA – Certificate of Appreciation
1996 New Orleans City Council – Recognizes Wynton Marsalis…
1996 Georgia Institute of Technology – In appreciation for a wonderful evening
1996 United States Post Office, Connecticut District – In Appreciation of Your Contribution and Devotion to Jazz Music
1996 City of Chicago, IL – Wynton Marsalis Day
1996 Search for Truth, Inc. – Jazz Educator of This Decade
1996 California State Department of Education – Certificate of Appreciation
1996 New York Urban League Award – For Distinguished Leadership Toward Equal Opportunity
1996 Royal Academy of Music Honorary Member of this Royal and National Institution
1996 Peabody Medal For Outstanding Contributions to Music in America
1996 PS 185 – A Sincere Jazz Trumpeter
1996 Award from students, Vitoria, Spain
1996 Virginia Music Educators Conference, In appreciation for your presentation
1996 ASCAP – Deems Taylor Broadcast Award
1997 ASCAP – Celebrating Wynton Marsalis’ Pulitzer Prize
1997 Classical Insights – Best Brass Player
1997 Down Beat Magazine – Composer of the Year – Critic’s Poll
1997 Down Beat Magazine – Jazz Musician/Composer of the Year – Reader’s Poll
1997 Down Beat Magazine – Trumpeter of the Year – Critic’s Poll
1997 Jazz Central Station – Global Jazz Poll Winner – Composer
1997 Pulitzer Prize in Music – Blood on the Fields
1997 Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts
1997 Covenant House Washington – In Appreciation of Your Support
1997 World Economic Forum – Global Leader for Tomorrow
1997 Republique Française – Ministry of Culture – Nomme par arrete de ce jour – Monsieur Wynton Marsalis – Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
1997 Avery Fisher Artist Program Special Award
1997 Columbia University – Pulitzer Prize in Music for Blood on The Fields
1997 DeWitt Clinton High School – Honorary Alumnus
1997 IS 227 – Wynton Marsalis Day
1997 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Alpha Award of Honor
1997 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity – Alpha Award of Honor – Vision 2000 The Light of a New Day
1997 Amsterdam Sports Foundation – Support to the Second Annual Morris C. Duncan Memorial Classic Basketball Tournament
1997 City of Richmond, VA – Wynton Marsalis Day
1998 Down Beat Magazine – Composer of the Year – Critic’s Poll
1998 Down Beat Magazine – Jazz Musician/Composer of the Year – Reader’s Poll
1998 New York Jazz Awards – Composition of the Year – Blood on the Fields
1998 New York Jazz Awards – Musician of the Year
1998 Young Star Award
1998 World Design Award
1998 Philippine Jazz Foundation, Inc. – Honorary Lifetime Membership
1998 Young Audiences – Children’s Arts Medal Benefit-Program
1998 Young Audiences – Children’s Art Medal
1998 UA Honors – For his part in supporting Arts Education
1998 National Music Council – American Eagle Award
1998 American Boys Choir – The Stars and Stripes
1998 Philadelphia City Council – Citation of Honor
1998 Minister of Culture, New Orleans – Certificate of Merit
1998 Amsterdam Sports Foundation – Commitment Award – Commitment to the Third Annual Morris C. Duncan Memorial Classic Basketball Tournament
1998 TBS – Trumpet Awards Saluting African American Achievement
1998 “Emmy Awards, Sports Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition/Direction/ Lyrics ““Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion”“, HBO, Wynton Marsalis, Composer”
1999 Association of Performing Arts Presenters – Award of Merit
1999 Associated Black Charities of New York – Black History Maker – Immortal Award
1999 Christina Cultural Arts Center – Christi Award for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
1999 Down Beat Magazine – Composer of the Year – Reader’s Poll (64th Annual)
1999 Down Beat Magazine – Jazz Artist of the Year – Reader’s Poll (64th Annual)
1999 Playboy Music Poll Winner—Jazz Instrumentalist
1999 VH1 Save The Music – Certificate of Gratitude
1999 City of East Orange, NJ – Wynton Marsalis Day
1999 Denver Performing Arts Complex – Sold Out Performance
1999 Metropolitan State College of Denver – Golda Meir Leadership Award
1999 Lettre Patente de Commission de Certificate – Mousquetaire d’Armagnac
1999 City of New York, NY – J & R Music World Downtown Jazzfest/Wynton Marsalis Day
1999 Honorary Award RIAA Public Service Award
1999 Amsterdam Sports Foundation – Commitment Award – Commitment to the Third Annual Morris C. Duncan Memorial Classic Basketball Tournament
1999 Art Blakey Tribute Committee – The Art Blakey Inaugural Award
1999 Russ Meek Speaks TV Show – Duke Ellington Commemorative Award
199? Newark Boys Chorus School – Rainbow Award
1995-2002 City of Dallas, TX – Special Recognition – Mayor Ronald Kirk
2000 Down Beat Magazine – Composer of the Year – Critic’s Poll
2000 Down Beat Magazine – Composer of the Year – Reader’s Poll
2000 Cicely Tyson School of Performing & Fine Arts – Master Teacher Award
2000 J & R Music World – Lifetime Achievement Award
2000 Immortal Award – Louis Armstrong Associated Black Charities
2000 National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters – Pioneer in Music Award
2000 Morehouse and Spelman Colleges – The Beacon Award—New York Alumni Scholarship Gala
2000 Brazilian Trumpet Players’ Association – Member of Honor
2001 Amsterdam Sport Foundation – For his Support to the Morris C. Duncan/Francine M. Williams 6th Annual Memorial Classic Basketball Tournament
2001 Gambit Weekly Best of New Orleans – Best Jazz Band/Artist
2001 Onandaga College – Resolution of Appreciation
2001 Lenox Lounge – JAZZ Hall of Fame Inductee
2002 City of Columbia, SC – Wynton Marsalis Day
2002 New Rochelle Youth Bureau – Special Recognition Award
2002 New Rochelle, City of New York – Certificate of Appreciation
2002 Westchester County Board of Legislators – Certification
2003-2004 EMMY – Academy of Television Arts & Science – Balanchine 100 (Live from Lincoln Center)
2003-2004 EMMY – Academy of Television Arts & Science
2003 Certificate of Appreciation to Wynton Marsalis by Servants of the World Youth Outreach Center, June 14, 2003
2003 McDonalds’ Top Faces of Black History
2004 US Department of State – Culture Connect Ambassador
2005 Mercer County, NJ Certificate of Honor for outstanding service to the community, August 23, 2005
2005 NAACP Image Awards – Wynton Marsalis Quartet Nominated as Outstanding Jazz Artist – The Magic Hour
2005 National Press Club Certificate for appearance on October 20, 2005
2005 State of New Jersey Joint Legislative Resolution Certificate honoring Wynton Marsalis August 23, 2005
2005 City of St. Lucie, FL – Wynton Marsalis Day
2005 Positive Influence Plaque
2005 National Medal of Arts Certificate signed by George Bush, November 10, 2005
2005 City of Fort Pierce, FL – Key to the City
2005 City of Fort Pierce, FL – Wynton Marsalis Day
2006 Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Bologna Ragazzi Special Award: Words and Music for Jazz ABZ
2006 Dennison University Honorary Doctorate certificate, January 23, 2006
2006 Drum Major Institute for Public Policy – Drum Major for Justice
2006 The Julliard School Honorary Doctorate certificate, May 26, 2006, also burgundy folder with Julliard 100th Anniversary program & copy of introduction of Wynton Marsalis from the graduation
2006 City of New York Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture Congressman Steve Israel Certificate of Special Recognition to Wynton Marsalis, Friends of the Arts, June 10, 2006, Long Island, NY (Wynton not in attendance)
2006 Jim Henson Honors Community 2006
2006 Nazarene Congressional Church Men’s Day 2006
2006 International Reading Association 2006 Children Book Award medal
2007 Onondaga Community College March27, 2007
2007 Montblanc De La Culture Arts Patronage Award, May 2, 2007
2007 Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from NYU May 2007
2007 The Sister Thea Bowman Legacy Award April 19, 2007
2007 US Embassy Award for Cultural Diplomacy
2008 Down Beat Magazine – Trumpeter of the Year – Reader’s Poll
2008 BET Virtual J – Best Jazz Artist
2009 City of Vitoria-Gasteiz – Gold Medal of the City
2010 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Jazz Album for He and She
2009 French Republic, Ministry of Culture – Legion of Honor
2010 Premio De Honor – CubaDisco
2010 City of Baton Rouge – key to Parish of East Baton Rouge
2010 Aspen Institute – Preston Robert Tisch Award for Civic Leadership
2011 NEA – Jazz Masters Award
2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album for From Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf Live at Marciac
2011 National Arts Club – Medal of Honor for Music
2011 Tulane University – President’s Medal
2011 NY Television and Film Festival – Silver Medal Winner
2011 Interfaith Center of New York – James Park Morton Interfaith Award
2012 Parent’s Choice Awards – Silver Honor from Parent’s Choice Foundation given for Wynton’s children Book – Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!
2012 FGI The Fashion Group International, Inc – Humanitarian Night of Stars
2013 National Action Network – Keepers of the Dream Awards – Lifetime Achievement
2013 The Henry Crown Award
2013 American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation Award
2014 Wynton Marsalis Day City of Santa Cruz
2014 Certificate of Honor – presented by The City and County of San Francisco
2014 The Lotos Club Award
2014 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award
2015 Carson Foundation, Carson Scholars Fund – Power of Excellence Award 19th Annual
2015 Marian Anderson Award
2015 Honorary Distinguished Professor of Music Award presented by the University of the Virgin Islands
2015 Christopher Award – for “48 Hours the Whole Gritty City” documentary
2015 Louis Auchincloss Prize- The Museum of the City of New York
2016 Down Beat Magazine – Big Band of the Year – Reader’s Poll
2016 Down Beat Magazine – Trumpeter of the Year – Reader’s Poll
2016 International Trumpet Guild – Honorary Award
2016 Atlantic Council Global Citizen Award
2016 The Harmony Program Award/
2016 National Humanities Medal- Awarded by The President of the United States
2017 Wynton Marsalis Day City of Richmond VA
2017 Founding Member – The Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center – June 6, 2017
2017 Down Beat Magazine – Trumpeter of the Year – Reader’s Poll
2017 Down Beat Magazine – Hall of Fame – Jazz, Blues & Beyond – Reader’s Poll
2020 Down Beat Magazine—Trumpeter of the Year- Reader’s Poll
2021 Admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
2021 Gift of Music Award presented by Orchestra of St. Luke’s
2021 NationSwell Opportunity Award
2021 Ken Burns American Heritage Prize presented by The American Prairie Reserve
2021 Dr. Maria Montessori Ambassador Award presented by American Montessori Society
2021 Named La Ministre de la Culture by Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, French Republic
2021 PathMakers to Peace Award presented by Brooklyn for Peace
2021 Key to the City of New York presented by Mayor Bill DeBlasio
2022 SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award
2022 Glenn Gould Prize- Nomination
2022 Downbeat 87th Annual Readers Poll- Trumpet
2023 “Black Codes (From the Underground) inducted into the National Recording Registry, Library of Congress
undated “Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia – NewsMakers Award; Arts and Literature”
undated Orleans, Medallion
undated Kentucky Author Forum Award
undated Providence, R.I. Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr.
undated Sony Singapore – Best Wishes
undated Stone Soup Foundation – Certificate of Appreciation – In recognition of your valuable contribution to the book, Stone Soup of the World: Life Changing Stories of Kindness & Courageous Acts of Service
undated Westside Center for Child Development – The Hammond
undated NABJ Award – National Association of Black Journalists – Documentary – Wynton Marsalis Segment from 48 hours Present Nelson Mandela: Father of a Nation
undated Virginia State University Presented by Eddie N. Moore, Jr., 12th President
undated City of New Orleans, LA – Certificate of Appreciation
undated Start Performer
undated Louisiana Legislature – Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 88
undated Clermont Ferand – Medallion
undated Future Musicians, Inc. – Award

Honorary Degrees

  • Brown University (Doctor of Music, 1988 )
  • Southern University at New Orleans (Doctor of Music, 1988)
  • University at Buffalo – State University of New York (Doctor of Music, 1990)
  • Boston University (Doctor of Music, 1992)
  • Academy of Southern Arts & Letters (Doctor of Philosophy in Arts, 1993)
  • University of Miami (Doctor of Music, 1994)
  • Hunter College (Doctor of Humane Letters, 1995)
  • Manhattan School of Music (Doctor of Music, 1995)
  • Princeton University (Doctor of Arts, 1995)
  • Yale University (Doctor of Music, 1995)
  • Royal Academy of Music (Honorary Member, 1996)
  • Brandeis University (Doctor of Humane Letters, 1996)
  • Columbia University (Doctor of Music, 1996)
  • Governors State University (Doctor of Humane Letters, 1996)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Doctor of Fine Arts, 1996)
  • University of Scranton (Doctor of Fine Arts, 1996)
  • Amherst College (Doctor of Music, 1997)
  • Howard University (Doctor of Music, 1997)
  • Long Island University (Doctor of Music, 1997)
  • Rutgers University (Doctor of Fine Arts, 1997)
  • Bard College (Doctor of Fine Arts, 1998)
  • Haverford College (Doctor of Humane Letters, 1998)
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (Doctor of Fine Arts, 1998)
  • Middlebury College (Doctor of Arts, 2000)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Doctor of Music, 2000)
  • Clark Atlanta University (Doctor of Humane Letters, 2001)
  • Connecticut College (Doctor of Fine Arts, 2001)
  • Bloomfield College (Doctor of Fine Arts, 2004)
  • Julliard School of Music (Doctor of Music, 2006)
  • Denison University (Doctor of Music, 2006)
  • New York University (Doctor of Fine Arts, 2007)
  • Harvard University (Doctor of Music, 2009)
  • Northwestern University (Doctor of Arts, 2009)
  • State University of New York at Potsdam (Doctor of Music, 2010)
  • The College of New Rochelle (Doctor of Humane Letters, 2012)
  • Tulane University (Doctor of Humane Letters, 2014)
  • Hunter College (President’s Medal, 2014)
  • University Jean Moulin Lyon3 (Doctor Honoris Causa, 2016)
  • Kenyon College (Doctor of Arts, 2019)
  • University of Michigan (Doctor of Music, 2023)
  • Colgate University (Doctor of Arts, 2023)