Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #78

Wynton Marsalis (b. 1961)

78 Wynton Marsalis

The importance of jazz as a musical reflection of life in New York City culture and African-American culture cannot be overstated. Therefore, the position of Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center is one of New York’s most significant cultural titles and Wynton Marsalis, the man who holds it, one of the city’s most important movers and shakers. A co-founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marsalis is a genius on the trumpet who performed with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers at age 19. At 34, he joined the likes of Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and Gian Carlo Menotti, as a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, his oratorio Blood on the Fields making him the first jazz musician to win the award. He has also won the National Medal of the Arts and nine Grammy Awards.

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1 Comment

  1. Wynton Marsalis is probably the best known member of a remarkably talented musical family.
    His father Ellis is a superb jazz pianist and he taught his sons well – Branford a superb sax player and Peter, the baby of the family is a talented drummer. I had the pleasure of being in the audience for the US premiere of Wynton’s “Swing Symphony” – the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic performed together on the stage of Avery Fisher Hall under the baton of the Philharmonic’s music director, Alan Gilbert.
    As far as Grammy awards are concerned, Wynton Marsalis has won them for both classical and jazz recordings.

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