After four decades in the international spotlight, the achievements of saxophonist Branford Marsalis continue to grow. From his initial recognition as a young jazz lion, he has expanded his vision as an instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, and educator, crossing stylistic boundaries while maintaining an unwavering creative integrity. In the process, he has become an avatar of contemporary artistic excellence.
The Branford Marsalis Quartet, formed in 1986, remains Mr. Marsalis’s primary means of expression. In its virtually uninterrupted three-plus decades of existence, the Quartet has established a rare breadth of stylistic range and a continuity of personnel.
Mr. Marsalis has not confined his music to the Quartet context — classical inhabits a growing portion of his musical universe. In the 2020–21 season he appears with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia, Belgian National, and NHK Symphony orchestras, and he embarks on a North American tour with Orpheus. He appears regularly with leading orchestras around the world including the Chicago, Cincinnati, and Detroit symphony orchestras and the Bavarian Staatsoper, Frankfurt Museums, Düsseldorf Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, and Australian Chamber orchestras, with a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Adams, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, and Vaughan Williams.
He also shares his knowledge as an educator, forming extended teaching relationships at Michigan State, San Francisco State, and North Carolina Central universities, and conducting workshops at sites throughout the world.
Branford Marsalis’s numerous awards include three Grammys and (together with his father and brothers) a citation as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. To Branford, however, rather than marks of success, these honors are only waystations along one of the most fascinating and rewarding journeys in the world of music.