Wynton Marsalis to Deliver 2013 Commencement Address at UVM
- By Jeffrey R. Wakefield
Acclaimed jazz and classical musician Wynton Marsalis will be the featured speaker at the University of Vermont’s commencement ceremony on May 19, 2013.
Celebrated for his contributions as a performer, composer, bandleader and educator, trumpeter Marsalis has won nine Grammy Awards. He is the only artist in history to have received Grammys for five consecutive years and to have received a Grammy for both jazz and classical music in the same year (1983).
Marsalis is currently managing and artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center after serving as artistic director beginning in 1987. Under his leadership, the organization offers a full array of education, performance and broadcast productions, including national and international touring by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and others. He has performed in more than thirty countries and with a variety of orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and London’s Royal Philharmonic.
In 1997 Marsalis became the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, for his epic oratorio, Blood on the Fields. In 2010 he launched a multi-year lecture series at Harvard to promote awareness of the importance of cultural literacy, with a special focus on the relationship between American music and the American identity. Marsalis has also written six books including Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life (Random House, 2008), with Geoffrey C. Ward; and his latest children’s book, Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!, illustrated by Paul Rogers (Candlewick, 2012).
Born in New Orleans to a musical family, Marsalis has five brothers, three of whom are professional musicians. His father is also a long-time educator and professional musician. His son, Simeon, attends UVM and is graduating in May.