Wynton Marsalis will continue his lecture series this month, featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Sanders Theatre on Sept. 26.
Marsalis, the managing and artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center, is an accomplished musician, composer, bandleader, educator, and advocate for the arts.
Marsalis’ lecture, “Setting the Communal Table: The Evolution of the Jazz Orchestra,” will illustrate the relationship of written to improvised music and solo to ensemble playing, showcase important and unique musical techniques, and provide philosophical and communal insights. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. and will be live streamed at Harvard.edu/livestream.
“Focusing on the Jazz Age and the Swing Era, we will delve into the history of orchestral jazz, identify some of its main objectives, investigate its social victories, and showcase the significant musical breakthroughs in its evolution,” Marsalis said. “I look forward to returning to Harvard with the outstanding musicians in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.”
Marsalis’ lecture series, “Hidden in Plain View: Meanings in American Music,” is sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost. The series launched in April 2011 before a capacity crowd with “Music as Metaphor,” a two-hour journey through the history of American music, punctuated with performances by bluegrass and jazz musicians. He returned to campus in September 2011 with a team of dancers for his second lecture, “The Double Crossing of a Pair of Heels: The Dynamics of Social Dance and American Popular Musics,” which traced the evolution of American social dance from the Charleston to the fox trot and the tango to the twist. His third lecture, “Meet Me at the Crossroad,” in February 2012 examined the roots of American music. He returned to campus in April for “At the Speed of Instinct: Choosing Together to Play and Stay Together,” an examination of improvisation.
“During his inspirational appearances at Harvard, Wynton has shown us time and again how music captures the human experience in a way that connects us to something larger than ourselves,” Harvard President Drew Faust said. “He has a gift for educating people about the value of the arts, and his series of lecture-performances has been a vital contribution to the conversation about the arts on campus.”
In addition to his lectures, Marsalis has engaged in dialogue with students throughout the University and community, taught master classes at a local high school, engaged in a panel discussion about education and the arts at the Graduate School of Education, and spoke at the Harvard Innovation Lab about the artist as an entrepreneur.
A native of New Orleans, Marsalis is one of the nation’s most highly decorated cultural figures. In addition to winning nine Grammy Awards, he was the first jazz musician to receive the Pulitzer Prize for music.
His international accolades include honorary membership in Britain’s Royal Academy of Music, the highest decoration for someone not a British citizen, and the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest distinction. He has more than 70 albums to his credit, which have sold more than 7 million copies, and three albums earned three gold records.
Marsalis is also the first major jazz artist to perform and compose across the full spectrum of jazz, from its New Orleans roots to bebop and modern jazz. He has expanded the vocabulary of jazz by creating an expansive range of music for everything from quartets to big bands and symphony orchestras, and tap dance to ballet and modern dance. He was recently named a CBS News Cultural Correspondent. Harvard awarded him an honorary doctorate in music in 2009.
Tickets for Marsalis’ lecture at Sanders will be free. They will become available for the Harvard community on Sept. 17 and for the public on Sept. 19. For information on obtaining tickets, visit the Harvard Box Office website. Learn more about Wynton Marsalis.