Denison To Confer Honorary Degree On Wynton Marsalis
Posted: January 9, 2006
GRANVILLE -- Denison University will confer an honorary degree (Doctor of Fine Arts,honoris causa) on Wynton Marsalis when he visits the campus as the featured speaker at the University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration ceremonies. In addition to speaking at the All-College Convocation, set for 1:30 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 23) in Swasey Chapel, Marsalis will spend two days at Denison, performing, teaching and interacting with students, faculty and staff.
The honorary degree recognizes Marsalis for his extraordinary talent, his work with youth, his innovation and advocacy of the jazz art form, his leadership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and his many humanitarian efforts throughout his career. It concludes by praising him for "refreshing the world with his virtuosity and lifting our spirits to envision a brighter future."
Marsalis is recognized as an outstanding jazz musician, a top classical trumpeter, a big band leader, a composer, a devoted advocate for the arts, and a tireless and inspiring educator. Born in New Orleans, he was the second of six sons and exhibited an early aptitude for music. He was the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood's Berkshire Music Center when he went there at age 17, and he left as the winner of the prestigious Harvey Shapiro Award for outstanding brass student. He studied at Juilliard and then joined the band of master drummer and bandleader Art Blakey where he learned the relationship between jazz and democracy. "No America, no jazz" said Blakey. "The jazz band works best when participation is shaped by intelligent communication," says Marsalis.
Over the years, Marsalis has produced 33 jazz and 11 classical records and has sold more than seven million records worldwide. He has won nine Grammy Awards and is the only artist ever to win for both jazz and classical records in the same year (an astonishing accomplishment which he repeated) as well as being the only artist to win in five consecutive years. He co-founded a jazz program at Lincoln Center in 1987. Under his leadership, the program has developed an international agenda with up to 400 events annually in 15 countries. In 1995 the program was given full constituent status by the Lincoln Center Board and in October 2004 it moved into Frederick P. Rose Hall, part of the redevelopment of the New York Coliseum site at Columbus Circle and the world's first large venue built specifically for jazz.
Marsalis was named an international ambassador of goodwill by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2001, and, in 1996, was named as one of America's 25 Most Influential People by Time magazine. His outstanding contributions to the arts and his commitment to the improvement of life for all people are demonstrated by his donations and time and talent to organizations such as Tanglewood Music Center, Eastern Music Festival, From My Sister's Place and Graham Windham (shelters for battered women and homeless children, respectively), the Children's Defense Fund, Amnesty International and the Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute.
For press inquiries:
- Barbara Stambaugh
- Position Title
- Director, Media Relations
- Primary Email
- Business Phone
- (740) 587-8575