Branford Marsalis Makes Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Debut 11/30 & 12/1

Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis

Photos by Scott Preston

CINCINNATI— With a foot in both the jazz and classical worlds, Branford Marsalis journeys fearlessly into new, exciting musical territories. The saxophone star and 2012-2013 Creative Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Ascent Series makes his CSO debut on November 30 and December 1, following a week of varied residency activities. He performs Jacob ter Veldhuis’ dynamic Tallahatchie Concerto at 8 p.m. both nights at Music Hall. He will also sit with the Orchestra at the beginning of the concert program to perform the saxophone parts of Prokofiev’s sarcastic Lieutenant Kijé Suite. The performances, conducted by Jacque Lacombe, also include two works by American composer Samuel Barber: Night Flight and his Symphony No. 1.

Prior to these concerts, Mr. Marsalis will be participating in Classical Conversations, an informative, casual discussion open to all ticketholders held in the Music Hall auditorium one hour before the start of the concert. CSO Associate Conductor Robert Treviño hosts the event.

The CSO is grateful to Taft/ for its generous sponsorship of these performances. Additional series support is provided by the Wohlgemuth Herschede Foundation. The ArtsWave Partner Company for these performances is Cincinnati Children’s.

Residency Schedule

The dress rehearsal on Friday, November 30 will be open to select student groups, allowing them to experience Mr. Marsalis’ artistry in an up-close, less formal setting.

Mr. Marsalis will be attending the CSO’s Multicultural Awareness Council’s (MAC) post-concert reception in Music Hall’s Corbett Tower following the concert on November 30. This reception, featuring live music from the Princeton High School Jazz Ensemble, light bites and cash bar, is complimentary to all ticketholders, but space is limited.

Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis

Classical Roots and March residency
The CSO is also thrilled to announce that Mr. Marsalis will also make an appearance during the Orchestra’s annual “Classical Roots” concert on Friday, March 15, 2013. Pops Conductor John Morris Russell is once again slated to conduct the full Orchestra, along with a Community Mass Choir prepared by area church music leaders, in addition to talented guest soloists. Tickets for “Classical Roots” are now available via the CSO Box Office.

The wildly popular “Classical Roots” concerts have had immense success in the past two years at Music Hall as a celebration of African-American music traditions. The concerts include elements from the classical repertoire, as well as traditional and contemporary African-American spiritual and gospel components.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra salutes the following Classical Roots Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor World Pac Paper, LLC; Chorus Sponsor The Kroger Company; Community Sponsor Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc Sigma Omega Chapter. “Classical Roots” is a presentation of Sound Discoveries: Music for the Community and is made possible in part thanks to The Corbett Educational Endowment established by Mrs. Patricia Corbett and The Corbett Foundation.

His March residency will include a jam session with amateur musicians, masterclasses with students and other events and appearances. Full details will be announced at a later date.

Branford Marsalis, saxophone
NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award®-winning saxophonist and Tony Award®nominee composer Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. The three-time Grammy Award® winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists.

Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis

Marsalis made his Broadway debut as the composer of original music for the Tony Award® winning Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play “Fences”. Marsalis received a Tony nomination in the category of category of “Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre” and a 2010 Drama Desk Award® for “Outstanding Music in a Play” for his participation. Following these successes, Marsalis was asked to score the 2011 Broadway premiere of “The Mountaintop” starting Samuel Jackson and Angela Bassett.

Leader of one of the finest jazz Quartets today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Branford has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, Düsseldorf, and North Carolina Symphonies and the Boston Pops, with a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem and Vaughn Williams. His propensity for innovative and forward-thinking compels him to seek new and challenging works by modern classical composers such as modern Scottish composer Sally Beamish who, after hearing Branford perform her composition “The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone” at the 2006 North Sea Jazz Festival, was inspired to re-conceive a piece in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” which he premiered as part of the Celtic Connections festival Beamish’s home country of Scotland in January 2009.

Making his first appearance with the New York Philharmonic in the summer of 2010, Marsalis was again invited to join them as soloist in their 2010-2011 concert series where he unequivocally demonstrated his versatility and prowess, bringing “a gracious poise and supple tone… and an insouciant swagger” (NewYork Times) to the repertoire.

In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts conferred the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship on the Marsalis Family, a celebration and acknowledgement of a family described by the New York Times as “jazz’s most storied living dynasty”, who have made an indelible mark, collectively and individually, on thehistory and the future of jazz, America’s art form.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet explores the limits of musical adventure and band cohesiveness on Four MFs Playin’ Tunes available August 2012. This is the first recording of the tight-knit working band with an electrifying young drummer that joined the band three years ago and the results are a nimble and sparkling album, featuring ambitious original compositions by members of the band, a  Thelonious Monk classic, and one standard dating to 1930. The record blends the beautiful and subtle ballad sounds of 2004 release Eternal with the ecstatic contrasts of critically-acclaimed Braggtown. In other words, this just might be the Branford Marsalis Quartet’s most sublime musical achievement yet.

Bruce Hornsby, Branford Marsalis, Bob Weir
Bruce Hornsby, Branford Marsalis & Bob Weir

Having gained initial acclaim through his work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and his brother Wynton’s quintet in the early 1980s, Marsalis also performed and recorded with a who’s-who of jazz giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Sonny Rollins. He has also collaborated with such diverse artists as Sting, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby. His expansive interests are further reflected in his explorations in film, radio and television, including his role as the musical director of The Tonight
Show with Jay Leno for two years in the early 1990s.Marsalis has also acted in such popular movies such as Throw Mama from the Train and School Daze, provided music for Mo’ Better Blues and other films andhosted National Public Radio’s syndicated program Jazz Set.

Dedicated to changing the future of jazz in the classroom, Marsalis has shared his knowledge at such universities as Michigan State, San Francisco State, Stanford and North Carolina Central, with his full Quartet participating in an innovative extended residency at the NCCU campus. Beyond these efforts, he is also bringing a new approach to jazz education to student musicians and listeners in colleges and high schools through Marsalis Jams, an interactive program designed by Marsalis in which leading jazz ensembles present concert/jam sessions in mini-residencies. Marsalis Jams has visited campuses in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest, and later established an ongoing Marsalis Berklee Jams series with the Berklee College of Music.

Tickets start at $10 and are available by phone at (513) 381-3300, on the Internet at, and in person at:

 CSO Box Office at Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 CSO Box Office at Music Hall 2 hours prior to the performance.
 CSO Ignite tickets for CSO concerts are $12. They are available for members of the program ages
18-30 beginning Monday of the performance week at the CSO Sales Office, over the phone at 513-
381-3300, or online at
 Xtreme Seats are available in the first few rows for just $10 or side gallery for only $18. No other
discounts apply.
 Senior Tickets (age 62+) are 25% off and are available the week of the concert in person at the CSO

Sales Office, over the phone at (513) 381-3300, or online at