Skip to content
BSO, Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall Logos

Branford Marsalis

Branford Marsalis Headshot


Branford Marsalis is an award-winning saxophonist, band leader, classical soloist, and film and Broadway composer. Over the span of his decades-long career, he has become a multi-award-winning artist with three Grammys to his name, as well as Emmy and Tony nominations and a citation by the National Endowment for the Arts as a jazz master. Marsalis has become an avatar of contemporary artistic excellence.

Marsalis is frequently sought after as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Chicago, Detroit, and Düsseldorf symphony orchestras. He has toured with chamber orchestras such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, and his repertoire includes works by Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughn Williams, and John Williams.

Emerging from the global pandemic in January 2022, Marsalis first returned to the New York Philharmonic to perform John Adam’s Saxophone Concerto, which highlighted his incredible agility and the instrument’s lyrical voice. He then launched a tour with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra featuring a program that explored the intersectionality of jazz and classical music, with repertoire selections that included Debussy’s jazz-inspired Rhapsody for alto saxophone and orchestra. Later that year, he performed John Williams’ Escapades for Tanglewood’s celebration of Williams’ 90th birthday. In 2023 Marsalis performed with orchestras in Miami, Greensboro, Toledo, and Corpus Christi, as well as with the Warsaw National and Calgary philharmonic orchestras. He traveled to Tokyo and Kyoto to perform with the Makoto Ozone group. Marsalis composed a suite commissioned by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, which premiered March 2024.

Even as he tours the world as a classical soloist, Marsalis continues to perform with the Branford Marsalis Quartet, which he formed in 1986. His work on Broadway has garnered him a Drama Desk Award and Tony nominations for the acclaimed revivals of “Children of a Lesser God,” “Fences,” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” As a composer for film and television, his screen credits include original music composed for “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” starring Oprah Winfrey, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, “Rustin” starring Colman Domingo, and the Emmy-nominated “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre.”

See More