Music Legend Wynton Marsalis to Speak in the Great Hall

Wed, Jan 17, 2018 6:30pm - Wed, Nov 22, 2017 8:30pm

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Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis, the internationally acclaimed musician, composer and bandleader, educator, and leading advocate of American culture, will be speaking in the Great Hall on January 17 in a free, public event.

Reservations are requested.

Mr. Marsalis has created and performed an expansive range of music from quartets to big bands, chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras and tap dance to ballet, expanding the vocabulary for jazz and classical music with a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers.

His music consistently incorporates the blues, all forms of jazz from New Orleans to modern, swing as the primary rhythm, the American popular song, individual and collective improvisation, and a panoramic vision of compositional styles from ditties to dynamic call-and-response patterns.

Mr. Marsalis’ body of music places him among the world’s most significant composers. His dramatic oratorio “Blood on the Fields” draws upon the blues, work songs, chants, spirituals, New Orleans jazz, Ellingtonesque orchestral arrangements and Afro-Caribbean rhythms—using Greek chorus-style recitations to great effect. The New York Times Magazine said “Blood on the Fields” “marked a symbolic moment when the full heritage of the line, Ellington through Mingus, was extended into the present.” In 1983, he became the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards® for both jazz and classical records; and he repeated the distinction in 1984. In 1997, he became the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for “Blood on the Fields.”

Mr. Marsalis’ core beliefs and foundation for living are based on the principles of jazz. He promotes individual creativity (improvisation), collective cooperation (swing), gratitude and good manners (sophistication), and faces adversity with persistent optimism (the blues). Wynton Marsalis has devoted his life to uplifting populations worldwide with the egalitarian spirit of jazz. And while his body of work is enough to fill two lifetimes, he continues to work tirelessly to contribute even more to our world’s cultural landscape.

The event is free and open to the public. General public, including the school community, should reserve a space here. Please note first come, first seated; an RSVP does not guarantee admission as we generally overbook to ensure a full house.


the generosity of the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. This highly regarded endowed
lecture series has provided a public platform for some of the most renowned
writers, scientists and prominent intellectuals of our time. It takes place in Cooper
Union’s historic Great Hall, which has stood for more than a century as a bastion
of free speech and a witness to the flow of American history and ideas.

Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.