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Keynote Speaker

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Wynton Marsalis

Wynton MarsalisInternationally acclaimed musician, bandleader, composer and educator Wynton Marsalis will receive an honorary degree and deliver the keynote address to graduates at Tulane University’s 2014 Commencement, which will take place at 9 a.m., May 17 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Marsalis is the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Considered the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum from its New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz, Marsalis is a nine-time Grammy Award winner (with awards in both jazz and classical music genres) and a winner of the National Medal of Arts. In 1997, Marsalis won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his oratorio, Blood On The Fields—it was the first time a jazz composer earned the country's highest musical honor.

Marsalis has toured the world, having performed in every continent except Antartica, and has received the highest of honors in several nations. For example, he has been named an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in great Britain; he has received an Edison Award in the Netherlands; he was ranked a Knight in the Order of Arts and Literature by the French Ministry; and in the fall of 2009, Marsalis received France's highest distinction, the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Yet Marsalis has never forgotten his roots, and is a favorite son of his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.

"Wynton is one of the world's most-acclaimed musicians, bandleaders, composers, educators and cultural ambassadors. We are so proud to bring him home," says President Scott Cowen.

Read a transcript of Marsalis's speech

Past Keynote Speakers


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000