News Release

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Miami University
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Wynton Marsalis to deliver Year of the Arts keynote


Wynton Marsalis
Miami University's School of Fine Arts announced that Wynton Marsalis will deliver his acclaimed speech, "The Ballad of American Arts," as the Year of the Arts keynote address at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in Gates-Abegglen Theatre in the Center for Performing Arts. It will also be be viewable via livestream at

Marsalis’s acclaimed speech focuses on the importance of arts and culture to the American identity. “Ballad of the American Arts” is Marsalis’ eloquent and compelling case statement for the centrality of the arts.

“The best of the American arts and the way they’ve been sung and swung provided human meaning to the questions posed by the Founding Fathers more than 150 years earlier. It told you to be yourself and love what made you, you.

It told you to listen deeply to others and find the beauty of originality in them. And through swing, the most flexible rhythm ever played, it told you how to balance your individuality with the desires of the group. It told you we have a history, a depth, a tradition that requires skill and study but demands you apply those skills to search the frontiers of your soul. It told you that innovation and creativity hold hands with the
tried and true,
” Marsalis states in his "Ballad."

"This very special event is a fitting bookend to Miami’s spectacular Year of the Arts celebration,” said James Lentini, dean of Miami’s School of Fine Arts. “Wynton Marsalis is arguably the most prominent spokesperson for the arts in the country. His work, both on and off the stage, is an inspiration for all of us. Thanks to Miami alumnus, Jono Gasparro, current Miami students will be able to benefit from Mr. Marsalis’ vision.”

A 2008 graduate of Miami’s department of music, Gasparro is Marsalis’ project manager. When Gasparro learned that Marsalis, along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, was planning to perform April 25 in Dayton, he offered to have Marsalis come a day early. Lentini said he was delighted at the opportunity.

Recently named CBS News cultural correspondent, Marsalis is one of the foremost advocates for American arts and culture. “The Ballad of American Arts” is Wynton Marsalis’s eloquent and compelling case statement for the centrality of the arts.

His extraordinary contributions to the arts and education have earned him more than 25 honorary degrees from some of America's most prestigious universities and colleges, including Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Howard and Yale. Other distinctions include The National Medal of Arts, The New York Urban League's Frederick Douglass Medallion for distinguished leadership, and the American Arts Council's Arts Education Award.

One of the most celebrated musicians of our time, Marsalis's accomplishments as a trumpeter and composer have earned him nine Grammy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize in Music. He has received accolades from the Netherlands, France, Spain and Great Britain, and in 2001, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

The event is free. Seating is limited; tickets are required and available (two tickets per person) at the Miami box office, Shriver Center, 513-529-3200.


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