STUDENT PERFORMANCES GALLERY
CONCERT SERIES GALLERY
Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr., Discuss the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music
Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact led Connick and Marsalis, both natives of New Orleans, to recognize the jeopardy facing the city’s vibrant musical heritage. The catastrophe resulted in housing losses and mass evacuations, displacing generations of musicians who lacked the means to return and rebuild. Along with their third co-founder, Ann Marie Wilkins, they collaborated with New Orleans Habitat for Humanity to create Musicians’ Village, an affordable neighborhood dedicated to musicians and culture bearers. Here, these artists could own secure homes and have a nurturing environment to hone their craft, surrounded by fellow artists. This initiative pays homage to the heart and soul of their hometown’s artistic legacy.
Remembering Ellis Marsalis, Jr.
Ellis Marsalis, Jr., designed the Center’s world-class music education curriculum and served as the organization’s first artistic director. His leadership was both authoritative and warm, emphasizing high standards in teaching and performance, and making every student feel valued. Mr. Marsalis passed away in 2020, leaving a legacy through his music, the careers of his children and students like Harry Connick, Jr., Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison, and the enduring culture of care and excellence symbolized by the building bearing his name in the Ninth Ward.
The Center engages our students and community with special projects like The Silverbook Project, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Led by Artist-in-Residence Jesse McBride, mentored by Ellis Marsalis and Harold Battiste, it aimed to boost jazz interest. Featuring a modern jazz repertoire from eight New Orleans jazz performers. Jesse McBride and the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music Jazz Orchestra introduced Silverbook compositions during our Fall 2017 concerts, reaching youth, seniors, and the 9th Ward community. These recordings and curriculum will provide Silverbook compositions for future generations to enjoy.
Beautiful Old Ladies
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Listen along with us as we explore performances from our founders,
guest musicians, and Musicians’ Village residents!