A Trumpeter Without Borders

(Rodney Marsalis | Photo courtesy of High Desert Chamber Music)

A child of New Orleans, Rodney Marsalis grew up in an environment that transcended borders. A port city, New Orleans had a constant flow of people from different countries, creating a rich culture of history, music, food and architecture. Marsalis spent his young years soaking up this rich environment while beginning his musical studies at the age of six. When he was 11, he began taking classical trumpet lessons with his cousin, Wynton Marsalis, and made his solo debut at the age of 15 with the New Orleans Symphony. Marsalis graduated from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and received a fellowship to attend the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was awarded the Seiji Ozawa Award for Outstanding Musicianship.

Following graduation, Marsalis joined the San Diego Symphony, soaking in the California sun and roller-blading through Mission Bay between performances. During one of his practice sessions at U.C. San Diego, he met Isabelle Senger, executive director of High Desert Chamber Music. Their friendship formed quickly and they became roommates while living and performing together in the San Diego Symphony. 

Marsalis then took his talent across the Atlantic joining the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife and the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya. He performed across Europe in countries such as France, Spain, Germany, England, and others. After years of crossing European borders, Marsalis made the decision to return to the U.S.

Considering his next steps, Marsalis recalled the counsel of Ellis Marsalis, the patriarch of the musical Marsalis family. Ellis had long believed that Marsalis should start his own group incorporating the influence of his unique talent and life experience. This group came to be known as The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass (RMPBB), a group that reflects the diverse makeup of men and women in the American culture.

Experience a truly unique connection between audience and performers with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, presented by the Tower Theatre Foundation in partnership with High Desert Chamber Music on Saturday, April 24, at 7:30pm.

Come hear the music!


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