Friday, May 24, 2019
Branford Marsalis to Headline Sun Valley Summer Symphony Gala
The 58-year-old Branford Marsalis has three brothers who are jazz musicians. COURTESY: Palma Kolansky
Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis will perform at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s 2019 Gala Concert.

Marsalis and the Branford Marsalis Quartet will perform with Alasdair Neale and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11. The concert—the only symphony concert requiring admission—is a fundraiser to support the symphony’s admission-free concerts and music education.

The three-time Grammy Award winner and his quartet will perform several classical works featuring the saxophone. Then they will perform a set featuring some of their hits, as well as music from their upcoming album, which is scheduled to be released March 1.

This will be Marsalis’ first visit to Sun Valley.

“I am greatly looking forward to the opportunity to make music with Branford Marsalis, an artist whom I have long admired and respected,” said Neale.

Marsalis has been called “the greatest saxophonist since Coltrane” by none other than Miles Davis.

Marsalis was born in Breaux Bridge, La., to a father who was a pianist and music professor and a mother who was a jazz singer. He rose to fame when he played alongside Sting and Phil Collins at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium in 1985.

He recorded and toured with Sting for several years. And he spent several years playing with this older brother in the Wynton Marsalis Quintet before forming The Branford Marsalis Quartet in 1986.

Then he served as music director of “The Tonight show with Jay Leno” from 1992 to 1995.

He has been nominated for 16 Grammy Awards. He has won Grammys for best jazz instrumental performance, best pop instrumental performance and best jazz instrumental album.

He also has been nominated for a Tony Award and has won the Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Music in a play” for his original score to the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s “Fences.”

More recently, he scored Kenny Leon’s revival of “Children of a Lesser God.”

His movie credits include original music for Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues.”

Classical music is not new for Marsalis. One of his first albums was the French impressionist disc titled “Romances for Saxophone” in 1986.

In 2008 he toured with Philarmonia Brasileira, playing music by Villa-Lobos and Milhuad. He played with the New York Philharmonic in 2010 at a concert in Central Park, then joined them as soloist in their 2010-11 season.

He brought “an insouciant swagger” to his performance said a reviewer for the New York Times.

Marsalis recently recorded Gabriel Prokofiev’s “The Saxophone Concerto,” written expressly for Marsalis. And he’s also collaborated with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Detroit Symphony and the National Symphony.

Reserved tickets range from $85 in the Sun Valley Pavilion and on the lawn to $1,750 for an Artist Package.

The Artist Package, which is new this year, is limited to 30 tickets. In addition to a pre-concert cocktail reception, it includes VIP parking, premium seating at the concert and, a private dinner with Marsalis in an intimate setting.

Sponsor Packages at $1,250 include a pre-concert reception, VIP parking and a seated dinner post-concert at a private home with the opportunity to meet Marsalis.

The $275 and $550 tickets include the pre-concert cocktail reception and premium seating in the Pavilion.

The concert will be broadcast on the Pavilion lawn’s 25-foot LED screen for those purchasing lawn tickets.

Tickets go on sale to symphony donors who give $1,000 plus on March 6. They go on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time on April 10. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 208-622-5607.

Artist and Sponsor packages are available only by phone.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony, now in its 35th year, brings together more than 100 world-class musicians from North America’s most distinguished orchestras to perform before more than 50,000 people during free concerts in July and August. It provides music education for more than 500 music students every year.



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