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photo by Dave Ickes courtesy of Marian Anderson Award

photo by Dave Ickes courtesy of Marian Anderson Award

(Huffington Post) – Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis was the honoree at the 2015 Marian Anderson Awards. Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter presented Marsalis with the award after a gala dinner and concert event at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on November 10.

The award is named for Philadelphia contralto Marian Anderson, who broke down racial barriers to became the first African American woman to sing with the New York Philharmonic and perform at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1949, she was barred from performing at Constitution Hall in Washington by the DAR because she was black, but Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for her to sing in front of the Lincoln Memorial instead, in a landmark event with 75,000 in attendance hear her sing. The award is given to those who carry on her legacy of artistic excellence and their work for human rights causes.

Nutter said that he was personally honored to present this award and spoke of Marsalis’ sterling artistry and his musical philanthropy with students across the country. “While we know him as an incredible talent and dedicated musician, it is his generous nature and commitment to others who makes him who he is.”

Nutter cited Marsalis’ for the citizens and musicians of his hometown New Orleans in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, among other humanitarian initiatives. Marsalis started his career as a Juilliard trained classical and debuted at age 14 with the New Orleans Philharmonic. Marsalis was also on a dual track as a virtuoso jazz trumpeter.

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